Artificial crowd noise is coming to every NFL stadium this season, even in cities where some fans will be allowed into games.
At least one NFL head coach isn’t happy about it, judging from a recent episode of the San Francisco 49ers’ “Brick by Brick” web series. In the video, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan can be heard reacting in horror to the volume of the crowd noise when it was turned on at practice.
Shanahan incredulously asks “This is the lowest?” and pleads for it to be turned off during special teams. He then has the following exchange with Niners general manager John Lynch:
Shanahan: “Oh my god ... that really is a form of human torture.”
Lynch: “It’s terrible. And it starts, and it doesn't stop too.”
Shanahan: “I don’t know what I’m about to do and I’m afraid it’s just because of the noise.”
However, another exchange with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo revealed that the 49ers’ players didn’t really mind the additional noise:
Garoppolo: “That's not bad how it was.”
Shanahan: “It wasn't for you guys?”
Garoppolo: “Not at all.”
Shanahan: “Alright, it's just a form of human torture for me.”
Hopefully, Shanahan can get used to it before the Niners’ opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The NBA and MLB have both been using artificial crowd noise in their games, with little complaints after the first week of play.
How loud is the NFL’s crowd noise?
Hearing Shanahan’s complaints, you’d think that the NFL is playing Seattle Seahawks-level crowd noise in its stadiums. However, that isn’t exactly the case.
A memo sent to NFL teams revealed that artificial crowd noise, created by NFL Films sound engineers, will be capped at 70 decibels, roughly analogous to a vacuum cleaner or average factory. The NFL has warned any teams who exceed that limit will face strong punishment.
However, some teams will be louder than others given that use of the crowd noise is mandatory even in stadiums with some fans.
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