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News » Community: Toughest places to play in NFL

Community: Toughest places to play in NFL

Community: Toughest places to play in NFL
As the 2008 NFL season approaches, I get giddier and giddier as each day goes by. Training camp is just around the corner, and there is plenty of reading material back on the Internet regarding teams, players, predictions, and rankings.

I stumbled upon the 2007 Sports Illustrated's "Toughest Places to Play" list. In order, from one to 10, they had the following: Chiefs, Pats, Colts, Broncos, Seahawks, Steelers, Bears, Packers, Eagles, and Vikings.

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  • I didn't agree with it, so I came up with my own.

    The factors I considered are, in no particular order: how successful the team has been at their home stadium since 2002, the exterior elements that have an effect (weather, dome noise, etc), the knowledge and enthusiasm of the fans, the tradition and history, and what places I wouldn't want to play as an opponent in a must win situation.

    1. New England Patriots (39-9) It kills me to put the Patriots atop yet another list, but you can't argue their success at home. Three times in the past six years, they have won all eight home games, and they have not lost more than three in any season dating back to 2002. The cold weather in November and December, paired with very knowledgeable New England fanbase, makes it extremely difficult to win a game up there.

    2. Seattle Seahawks (37-11) Qwest Field has to be one of the greatest designs when it comes to making a venue intimidating. It has gotten so loud at Qwest, teams have often accused Seattle of using false means of generating noise. The fans are made part of the team by the infamous 12th-man flag that is waved before each game. In short, it's not a fun place for an opponent to play.

    3. Indianapolis Colts (39-9) Why are they ranked third despite having an identical record to the Patriots? Is this another way for a writer to spurn the Colts? No. While the Colts' dome environment makes it very hard to hear and communicate, they can't be No 1 on this list considering their last home game was a playoff loss. Great environment nonetheless.

    4. Pittsburgh Steelers (34-13-1) First thought that comes to mind when you think Pittsburgh? Black-and-gold-donning fans pressed together, cold breaths coming out of each, a sea of terrible towels waving vehemently. That's Pittsburgh. Oh, and it's also pretty loud there.

    5. Philadelphia Eagles (31-17) They pelted Santa Claus with snowballs, jailed some of their excessively rowdy fans, and are not hospitable (threaten, harass, assault to name a few) to opponents' fans. Would Philly have it any other way? I think not.

    6. Denver Broncos (34-14) The high altitude isn't the only thing that makes it hard for opponents to win in Denver. The teams have been successful and their rivalries are very intense. Nothing like hard-hitting football on a cold December night, a mile high on a mountain with 76,100 on hand.

    7. Kansas City Chiefs (33-15) Yes, I know they only won two games last year at home and lost six. That is why they are not higher up. Why are they as high as seven you ask?

    Because when you try to play a game in front of 79,400 people in red shirts that make it look like you're in a bowl of blood, it's hard to focus. As lousy as the Chiefs' teams have been of late, they have still won more than twice as many games at home than lost.

    8. Jacksonville Jaguars (30-18) This may come as a surprise to many, but the Jaguars are a very good team at home. They have won six out of eight games in each of their last three seasons. Though they are still a relatively new team that lacks the tradition and history of many of the aforementioned clubs, they don't let you beat them in their own backyard; plain and simple.

    9. Green Bay Packers (30-18) People will be angry that I have the Packers so low on a list, given the rich history of Lambeu Field. There is no doubt that Lambeu is a place you don't want to play late in the season or in the playoffs. However, their solid armor was dented first when Michael Vick (remember him?) beat them in Green Bay, and then last year when the New York Giants defeated the Pack in the NFC Championship game.

    I've got to dock them points for that. They've also lost four or more games three of the past six seasons at home.

    10. Minnesota Vikings (29-19) What? The Vikings? Yes, and as lousy as they have been over the last six years, they still have won more games at home than the former NFC Champion Chicago Bears have won at Soldier Field.

    The Vikings have had a losing record at the Metrodome only once since 2002, and with a season full of high aspirations in 2008, I wouldn't be surprised if the Vikings win seven out of eight at home.

    I know there will be many fans furious as to why I left their teams off the list, starting with Chicago. Quite frankly, they haven't been as good at home as the others on this list have. When you think Chicago, you think of cold weather and hard-hitting football.

    You also think of low-scoring wins. Still, the Bears have lost 20 at home, something no one else on this list has done.

    As far as the Dallas fans go, you have a legitimate gripe because the Cowboys have an identical home record since 2002 as the Vikings. However, the Dallas teams have been better than the Vikings' teams.

    It's a lot easier to show up and cheer for your squad when they are competitive. If both teams were of equal caliber, and if I was an opponent, the place I would rather play is Dallas. Minnesota gets too loud and intimidating when the Vikings have a good squad. Texas Stadium just isn't up to par.

    Let the bashing of this list begin.

    For more from this Bleacher Report blogger, click here.


    Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: July 10, 2008

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