League is considering fake crowd noise in range of 70-85 decibels

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Fans may not be present for games in most NFL stadiums, but it will sound like they are.

Per a league source, the NFL currently is considering the use of artificial crowd noise in the range of 70 to 85 decibels for games without fans present. As the source explained it, the sound level likely would be constant throughout the game, regardless of whether the home team or the visiting team has the ball.

In response to a request for comment, a league spokesman said, “We are finalizing plans.”

If the final plan entails the same sound level throughout the game, that creates a different competitive balance question than the league’s decision to let some teams host fans while others can’t. For a team like the Vikings, who have a significant home-field advantage coming from the noise generated by the fans who pack their stadium, the sound under normal circumstances will be lower when the Vikings have the ball and higher (significantly) when the Vikings are playing defense. Replacing that with artificial noise that remains at the same level for both teams at all times would not simulate normal crowd noise in that venue, largely wiping out Minnesota’s home-field advantage.

This approach will hurt both that have raucous home stadiums primarily consisting of their own fans, along with teams that have a nationwide footprint that results in plenty of their fans attending road games. (Some teams fall into both categories.) In contrast, this approach will help teams that are required to play on the road in loud venues, like in Minnesota, Seattle, or Kansas City, along with teams that either play in partially or largely empty stadiums and/or stadiums overrun by fans of the visiting team.

The Chargers, for example, will benefit from this approach. They typically have a home-field disadvantage because their fans are outnumbered by fans of the opposing team. Artificial noise that remains constant throughout the game will make things a lot more hospitable in their home stadium. Also, they won’t have to worry about venturing into opposing stadiums where the sound will be deafening as they try to run their offense.

It’s unknown whether artificial noise will be used to enhance the sound naturally created in places where partial crowds will be present. Again, nothing has been finalized. Here’s hoping that, if the league decides to use artificial noise, it’s done in a way that much better simulates how things would have sounded at a normal game in each specific venue.

Or, to avoid any and all issues or concerns regarding potential competitive imbalance or the failure to simulate actual crowd noise, maybe the league should use no noise at all.

48 responses to “League is considering fake crowd noise in range of 70-85 decibels

  1. If they need expert opinions, they should ask the Falcons and Colts about piping in fake crowd noises.

  2. Why can’t we just leave it silent and hear the players play? That would be pretty cool to get to hear everything you normally don’t get to hear. Fake crowd noise just seems… sad

  3. I don’t think adding noise is wise. Just let them play, sustained noise is not good for the ears so why subject them to artificial noise. Anything above 80 db is close to causing perminant damage and they want to do this for what reason?!?

  4. I can only imagine the away team hearing this and just smiling and saying, “eh… yeah, it’s not the same.”

  5. It would be cool if the artificial noise (like the artificial crowd cutouts) was a little creative. Just imagine the Ravens score against the Rams. The crowd noise is abunch of crows caw-ing. On the next series the Rams convert a big first down. Baaahs and bleats get piped in. You could have fun with the Chargers, jets and Buccaneers, Raiders or Browns 😃

  6. The whole idea of fake noise just boggles my mind. Who are they trying to kid? Fan noise comes from the fans. If there are no fans there should be no fan noise. The fans at home and the players know there’s no one in the stands. Fake noise is going to be worse than the cardboard cutouts in baseball.

  7. it works in the nba it might work in the nfl. if we can get a season with minimal stoppage they can pump in all the fake noise they want

  8. Fans at home should be allowed to phone in their noises live and amplified through the stadium PA system.

  9. They should average volume per stadium from last year and adjust to keep it there with crowd noise.

  10. The Champions League final had an engineer live mixing crown noise. Was pretty effective, even whistling and booing bad calls.

  11. I can see already Belichick scheming how to turn that volume level 4 up to 11 when the opponents have the ball.

  12. There should be zero artificial noise. It makes absolutely no sense – why would they do this? Its not going to make for a more “game like” atmosphere … The NFL does not need a Laugh Track.

  13. Hard pass on fake noise.

    This is PROFESSIONAL football, not a sitcom.

    We’ve all (most of us anyway) played games in junior high and High School no crowd noise …no big deal

  14. The loudest fan noise at US Bank is when Cousins takes the field. It dies down pretty quickly after that.

  15. Indianapolis is all set. They have been pumping crowd noise in for a long time, assisting Manning in padding fringe HOF stats.

  16. Honesty, no-noise will sounds too creepy.

    As much as people might not like it, MLB’s artificial noise so far works in that its sounds / feels like a normal game, but just doesn’t LOOK like a normal game when you see the seats.

    More importantly here is that the crowd noise shouldnt’ sound the same for both teams. That will give the game a non-real feel. There needs to be a differential.

  17. I could see them doing this over the broadcast but doing it live and I n the stadium would be weird. It works for the NBA in my opinion

  18. why is no noise more fair than constant noise? I think some noise is needed for TV and fake noise has to be constant unfortunately….

  19. What would be the point in this? Constant fake crowd noise regardless of which team has the ball is completely useless. Why?

  20. I watched a Premier League soccer game with fake crowd noise. So stupid. An empty stadium that sounded like it was filled to capacity. Go for it Goodell….par for the course.

  21. Fake crowd noise has made baseball unwatchable. I was somewhat excited for baseball to start because it meant some return to sports normalcy. I watched about six innings and the fake crowd noise was too annoying to bare.

    Honestly, I think the NFL is in for a ratings shock. It’s one thing to watch golf with no crowd, I think football will suffer. I also think the lack of fantasy interest because of the expected chaotic season will also hurt ratings.

  22. Why not allow fans to have an app where they can press a button to cheer their home team? Then the higher the clicks, the greater the noise. Then the noise will not be so fake but based on live feedback.

  23. The Viklings will not be happy, half of what they piped in during last year’s games.

  24. so ‘go pack go’ will pretty much sound the same since they upgraded to speaker system to Lambeau, go it.

  25. Well i haven’t been watching sports this year besides UFC/Boxing. everything else without fans and cheering just plain ole sucks. so i guess i won’t be watching NFL either.

  26. Keep the noise out. Let’s hear more of the natural sounds of the game, the grunts, hits, yelps, trash talk, whatever. Put it on a short delay if you must to beep out any bad language.

  27. This fake crowd noise thing is WEIRD to watch when there are cardboard cutouts in the stands….

  28. Fake noise is so pathetic and dumb. It just makes the whole sport look more fake.

    This may be the only time in our lifetimes where the game is played this way, under these circumstances. It’s an historic moment. It should be documented as it is, not faked.

    TV sports broadcasting, for all the hoopla they build up *around* the broadcasts, have a long history of showing us the real event, as it is. For all the hype that gets stuffed into the stadium experience, the setting and gameplay is always real. This seems like an insult to not only viewers but also the very tradition of holding and broadcasting football games. It’s embarrassing.

  29. Ya they want to drown out all the expletive deletives that go on during the games. and thats just the vendors, the players, forgetaboutit!

  30. Here is an idea for competitive fairness, neutral sites if there are no fans.

  31. Seahawks have have posted 137.6 and 136.6 decibel ratings in the past. Sad to see the home field advantage go away for teams that have rabid fan bases but it is what it is. I say just keep it silent. Be fun for a change to hear all the sounds from the players for a season.

  32. It may not even matter if they do like the NBA has and if the NFL does. Im sure many fans won’t watch.

  33. clots pulled that on patriots repeatedly and belichick just laughed it off. vice versa and we’d have a two year 10 million dollar investigation with penalties imposed regardless of all evidence to the contrary. even worse would be the incessant whining.

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