League reminds teams of rule against artificial crowd noise

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As the low hum of #DeflateGate continues to permeate the NFL, the league office has issued a reminder to all teams that relates to another of the 2015 offseason controversies: The Falcons’ use of artificial crowd noise in 2013 and 2014.

The connection between the two incidents coincidentally comes from the fact that NFL V.P. of game operations Mike Kensil’s name appears at the bottom of the email sent Wednesday to all teams regarding the 2015 Video Board and Crowd Noise Policies.

Per a source with knowledge of the pre-existing rules, the email reflects no new provisions or procedures. But the reminder regarding the policies regarding the use of sound and video during a game carry a little more weight this year given that the Falcons deliberately defied the rules — and were caught doing it.

The Falcons ultimately lost a fifth-round draft pick in 2016 and paid a fine of $350,000 for the infraction, a penalty that doesn’t really seem to provide much of a deterrent given the potential benefits of disrupting the opposing offense with a level of noise that removes its inherent advantage of hearing the snap count.

Owner Arthur Blank has explained that the Patriots faced a much greater punishment for what arguably was a lesser infraction because they “failed to acknowledge” what they had done. Of course, the difference is that the Patriots denied deflating footballs — and the evidence of their guilt is far less compelling than the evidence against the Falcons, which was sufficiently clear that they didn’t even try to deny it.

Still, with the punishment being a future late-round pick, a mid-six-figure fine, and a three-month suspension for the team CEO from a voluntary committee but not from his job, other teams may be tempted to roll the dice on cranking up the decibels in the hopes of getting an advantage. Then again, without a well-connected CEO who possibly lobbied the league office to go easy on the Falcons, the next team to be caught using artificial crowd noise could end up facing the kind of punishment that would serve as a much stronger deterrent moving forward.

46 responses to “League reminds teams of rule against artificial crowd noise

  1. Kensil should not have his job after lying to the media..

    Where is his fine, suspension, etc…?

    Former Jets GM witch-hunting the Patriots. Lying, etc…


  2. Artificial noise creates an unfair competitive advantage, just like performance enhancing drugs, and should similarly result in a 4 game suspension for the QB who benefitted and a loss of a 1st round pick.

  3. .
    To me, the biggest mystery of the whole framegate controversy is this :

    Why are the people of New England still supporting Arthur Blank’s retail establishments ? It’s like paying someone to sling mud in your face.

  4. How is it the Colts never got punished for this?

    How is it the Colts never got punished for Deflategate, when 3 out of 4 footballs tested went down a similar amount to the Patriots footballs?

    How is it the Colts never got punished for “Suck for Luck”?

  5. This is pathetic. But this is what you get when you price the avg person out of the game. Most markets for the NFL have become an “event” vs the avg joe going to watch their favorite team. Its a bunch of people there to see and be seen (and not heard).

    Every day Cuban is more right. The ratings are high on TV but many teams are struggling at the gate. A 3 way battle for LA? Games in Mexico? Games in London already and Mr. Khan wants to extend the deal.

    Piped in crowd noise? I wonder how many other teams haven’t been caught? But this is what you get when it is not about the everyday fan that helped build the game.

  6. Its interesting that the league decides to send out reminders on certain rules for teams and other times that setup poorly constructed stings to other teams. Such hypocrisy.

  7. This doesn’t matter because it doesn’t involve the Patriots.

    If it did, you can be sure the NFL hits them with the death penalty.

    Double standards in the NFL exist as much as oxygen does on Earth. It only matters if you’re a winner, then you get penalized.

  8. Moral of the story: If you aren’t very good, cheating is ok, but if you’re one of the best of all time, mishandled indications of cheating result in the death penalty and a scarlet letter.

  9. Really Mr. Blank? Even the discredited Wells report did not find fault with the team, the owner, or the coach. Yer Vincent docked the Patriots draft picks and $1M dollars. For what? How could the team admit to something they insist it did not do and that “Independent”/(Procecutor for Hire) Ted Wells did not find any fault with?

  10. The Falcons’ light punishment is an outrage given their years of deliberate cheating. Apparently all the Enforcer cares about is punishing success.

  11. If this was the Patriots, it would have been the #1 story of the summer, and people would be sanctimoniously pontificating about how eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil they are.

  12. Come on man! The Falcons need as much help as they can get. I wonder how many hidden speakers are going into the Mercedes-Benz Sphincter Dome.

  13. “… the Patriots faced a much greater punishment for what arguably was a lesser infraction because they “failed to acknowledge” what they didn’t do. ”

    There…fixed it for you.

  14. read pages 44 through 48 of the Wells report. Wells does a pretty good job of scattering the details, but this is basically what it says:

    – Grigson emailed Dave Gardi & Mike Kensil that Patriots let air out of balls AFTER officials test them.

    – Gardi replies to Grigson that Kensil will be at game and will speak to game officials about his concern (the report does not confirm this happened)

    – Kensil forwards Grigson’s email to James Daniel, who forwards it to other Game Operations personnel that will be at the game. Kensil also forwarded Grigson‟s email to Dean Blandino and Alberto Riveron, both senior members of the NFL Officiating Department.

    – Both Riveron and Blandino decided that they would raise the issue with Walt Anderson, who had been assigned as the referee for the game. Both spoke with Anderson about following standard pregame inspection protocol, but neither mentions the content of Grigson’s email (about air being let out after the balls are tested).

    – footnote #25 on page 46 notes that NFL officials interviewed believe that standard pregame inspection protocol would be sufficient.
    in a nutshell, a team makes a complaint about tampering with footballs AFTER they are tested and is told that Kensil will talk with game officials but never did; the information is passed around to a number of people, and two other Execs that said they will speak with the game officials. Both tell the official to be sure to follow proper pregame inspection protocol, but never tell him about the complaint of what happens AFTER they are tested.

    How did the Wells investigators overlook this? (was it on the same piece of paper as Jim McNally’s ‘deflator comment’ that they supposedly missed on the initial interview?)

    If one is setting up a sting, this is exactly what you do: tell Anderson to follow proper pregame inspection protocols….nothing more, nothing less.

  15. The 12th man is a CLEAR advantage that Seattle has – it’s made the difference in games.

    Although FrameGate was always about Goodell deflecting attention from the 80% of fans calling for him to be fired post Ray Rice 2 game suspension (and Goodell lying under oath) we know that even if you want to believe the footballs were deflated in the 1st half, it made NO difference in the outcome of games

    The fact that the league treats this cheating with such a minor slap on the wrist by the Falcons and Colts tells you all you need to know about the lack of integrity among the Owners

  16. Indy has been doing this for years. In Seattle the noise is real from real fansand not piped in from speakers. Indy has been cheating for years and Polian knew all about it yet he is given a pass. What a disgrace the NFL has become with the present crew of incompetents in charge. They hide behind the very shield they are in the process of destroying.

  17. So now every team will have to have real fans like the Seahawks? Not possible.

    Real Seattle fans? I don’t think I ever heard of those back in like 2010

  18. This is pissing me off. I haven’t cared for the NFL for years (the upper management and ownership), but this, and the fact that two games a week are only available on cable, the obscene price for tickets, the hot dog that Goodell should be sucking and every damn thing the NFL sells to enrich the billionaire owners – has me ready to support a new league. I was but an itsy bitsy thing when the AFL came into existence; by the time I was old enough to love football the AFL was far more exciting than the NFL. Time for that to happen again.

  19. How does Kensil still have a job?

    How does Atlanta only lose a 5th round pick when there’s EVIDENCE of their wrongdoing, and they ADMITTED wrongdoing, but the Pats lose a 1st and 4th, etc etc., when there is ZERO proof of any wrongdoing?

    How do the Colts, Jets and Ravens get away with playing with deflated footballs, tampering, and domestic violence (looking at you t sizzle from ball so hard U) with no punishment?

    How and why do we continue to not just give the NFL our money, but basically beg that they keep taking tons of it?

  20. It’s funny how pumping in noise does not violate the integrity of the game according to Goodell. Then again, suck up to to the teams that can’t beat the Patriot’s and crucify them for doing nothing to deflate the balls. Just like the Colt’s didn’t deflate their footballs that tested below 12.5 PSI despite sitting in a warm room longer than the Patriots footballs! Cue the trolls.

  21. Another point that Blank and most everyone else fails to realize is that the Patriots acknowledged their role in Spygate. They didn’t deny it. They cooperated fully. And they still got whacked with a first round pick and &750K fine. So why in the hell would NE acknowledge any wrong doing in Deflategate when they believe they didn’t do anything? Also, the league and Wells exonerated Belichick and Kraft and STILL whacked them with a first and a million bucks. That makes sense, Artie. I’m done. I gotta pick up some stuff at Lowes.

  22. People who continue to insist that the Seahawks have artificial crowd noise, obviously have no idea what artificial crowd noise is. What Seattle has, is a stadium that is architectually designed to keep crowd noise levels directed at the field, that is completley different than artificial noise! Now all cities with new stadiums are doing what Seattle was the first, and of course smartest to do in the first place. Keep on with the jealousy everybody, we love it!…….GO HAWKS!

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