Sep 26, 2006

NFL seeks to limit fan noise

From the New York Times:

The league [NFL] has long had an uneasy relationship with crowd noise, and may soon embark on its latest quest to overcome it — not by hushing fans, but by allowing visiting players the benefit of a helmet-to-helmet wireless communication system.
The N.F.L. is not antinoise, exactly. It just does not appreciate certain types at certain times. The N.F.L. rule book even has a 900-word section devoted to crowd noise; too much when the visiting offense is on the field can draw a penalty for the home team.

Teams also receive detailed, and restrictive, instructions from the league about ways to elicit reactions from their fans. Under the guidelines, some electronic messages — “Let’s go crazy” and “Pump it up” are among those listed — are not acceptable.

Other chants (“De-fense!”) are appropriate, at certain times. Encouraging the wave is not — ever.
With no reasonable way to curb enthusiasm without appearing stodgy, Roger Goodell, the new N.F.L. commissioner, is floating another idea: placing microphones in quarterbacks’ helmets and speakers in the helmets of other offensive players, so that play calls and snap counts can be heard despite the din. Quarterbacks now have earpieces that allow them to hear coaches, but the transmission is cut with 15 seconds left on the play clock.
It adopted a noise penalty in 1989, allowing the referee, at the quarterback’s request, to warn the home team that the crowd is being disruptive. The referee, who stands behind the quarterback at the snap, can dock the home team a timeout, or even call a 5-yard penalty, if he decides that linemen cannot hear the snap count.

Mike Pereira, the N.F.L.’s vice president for officiating, has been in the league office for nine years. He said the rule had not been enforced in that time.

Read the full article...

If anyone from inside the NFL is reading this post -- I would really like to see a copy of the "900-word section" of the rulebook about crowd noise. You can send it to me here.


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