Reality Check

Reality Check

Vets the truthfulness of claims and measures the efficacy of public policy

Reality Check: San Francisco 49ers Taking Down Seattle's 12th Man

By Sam Brock
|  Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014  |  Updated 7:30 PM PDT
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In this edition of Reality Check Sam Brock peels back the numbers to see if the facts support the unsettling claim the 49ers will not win in Seattle.

In this edition of Reality Check Sam Brock peels back the numbers to see if the facts support the unsettling claim the 49ers will not win in Seattle.

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It’s been both a joyous, and fateful last few days for the San Francisco 49ers.

One on hand, they played smash mouth football against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, earning a trip to the NFC Championship game and a shot at their second straight Super Bowl appearance.

On the other, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have already written the 49ers off.

The much-ballyhooed 12th man in Seattle, aka CenturyLink Field and its rabid fan base, has been cited as the primary reason why San Francisco cannot, and will not march into Seattle and capture another conference championship.

But how much truth is there to the claim CenturyLink is the difference maker in this match up?

To be sure, Seattle has been dominant at home, especially in the last couple of years.

If you combine the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons, Seattle has gone a nearly perfect 15-1 on their home turf.

But if you’re really evaluating the numbers behind this budding rivalry, it’s only fair to look at how the teams have fared since Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll came into their head coaching positions.

Pete Carroll has had stellar numbers since being installed as the Seahawks’ head coach. At home, the team is 24-8 during the regular season, good for a winning percentage of 75 percent.

Look at the 49ers performance at home, however, and suddenly the Seahawks fall a notch.

San Francisco is 19-4-1 at Candlestick Park under Harbaugh, a winning percentage of about 82 percent.

So who has the most intimidating home field advantage in reality? The numbers suggest the Niners.

The home records also serve as a microcosm for how each coach has performed on a broader level.

Pete Carroll has amassed a record of 38-26 in his four seasons in Seattle, translating to a rock-solid 59 percent winning percentage.

Jim Harbaugh, conversely, has engineered one of the greatest head coaching starts in league history, leading his team to a record of 36-11-1 over three seasons, or a winning percentage of 76 percent.

In the playoffs, Harbaugh has been just a tick better there, too. He’s gone 5-2 and already reached two conference championships.

His Seattle counterpart has gone 3-2 in his playoff tenure, failing thus far to reach the championship game.

Head-to-head, Harbaugh’s 49ers have won four times, to Carroll’s two victories.

So what exactly makes Seattle a three-and-a-half point favorite?

For one, they throttled the Niners at home earlier this year 29-3 in a laugher.

The previous year’s bout in Seattle was equally embarrassing, with the Seahawks romping their way to a 42-13 victory.

And as we mentioned, Seattle has been near untouchable at home the last two years.

But if you’re taking a comprehensive look at home performance, team record and playoff accomplishments, it’s still clear the 49ers still come out on top.

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