“Fair” Means Whatever Is Good for Jerry Jones 

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

If the NFL does in fact play its 2020 season this fall, most stadiums will be empty. However, because not all states currently prohibit mass gatherings, a few teams will be allowed to have fans at their home games.

You might wonder if this actually matters. In a word, yes. Home field advantage is a real phenomenon, with home teams winning more games than away teams, and that advantage is directly related to the fans.

Years ago, I read an excellent book called “Scorecasting”, which discussed hidden factors that affect sports. In one section, the book analyzed why home advantage exists, controlling for as many factors as possible. For instance, to test the theory that sleeping in their own beds is what helps players, they looked at the results of cross-town games. They found that even in games where both teams had slept in their own beds, the home team still won more often.

The book concluded that fans were responsible for a big part of home advantage, specifically by producing a psychological impact on the officials. Loud fans can swing a few calls the home team’s way, and that in turn can swing a few games. Neat!

Scorecasting” is a great book, and I recommend it if it sounds at all interesting to you. One person who should definitely give it a read is Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones was asked about the fairness of the Cowboys being allowed to have fans, when most other teams. Among his word salad of an answer, he said it was “absolutely fair”. As not just the aforementioned book, but real results in 2020 show, it obviously is not fair at all. Further, it’s preposterous to state otherwise.


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