The Falcons admittedly used artificial crowd noise throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season, until they were caught in November. Ultimately, they were fined and stripped of a fifth-round pick in 2016.
The fine ($350,000) really isn’t all that much for a billion-dollar business. The draft pick carries far more value, but since it was deferred until 2016 it’s roughly equivalent to a sixth-round pick in 2015.
Given that there’s a chance a team can use false crowd noise and manage to conceal their activities indefinitely, the punishment for getting caught doesn’t exactly operate as a major deterrent — especially since fake crowd noise can have a major benefit.
As former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker explained on Monday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, crowd noise removes the advantage of knowing when the ball will be snapped, giving the blockers a split-second head start over the defensive players. So the punishment doesn’t really seem to fit the crime, which could tempt others to commit the same crime.