The New Orleans Saints have dominated in the Mercedez-Benz Superdome, posting a perfect 9-0 record this season including last Saturday’s NFC wildcard victory against the Lions. The Saints’ offense is the hottest in the league right now, but one has to wonder if their success is linked to them being a dome team. Including the playoffs the Saints are 11-1 this season when playing in a dome stadium and there are some advantages to playing in a dome.
While playing in a dome a team does not have to worry about inclement weather such as rain or snow. In addition, teams will not have to worry about the sun, which could possibly hinder a player’s sight depending on how bright it is and the time of day. Also, in a dome there is no need to worry about the temperature; domes are indoors and thus usually have a constant warmer temperature than outdoor stadiums. These are some factors to think about when comparing dome stadiums to outdoor stadiums.
Consider this, the Saints have only played 5 games this season outside of a dome and have went 3-2. One of those losses came in week 1 at Lambeau field against the defending Super Bowl Champs, the Green Bay Packers. The Saints will travel to Candlestick Park, an outdoor stadium, this Saturday for the divisional round showdown against the San Francisco 49ers. A victory would set up a potential NFC championship game against the Packers, if the Packers can get past the New York Giants.
When asked how he thinks his team will fair playing in San Francisco and possibly Green Bay, Drew Brees had this to say:
“I feel like our offense and our team is built for whatever condition. We play indoors here in the Superdome and that’s what we’ve been doing as of late, but we feel like we’re the type of team that should be able to go anywhere, anytime, and play our type of football that we know how to play. There are elements at times you have to deal with no matter where it is, but we’ll adjust accordingly. I don’t see any reason why we can’t go on and continue to be productive.”
The Saints will definitely have a lot to prove this weekend at Candlestick Park as they try to secure a bid to the NFC championship game. Playing outdoors may or may not be a factor, but if the Saints want to get to the NFC Championship they are going to have to come outside and play.