Before the 2003 NFL season, Lincoln Financial Field opened it’s doors as the new home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The construction broke ground on May 7th, 2001 and took less than two years to build. The previous football venue, Veteran’s Stadium, was beloved by fans and hosted the Eagles for over thirty years. When the first NFL regular season game was played on September 8th, 2003, Lincoln Financial Field had big shoes to fill.
Unfortunately, the 2003 September 8th match up between the Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, referred to as the “Inaugural Game” at Lincoln Financial Field, ended poorly. The Buccaneers defeated the Eagles 17–0 in their new home, the same as they did in the Eagles’ final game in Veterans Stadium (27–10). That final game happened to be the NFC Championship game the Eagles were heavily favored to win.
After the stinging loss of the first game at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles would go on to host another NFC Championship game later that same season. On January 18th, 2004, the Eagles hosted the Carolina Panthers. By this time the stadium had been referred to by it’s shortened name, “The Linc”. Once again, the Eagles fell in a game in which they were the favorites, 14-3.
The next season, the Eagles would go on to their fourth straight NFC Championship game. On January 23, 2005, the Eagles would beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-10 advancing to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1980. The Eagles went on to lose to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, however, Bird’s fans were finally comfortable in their new home and surely, better days were ahead.
In the Eagles first two seasons (2003-2004) at Lincoln Financial Field, their home record was 12-4. Since the 2004 season, from 2005-2011, the Eagles home record at Lincoln Financial Field has been 31-25. That is a .550 winning percentage, hardly a decisive home field advantage.
Lincoln Financial Field does not seem to create a fantastic football environment. The stadium does not project the optimal noise level to hinder opposing team’s offenses. That is primarily due to how the Linc is architectural designed. The stadium is “open” and does not hold in crowd noise as many other stadiums do. Additionally, unlike the masses that invaded Veterans Stadium in the past, the Linc crowd seems to be more laid back.
Overall, the Eagles are 43-29 at Lincoln Financial Field (2003-2011). During the last nine seasons the Eagles played in Veterans Stadium (1994-2002), their record was 45-27. That is only a two game win increase. To put thing in perspective, the Green Bay Packers home record from 2003-2011 at Lambeau Field was 50-22. It looks like the Eagles have a slight home field advantage, just not the dominant one fans hope for.