Throughout sports, maintaining certain traditions is one of the biggest incentives players have in their heads when they take the field. This is a mental aspect of sports that should never be discounted.
Most NFL teams who are at or near the top of the league for long periods have something in common: they develop – and nurture – a tradition of winning at home. Green Bay is one of those teams who have traditionally played well at Lambeau field. The Packers have been a good, but not great, team when playing at home over the past decade or so.
After going 2-6 in 2008, the Packers have had mostly winning seasons at home, but they’ve been less than dominating of late. In 2012 they slipped to 4-5 (counting post-season games), in 2013, they went 4-4-1, and in 2017 they were 4-4. Last year they managed to go 5-2-1 at home. – but 1-7 away.
The Packers best home records in recent years were 7-1 in 2011, 9-0 in 2014, and 7-2 in 2016. Over the past 10 seasons, they’ve recorded 56 wins and 32 losses or ties at home – a win percentage of 63.6.
The team with by far the best win percentage in recent years is the Patriots. In the past six years, its home wins percentage is 89.5.The lesson is simple: if you want to compete for the Lombardi trophy, year after year, establish a strong tradition of winning at home.
Another team that is hard to beat at home is Kansas City. Over the last six years, the Chiefs are 36-15 at home, a 70.6 win percentage. Pittsburgh is also known for playing well in front of its rabid fans. Since 2013, the Steelers have won 68.6% of their home games.
Dallas, with good teams and despite playing in its palatial retractable-roof stadium, is only 29-22 since 2013, or 56.8%.
Seattle also has a great reputation for winning at home, but that is lately on the decline. Over the last six years the Seahawks have gone only 28-22-1, for a win percentage of 54.9.
In the two most recent, and disappointing, seasons, the Packers have gone 9-6-1. Meanwhile its NFC North rivals are starting to build up favorable home-field traditions. In the last six years the Vikings have not lost more than three home games in a season; they went 8-1 in 2017 and 5-3 last year, and they are winning at a 67.3% rate over that time span.
Chicago, which traditionally has fared poorly at home, suddenly went 7-2 under new coach Matt Nagy. Green Bay’s Coach Matt need to match or better his rival to the south.
Perhaps the most disturbing sign that Green Bay has lost its home-field advantage occurred just over two months ago, when on December 30 Green Bay lost at home, by a 31-0 score, to Detroit.
Even with Aaron Rodgers on the bench, that doesn’t begin to justify getting blanked by a team who came in with a 5-10 record and nothing to play for. Loyal Packers fans deserve better effort than that.
If Green Bay players can’t give good effort out of a sense of pride, then they at least owe it to their famously loyal fans to play up to their full ability.
One of Coach LaFleur’s most important assignments should be to restore Green Bay’s home field advantage.