By HCR Staff | September 5, 2020
The NFL this week announced that for the 2020 season, artificial crowd noise can be used and the decibel limit will be 70. Artificial noise, in a typical NFL season would be prohibited; so does it make sense to allow it now?
No. But again, this is the NFL – an organization that even pre-pandemic, would have no hesitation telling the fan that ‘up’ is really ‘down.’ Orwell would have made a great Commissioner for this outfit.
But we’re here to talk about football, and the idea of fake crowd noise isn’t good for the competition.
First of all, this idea now introduces the stadium’s audio technology crew and their effectiveness as an important part of the competition. That’s artifice that we don’t need.
Second, without any artificial noise, fans would be able to see a competition that may just be slightly more level. Home teams generally have a noise advantage – that’d be taken away. Home teams still would have the advantage of less travel, no time change, knowledge of the playing surface, etc. – but they wouldn’t have the benefit of organic crowd noise. And without that benefit, for example, we’d get to see a Seattle Seahawk defense playing at home, play an opposing offense straight up – mano a mano.
We like how that looks, strictly from a competitive standpoint.
Finally, without any artificial noise, imagine the pure on-field audio fans would be treated to – defensive players communicating, offensive linemen adjusting their calls, and players jawing back and forth. This kind of audio is the real, authentic sound of football; it’s an authenticity we’re deprived of every Sunday because we’re typically bombarded by noise from fans, scoreboard operators, promotions, etc.
When the PGA Tour re-started without fans, it seemed awkward at first for fans watching on television. But soon, fans were able to actually hear the players and their caddies, and they were delighted to engage with the players in an unvarnished way (especially with PGA Tour star Justin Thomas in this one incident).
We’re grateful the NFL is even attempting to get us to Week 1 of the 2020 season. But this is an opportunity for the fan to see – and hear – football in its rawest form. Let’s hope they see the fake crowd noise actually detracts from the game and its experience.