| March 18, 2018

Dome-field advantage

September 13, 2014

It’s fact — probably proven in a scientific study somewhere — football players receive an extra adrenalin boost when their home crowd is loud and full of energy.

Home-field advantage is real, and I could quickly prove my point with one prime example — the Seattle Seahawks.

I could talk about how since 2012, the defending Super Bowl champions have an 18-1 record at CenturyLink Field, and how the stadium owns the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd noise.

I could talk about that. But I won’t.

How about the Kibbie Dome?

It’s one of the most unique venues in college football. A giant keg buried halfway into the earth with a football stadium inside of it. While some dismiss the Kibbie Dome as a real stadium, calling it small and outdated, others embrace it.

The older generations of Vandal fans remember the past. It was a time when students were deafening, the stadium was filled and — most importantly — the team was winning.

With the capacity of 15,200, the Kibbie Dome is the smallest stadium in the FBS. But don’t let that fool you — it can still get very loud.

Noise can’t escape from inside the dome, and for a while, opponents couldn’t either. Over the span of five seasons, from 1993-1997, Idaho won 21 straight home games in the Kibbie Dome.

The Vandals all-time record in the domed stadium is 124-76-1. Most wins were from Idaho’s time in the Big Sky and Big West, and became scarce when the program transitioned into FBS in 2001.

With only four combined wins in the past three seasons, Idaho has struggled to stay relevant at the FBS level. With fans failing to fill the bleachers, the country’s smallest stadium has looked even smaller.

The Dome has become quiet and the cadence of opposing teams’ quarterbacks can be heard echoing throughout the empty stadium, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Paul Petrino took over an Idaho program that was at one of the lowest points in its history. After a rough year playing as an independent, the team showed signs of a much-improved team in its first game this season.

With the move to the Sun Belt, there is no reason to doubt Petrino can build a successful program, but he needs some help from fans.

The Vandal faithful need to start making their voice heard at home games.

The Kibbie Dome used to be intimidating, but that is not the case now. Take pride in the quirky stadium, and make opponents fear coming to Moscow once again.

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