Philadelphia Eagles Must Re-establish Home Field Advantage

Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles need to take back home field advantage.Really, this headline could apply to any team in Philadelphia.  Hell, any team in the country.  But if Doug Collins, the recently re-allocated former 76ers head coach, did one thing right, it was to instill his desire to establish a presence on home court.  “We don’t lose two in a row at home,” he said.  While this mantra focused a bit on the negative (why not simply say, “We will win at home”), the message was received.  The 76ers were not a team that played well anywhere, but improvement needed to start at the Wells Fargo Center, and it did.  Chip Kelly inherits a Philadelphia Eagles team in a similar situation.  His Eagles have not played well, and in order to turn things around, Kelly needs to re-establish a strong home presence.

I recently examined the factors that contribute to home field advantage (HFA) in the NFL and found that HFA is impacted by team success, offensive efficiency (which includes penalties), and turnovers.  These factors can affect the home crowd, and the home crowd, in turn, can have an effect on these factors. (Note: this is a recommended read if you want more detail about the results discussed here.)

The below graphic illustrates how strong the Philadelphia Eagles’ HFA is relative to the rest of the NFL between 2009 and 2011. The Philadelphia Eagles’ HFA is worth approximately 1.4 points, below the 2.45 point average.  In comparison, the Green Bay Packers HFA is worth more than 12 points, The San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, and Atlanta Falcons are worth more than 7 points, and the Washington Redskins HFA is negative, giving their opponents nearly 5 points at home.  Click on the image to interact and adjust the filters.

HPHFA1

Below is another graphic that compares the Philadelphia Eagles to the rest of the NFC East.  The Eagles HFA ranks third, behind the Dallas Cowboys (4.7 points) and New York Giants (2.5 points).  Even though all three teams have thirteen home wins during the three season span, the Cowboys home wins can be attributed to HFA more so than any other team in the division.

HPHFA2

As turnover differential decreases in favor of the home team,  home offensive efficiency increases along with strength of home field advantage and, ultimately, team success.  If Chip Kelly wants to establish a stronger home presence, he needs to address these factors in order to activate that “home crowd feedback loop”.  The bad news: it will not be an easy task to re-program three years of malaise.  The good news:  there is a lot of room for improvement.  And the home crowd at The Linc is ready for it.

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Jerome's Friend

Jerome's Friend is a native Philadelphian raised properly by great parents who taught him to love the Eagles and abhor the Cowboys. A new parent himself, he hopes to instill those same fundamental values in his son, who at five months-old can already spike a football. If you follow him on Twitter (@JeromesFriend), you'll also find his Eagles and Philadelphia sports blog, Philly's Inferno, where he resides as a Friend of Jerome.