Following the Cowboys laying an egg on MNF to the cheers of what almost sounded like a Chicago home crowd, there have been a lot of pieces of the lack of home field advantage that Jerry-world presents - from this ESPN piece on the "hospitality of Cowboys stadium" to even Troy Aikman adding a comment on the lack of fan noise for Cowboys home games, dating back to his days.
Some of this disquiet dates back to the home opener where it was Eli and Giants who baptised the stadium...
Home Field advantage in the NFC East
But we all know how the mediots like a good story regardless of the facts. And the best way to assess this is to compare home vs road winning %'s so that the factor of some teams simply being better than others is taken out of the equation.
For all Troy and ESPN's talk of NY and Philly being tougher places to play, the facts don't bear this out with Dallas ranking #15, well ahead of all of its NFC East division rivals in home wins vs road wins winning %. The NY Giants in fact sit at a lowly #31. In fact if you look at the more recent rankings since 2002, Dallas has fallen to #22, but the other 3 NFC teams take out 3 of the bottom 4 positions, with the Giants having a negative rating (i.e. they win more away than at home)!
Obviously there a lot of factors in play here, more than just fan noise - and from everything I have heard, Troy's criticisms of the lack of fan noise in Cowboys stadium is well supported. But this pre-dates Jerry-world.
Comparing the Cowboy Stadiums
So according to the ESPN stats of home wins vs road wins, Dallas is an average place to play, but well ahead of its division rivals. Question I really wanted to understand is has this got measurably worse since the team moved into Jerry-world?
So I compared the Cowboy's home vs road win % across its 3 stadiums - and there is a significant drop in the win% at home. Interestingly the away win% of the Cowboys hasn't dropped significantly since its hey-days in Texas stadium, however, the home win % has dropped to from 67.6% to 53.8% - event lower than its expansion team days in the Cotton Bowl. The differential overall has gone 9% in the Cotton Bowl, to 17% when God looked down on his team through the hole in the roof to now less than 4%. This differential would put Dallas in the bottom 2 or 3 teams in the league compared to the home-road differentials shown by ESPN.
So bottom-line - while the Dallas not having a home field advantage is overblow - particularly when compared to it NFC East mates - the initial data does indicate a concerning decline in the differential in Jerry-world.
[PS: the team showing the biggest differential in home vs road win% - the Baltimore Ravens at over 35%! Makes this weekend even tougher....]