In 2019 the Seattle Seahawks finished 4-4 at home and closed the book on the demise of the
CenturyLink Lumen home-field advantage.
In just a couple of years, Seattle had gone from stories like this:
To others more like this:
In the 2012-13 seasons, the Seahawks were 15-1 at home and it was every team’s worst nightmare to play on the road in Seattle.
2017 and 2019 were both 4-4, and the media largely gave up on the once-fabled home-field advantage.
This year brought the Seahawks back to the top of the pack.
Pete Carroll’s team finished 7-1 at home this year. No team had a better home record (the Kansas City Chiefs was 8-0 on the road but 6-2 at home). Their point differential in Seattle was +73, which really when you consider this is a Carroll coached team is like plus a billion.
But wait this is the 2020 season! No fans! Halfway through the season, people were claiming that home field advantage does not exist.
By Week 14, home teams actually had a losing record.
Any sort of “advantage” in one’s own stadium this year would have to come from a source other than an informed crowd making well-timed noise. There’s a couple of factors this year, insignificant when compared to the decibel level of a jet engine on the goal line, but still worth considering.
A travel day is still a travel day, and with new Covid-19 protocol it’s even more taxing. The fact that the Seahawks were the best team managing and altogether avoiding the virus is no small feat. Carroll is one of the NFL’s greatest at motivation, team-based sacrifice, and championship mentality. We saw teams all across the country make countless lapses and unnecessary risks that affected their availability. If there’s one team in the league who I’d bet was able to ride the wave each week and not have momentum dampened by new protocols, it would be the one led by Carroll. His teams are historically unfazed by Prime Time, East Coast, 11 degree weather, pretty much anything you can think of except for a marginally good defensive plan in the first half.
More than that, this record is likely a better indication of the personalities this team is building up once again. The fan noise is something - and anyone who’s been to CenturyLink knows (I can say that as none of us have been to Lumen) - it can be something physical. But that noise comes from a sense of pride in the team and the city. This team has that. Not to say that it didn’t before, but there’s a new “protect this house” mindset that was not as apparent between 2016-19.
Watch DK Metcalf. When he’s not being targeted, half the time he’s trying to beat up a corner.
Watch Jamal Adams do...anything, really.
Honestly, watch the Seahawks All-Access videos with Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven mic’d up who are just altogether way too excited for like five kickoffs per game.
This team’s got juice. It’s also a beautiful combination of young guys and those who want so badly to have meaningful playoff football like Adams and Carlos Dunlap.
Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have never lost a home playoff game. The last time that Seattle lost in the playoffs at home was against the St. Louis Rams in 2004.
Unfortunately the #3 seed only guarantees one home game, but I for one am glad for even the smallest of edges against Aaron Donald on Saturday. After that, Seattle will have a lot to prove in a year full of successes and failures.