By Ray Dunlap
Ever since this post appeared here, I’ve been thinking about “Home Field Advantage.” It is a real phenomenon and would be fairly easy to account for in APBA. Initially, I thought it might be interesting to see who runs the ball better at home or who throws it better . . . but, I quickly decided that there really is only one statistic that truly measures “Home Field Advantage,” and that’s wins and losses.
Take the Seattle Seahawks for example. It is not a stretch to say that they are a much tougher opponent at home than they are on the road. This is borne out based on the frenzied fans – their proverbial “12th Man” . . . but, it is also statistically obvious by their home record. In 2016 they were 7-1 in Seattle and 3-4-1 on the road.
Atlanta, meanwhile, was 5-3 at home, certainly a good mark, but they were 6-2 on the road. So, not only should we look at a team like Seattle and give them some kind of a leg-up when they’re playing at CenturyLink Field, but the Falcons, likewise should be given some kind of consideration whey they’re playing on the road, because they were true “Road-Warriors” last season.
This is where it gets a little challenging. How do you reward the team with the advantage, make it meaningful . . . but not too much so as to awkwardly skew the results?
The best I’ve ever seen at addressing these kinds of statistical nuances is Mark Zarb. A close second is our host, Greg Barath. They both understand how to effectively and accurately assign just the right amount of “plusses” and “minuses” to the formula to create a balanced rewards system, and I would love to hear their take on this concept.
In the meantime, I will be testing a couple of ideas myself that I will share here in a few days.
But, what about draft leagues that don’t use stock teams?
There should be a rewards system created because we make such a big deal out of having “Home Field Advantage” in the playoffs. But, if you play the APBA game right out of the box, there is no accommodation for the team that finishes in a draft league with the best record . . . and, maybe there should be.
So, I would love to hear any ideas you may have on how this might work in a replay using stock teams (like Atlanta and Seattle), but, also, how you might be able to give those teams with the best records in a draft league a similar advantage in their playoffs.
Since I brought this subject up I’ll throw my thoughts out there. I was thinking of a more generic type home field advantage but I understand wanting to replicate those home fields like Seattle’s that seem to have a larger impact than most. I recently saw that the APBA DOS Computer game simply added 3 points to both platoons of the home team. It’s been quite awhile since I have played the computer game so I don’t remember if the home field advantage worked or not. While discussing this idea with Greg he felt that a 1 point addition would be more than enough but I’m not so sure. I plan to use the floating index so adding a few points to the home team seems like a logical way to go.
I did a quick breakdown (using Pro Football Reference) of the statistical impact of the home field. I looked at 3 different years (1976, 1985 and 2005) and over the course of an entire season home teams performed better than the road teams in every category that I looked at (Points, Total Yards, Turnovers etc..) I would prefer something subtle yet powerful enough to really give the home team a boost. But I understand that not everyone uses the floating index so some method other than adding points to offense/defense might be useful to more gamers.
this is the way we do it, to try and take account of the crowd noise factor affecting the visiting team offense’s ability to operate without hindrance
Home field advantage:
reduce visiting team offensive index by 3
if visiting team ahead by 4 – 8:
reduce visiting team offensive index by 2
if visiting team ahead by 9 – 14:
reduce visiting team offensive index by 1
if visiting team ahead by 15 or more: