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Seahawks' Home Field Advantage Has Gone the Way of Alderaan

For the better part of a decade, nobody wanted to come into Seattle to play the Seahawks. They boasted the best homefield advantage in the NFL in front of the raucous 12s. But over the past few years, that advantage has been blown to bits.
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Football is a wonderful sport. From the gladiator-like nature of the sport itself, to the toughness it demands, to the passion it ignites in the fans. It's one of those sports where the fans can truly feel like part of the team. 

In Seattle specifically, in a way, the fans actually are. In 1984, the No. 12 was retired in the Seahawks' organization to commemorate the fans and their contributions to the franchise and the environment they create. Even back to the Kingdome days, Seahawks fans were respected as one of the loudest in the NFL, even when they were cheering for a less-than-stellar product on the field. 

In the Pete Carroll era, that advantage intensified. Seattle just didn't lose games at home, especially in prime time. From the "Fail Mary" to "Beast Quake," to Richard Sherman's "tip," the 12s witnessed and participated in several epic moments in Seattle football history over the last decade. From 2012 to 2016, the Seahawks lost a whopping six home games in that span and posted a 39-6 record. Sure, it helped that they had the "Legion of Boom," one of the best defensive units in NFL history. However, one cannot deny the influence of the passion and sheer vocal fortitude of the 12s.

After 2016, things began to change. From 2017 to 2019, they lost 10 home games (14-10 record), going .500 at CenturyLink Field in 2017 and 2019. As we all know, 2020 hardly counts as the fans did not shuffle through the turnstiles at Lumen Field all season long thanks to the pandemic.

Now, in 2021, with the fans thankfully back, we all thought it would be different. For whatever reason, the home field mojo Seattle has enjoyed for the majority of Carroll's time in Seattle has disappeared. This isn't to say the fans aren't as passionate or dedicated. In fact, I would argue the opposite is true. After being locked out of most sporting facilities for an entire calendar year, fans are back with a vengeance around the sports world, Seattle included. Fans aren't taking the post-lockdown days for granted. 

However, the results are no longer apparent on the field. Home field advantage has been blown to bits. Time after time, big plays and big wins by the road team have left the 12s like those poor inhabitants of the Star Wars planet Alderaan, which was the first victim of the evil Empire's Death Star weapon - silenced. 

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Of course, there is some correlation to the quality of the Seahawks and their lack of dominance at home in recent years. However, it also seems like home field advantage is disappearing throughout the league. 

ESPN's Kevin Seifert noted that road teams actually have a winning record through five weeks thus far in the NFL. 

So do not take offense, Seahawks fans. It's not just you. 

Seattle's loss on Thursday Night Football had Seahawks fans crying out in terror before being suddenly silenced at the sight of Russell Wilson going down with injury and the Rams coming away from Lumen Field with a pivotal victory in the brutal NFC West. 

What is the root cause? It's hard to say. Are road teams better equipped to handle loud crowd noise? Are communications between coaches and players becoming noise-proof? Are the requirement of face masks weakening the overall noise of the crowd? 

Seattle has not won a home game in front of fans since December 2, 2019, losing each of its past four contests with the 12s in attendance. A further sign of a new era is the fact that the Seahawks lost for the first time in their polarizing action green uniforms, which to this point, have been saved for key prime time games. 

This might be more an indictment on the team on the field than anything else, but if it's happening around the league, something is amiss. There is certainly a disturbance in the Force.