Ever wonder why your trips to Giants Stadium seem so disproportionately disappointing? This is the NFL! Teams are supposed to dominate at home! But nope: Eli Manning is a better quarterback on the road, the Jets and Giants have a strange home-road disparity, and the massive mosquitoes put up oddly high passing efficiency ratings. What’s going on? Pro Football Reference thinks it has the answer.
An extended post by Jason Lisk — via the Times’ Fifth Down Blog — makes the argument that the reason the Jets and Giants aren’t as powerful at home as the rest of their NFL brethren is … the rest of the NFL just sees Giants Stadium way too often. The problem is the sharing.
Now, why could road team familiarity play a role in reducing the Giants’ and Jets’ home field advantage? Because teams play there more frequently than other venues. Once the Lions play at the Giants later this year, every team will have played in the Meadowlands at least once (and often times more than once) in the last five years.
The home field advantage in interconference matchups has typically been higher than other matchups. However, when interconference road teams visit the New York teams, they are not visiting a place they see only once a decade. We should see reduced home field advantage, particularly in games against the other New York team’s division rivals, who already play there once a year.
And that is exactly what we see in the games where the Giants and Jets play the AFC/NFC East in interconference matchups at home. New York Teams are only 5-15 at home against all other AFC/NFC East in interconference matchups since 1984. For comparison, in all other AFC East versus NFC East matchups (other than those played at the Meadowlands), the home team is 67-49 (.577).
Yes, yes, that is a lot of math. But the point is as basic (and backed up by hard data) as you could expect: The more opposing teams see of your home stadium, the more comfortable they will be playing there. And this of course isn’t just a problem now, it’ll also be a problem when the new stadium opens next year. See? Sharing is bad.