5 NFL Stadiums Opponents Don’t Want to Visit This Postseason

Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
Dec 1 2013 Kansas City MO USA Kansas City Chiefs show their support during the second half of the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium Denver won 35 28 Denny Medley USA TODAY Sports

Since the NFL is the only major American professional sport that features a sudden death playoff system, simply making it to the postseason is half the battle for most teams. However, while it’s true that every playoff-bound team has a legitimate shot to win it all, there’s no question having home field advantage in the postseason significantly increases a team’s chances to dance their way to the grand stage of the Super Bowl.

This season, a handful of NFL stadiums have proven to be just as, or perhaps more, intimidating than the teams that call them home and with the playoffs less than a month away, we thought it was time to take a closer look at five places opposing teams will not want to travel to this postseason. Check out our picks below:

Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City Chiefs

While it hasn’t been known as a house of pain to visiting teams in recent years, Arrowhead Stadium has undoubtedly played a major role in the Kansas City Chiefs’ resurgence this season. With a new head coach in Andy Reid and a new quarterback in Alex Smith, Chiefs fans came into 2013 with plenty to cheer about and helped reestablish Arrowhead as one of the loudest sports stadiums in America after hitting 137.5 decibels in a game against the Oakland Raiders, a sound level that ranks as the second loudest crowd roar at an outdoor stadium ever recorded by Guinness World Records.

The Chiefs have tripped up a bit over the last few weeks and are now 5-2 on their home field this season, but with one of the rowdiest, most raucous crowds in the NFL and the league’s fifth largest seating capacity (79,451), Arrowhead is definitely a destination opponents would prefer not to travel to for a pressure-filled playoff game this year.

Gillette Stadium – New England Patriots

With a rather average seating capacity of 68,756, Gillette Stadium doesn’t intimidate visitors with its size, but rather its unparalleled winning tradition. Since becoming the official home of the New England Patriots in 2000, Gillette has served as the backdrop to three Super Bowl championship seasons and 10 Patriots home playoff wins in 13 games. Unsurprisingly, the Pats have continued to rack up victories at Gillette this season and are a perfect 7-0 in Foxborough in 2013.

What’s truly frightening to AFC foes is that Gillette will only become a tougher place to escape with a win as temperatures drop and the regular season winds to a close. The building’s often numbingly frigid and icy conditions during the winter are sure to freeze even the most efficient of opposing offenses, making Gillette Stadium an absolute nightmare for any team forced to make the trip to New England this postseason.

Sports Authority Field at Mile High – Denver Broncos

Like Gillette Stadium, Sports Authority Field at Mile High can be extremely cold to visitors, but the Denver Broncos seem to only heat up when they play on their home field. The Broncos have simply been dominant all season long, but even more so at Mile High, where they are 7-0 and have outscored opponents 296-153.

Whether it’s the tough outdoor conditions or the altitude, opposing offenses tend to have trouble finding room to breathe and visiting defenses seem to always slip up at Mile High. Of course, more than 75,000 Broncos fans don’t make things any easier and you can bet those Denver supporters will create an even more unfriendly atmosphere for enemies come playoff time.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans Saints

The St. Louis Rams of the early 2000s may have been known as “The Greatest Show on Turf,” but after boasting one of the league’s most powerful offenses for the last few seasons at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome, the New Orleans Saints are unquestionably this era’s king of the indoors. As is the case with most seasons, the Saints have ripped opponents apart on the comfortable carpet of the Superdome in 2013, having outscored visitors 230-113 with a 7-0 win/loss mark entering the final few weeks of the regular season.

While the Saints certainly play faster on their home turf than they do outside, they also get plenty of help from the nearly 70,000 strong that attend every home game. The noise from a normal capacity crowd is sometimes deafening, but under the Superdome’s roof, the wall of sound is amplified to a level that few opponents can handle. And with the Saints vying for a first round bye in the postseason again this year, it looks like a couple of unlucky teams may have to pack earplugs for their trip to The Big Easy.

CenturyLink Field – Seattle Seahawks

There are noisy stadiums and then there is CenturyLink Field and the Seattle Seahawks’ 12th Man, which make heavy metal bands and jet engines sound like envious whispers. After breaking the Guinness World Record with a 137.6 decibel mark in Seattle’s week 13 win over the Saints, the stadium is now known as the loudest outdoor venue in the NFL and it figures to house an even more boisterous atmosphere when the Hawks venture into the postseason.

However, opponents have much more than noise to worry about when playing at CenturyLink this season as the Seahawks are fielding arguably their best squad in franchise history. The 11-2 Hawks are a perfect 6-0 at home this season, extending their current NFL-best streak to 14 consecutive home wins dating back to last year. Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson has still never lost a game at CenturyLink and with one of the league’s most passionate home crowds behind him, he may not lose one anytime soon. NFL foes beware: CenturyLink Field is a place where great teams go to die.

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Daniel Johnson
Daniel Johnson, since graduating from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism, has worked as a professional freelance writer and copywriter for a multitude of websites and print publications. Follow him on Twitter @UODanJohnson to see more of his work, which covers sports, gambling, film, television and music topics.