This week’s SB Nation NFL theme is “What they get wrong about [NFL team]” For more insights from other team sites, click here.
Whenever the Seattle Seahawks have to play away from the noisy confines of CenturyLink Field, you often hear opposing fans or media talking heads note how the Seahawks are not a good road team. You’ll definitely be reading it in some of the previews for this Sunday’s game at the Tennessee Titans.
While it is true that Seattle is worse when they play road games, it is a pointless observation to make, because it’s not unique to the Seahawks. It’s extremely hard to win on the road in the NFL, even for perennial playoff contenders.
In the 32-team era, the average win percentage on the road (regular season only) is .428, and only ten teams sport a winning record. The Seahawks rank 13th since 2002, but if you narrow the data from 2012-2016, AKA the Russell Wilson era, they’re 4th (!!!!).
NFL regular season road records (2012-2016)
For the sake of uniformity, I didn’t include any playoffs or the start of 2017, as some teams (such as the LA Rams) haven’t played a road game yet, while others (like Philadelphia) started out with two straight away from home.
You’ll notice that of the eleven teams at .500 or better, all of them have qualified for the postseason at least twice during that five-year stretch. New England, Seattle, and Green Bay are the only ones who’ve had playoff berths in each season.
Suppose you’re arguing I’m fiddling with the numbers to make the Seahawks look better. Fine. Even if you included postseason play and the first two weeks of the current season, Seattle is still in 5th, which is impressive considering only Green Bay has played more road games within the time frame.
Compare the success of these Seahawks with the 2003-2007 playoff teams under Mike Holmgren. Their regular season home record was a sparkling 33-7 (the 2012-2016 Seahawks went 34-6), but just 18-22 away. It’s not terrible, but it’s only marginally above league average. The 2005 side was the only time in the entire Mike Holmgren era that Seattle finished a season with a road record above .500. In the Wilson era, the Seahawks have recorded winning road records in 2013 (6-2), 2014 (5-3), and 2015 (5-3). They’ve also won road playoff games at Washington and Minnesota, having previously prevailed just once in franchise history prior to Wilson’s rookie campaign.
This is not only the greatest era of Seahawks football, this is the best they’ve ever been on the road. It’s not a great record like New England’s, but it’s still really damn good. I suppose it gets lost in the shuffle due to Seattle’s deserved reputation for being incredibly dominant at home. Well guess what? Not only are the Seahawks outstanding at home, they’ve now established themselves as one of the best teams on the road, and don’t let anyone tell you anything otherwise.
(Tables via Pro Football Reference)