FanDuel - WFBC

September 24, 2006

NFL Fans, Your Silence is Appreciated: New NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is considering a change that would make crowd noise meaningless: Allowing wireless communication between quarterbacks and the offense before the snap. "They come into an opposing stadium and they are not able to put the full offense in," he said. "They are not able to run plays in, they are not able to change the plays at the line of scrimmage."

posted by rcade to football at 10:12 AM - 44 comments

isn't crowd noise part of the home field advantage?this is not golf,this is football.man-up!play the game.that is what hand signals are for.smart players and coaches figure out a way to overcome,they don't punk out and say"I can't hear."you want quiet,be a librarian.

posted by mars1 at 10:55 AM on September 24

No Fun League. I'm growing increasingly disenchanted with American sports. No homefield advantage because it isn't fair that the away team can't play full strength? Ridiculous. It's bad enough that they pump in all that crappy music during the game... I hope that one doesn't pass.

posted by igottheblues at 11:12 AM on September 24

Eh. The crowd noise thing has gotten to be a bit much, if you ask me. It's one thing to have a psychological edge, it's another if you completely trash any possibility of audible communication among the opposing team. "Home field advantage" has become a bit of a travesty; you mokes say play the game, but you don't want them to be able to play the game if they're on your field, is that it?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:19 AM on September 24

The NFL is in a tough spot on this one. On one hand, the purpose of playing the game is to determine the best team on a given day. You can't get a fair match up if one offense can't hear audibles, snap counts, or even play calls in the huddle. Let's face it, you get the best the home team has to offer vs. a limited offering from the visitors. On the other hand, all the teams have to deal with being the visitors and have the chance to take advantage of the friendly confines of home. In addition, if the league restricts fan involvement, they run the risk of driving down interest as well. I'd have to say that that's why the refs almost never honor the current rules about excessive noise. The last thing they want to do is turn off the fans. IMO, since everyone has to deal with it, I'd leave the system alone. If you think about it, helmet com systems could actually shift the advantage way over to the offense. Instead of having to use coded audibles, the QB could give detailed instructions without the D hearing a thing. He reads blitz and immediately talks to his receivers to make sure they're all on the same page, etc. It would be even worse if they didn't have a system to be sure that the com shut off at the snap. If it was live during play, the QB could give instructions all the way through. The QB gets heavy pressure, so he tells his receivers to break off their routes and come back for the ball, or he tells his receivers to run balls to the wall to the end zone and don't look back. He'll throw to the open guy, and tell him which shoulder just in time for him to look for it. Could be a real can of worms here.

posted by ctal1999 at 11:44 AM on September 24

What? This is absolutely the organic evolution of football. These teams are multiple million dollar armies. It seems natural to me, for teams to go to higher tech.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:56 AM on September 24

you mokes say play the game, but you don't want them to be able to play the game if they're on your field, is that it? I guess it may seem that way, but on the other hand, every team plays half of their schedule on the road. I think what's disappointing is that rule changes that take out fan participation, override referee's calls, etc., always end up alienating a certain number of fans. Seems like it won't be long before staduims will be filled with paying fans who will keep their mouths shut and bring their TV's so they can follow along.

posted by pullthegoalie at 12:02 PM on September 24

I can't believe they would even consider this rule. However - maybe if they do enqact it, My chances of getting season tickets before the next 15 years maybe better since I know this would take the spirit out of the fans and the home field advantage! Everybody plays 8 and 8 and gets the advantages and disadvantages of playing at home and the road! If they do make the change - I just hope I get moved up on the waiting list before they realize and change it back after losing revenue for the NFL! Go Pats!

posted by nocurse at 12:12 PM on September 24

This rule is ridiculous. All of the teams have the same advantage, and changing the rule would just cause further anger and frustration from fans. Loud fans are part of the game and is the fan's biggest contribution to its team

posted by lucky23pjq at 12:32 PM on September 24

kcurtbusch: Eh. The crowd noise thing has gotten to be a bit much. Glad ya agree with me, son. People who are getting up a head of outrage over this proposed rule: tell me, exactly what does this take away from the fans? Not enjoyment, not "spirit" -- it takes away their ability to interfere with the visiting team by making it impossible from them to communicate audibly. If that's so important to you, why aren't you out there lobbying for the "right" of the home fans to throw stink bombs into the visiting team's huddle? Take away your ability to interfere with the visiting team, and it's suddenly "no fun", and not worth going to the stadium any more? Some kind of fans.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:35 PM on September 24

Are you sure that the NFL hasn't hired Sepp Blatter? If that's so important to you, why aren't you out there lobbying for the "right" of the home fans to throw stink bombs into the visiting team's huddle? I'm sure you enjoy your mom's orange pie.

posted by etagloh at 01:45 PM on September 24

I like the current system because teams with offenses that can develop better timing, signals, etc. will have a competitive advantage in road games compared to teams that aren't able to develop effective non-verbal means of starting or changing a play. And teams with rowdy home crowds obviously have a competitive advantage at home compared to those with more docile fans. On the other hand, I don't buy the argument that allowing this is going to eliminate any type of homefield advantage, render "crowd noise meaningless," or ultimately turn fans into mouses that sit on their hands during the entire game. In addition to crowd noise hampering the ability of opposing offenses to call plays, start plays and audible, crowd noise serves to pump up the home team, intimidate the away team and generally create a hostile environment.

posted by holden at 01:57 PM on September 24

I'd be suprised if some of the teams aren't already using this technology. I mean the quarterback already has a radio in his helmet, why not everyone else. If the crowd is loud enough, it won't matter if they have the radios or not. I walked passed a construction site the other day while listening to my IPOD and the sounds of construction totally drowned out the music. Who's to say that it will help?

posted by LaKeR4LiFe at 03:34 PM on September 24

Couldn't wireless communication be intercepted by the opposing team and communicated to the defense? Even if defenses don't do it, anytime a defender gets a lucky guess and breaks up a play it has to enter the mind of the offense and play with their psyche. The crowd noise may actually be less disruptive.

posted by texoma-slim at 06:35 PM on September 24

The good teams play above the crowd. Hell, indy & cincy can run the no-hudle on the road.

posted by mick at 06:54 PM on September 24

... tell me, exactly what does this take away from the fans? It takes away a fan's chance to directly participate in the outcome of the game in a manner that's been allowed for the entire history of the league. It takes away the best excuse for fans to get out of their seats and get loud, which is the most enjoyable way to experience the game. It takes away a chance to see which cities have dumb fans and which cities have smart ones. When I lived in Dallas, I don't think we ever figured out the whole "be quiet on offense, loud on defense" principle. It takes away the main way that players on the field interact directly with fans. In today's Colts-Jags game, Colts fans loudly booed a replay while Peyton Manning was under center trying to audible. Disgusted, he called timeout and waved his hands angrily at the crowd indicating they should have shut the hell up. It was hilarious. I don't get the desire to take all that away just so the offense can get yet another competitive advantage and make the live NFL experience more like watching at home on TV.

posted by rcade at 07:08 PM on September 24

Play the games in a domed studio with only the TV technicians in attendance. Broadcast the TV games with no audio. Should work great on radio broadcasts.

posted by joromu at 07:52 PM on September 24

rcade, your statement ("...just so the offense can get yet another competitive advantage") doesn't make any sense to me. As it is now, one team has a competitive advantage due to less disruption of their offense. How does changing that give "the offense" a "competitive advantage"?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:34 PM on September 24

No to this rule. When I lived San Diego and had season tickets to the Chargers we were fined for putting the noise meter on the big screen and this was back in the mid 90's. I could'nt believe it. Look it up, it's true. We went to Denver and had to deal with it, why didn't they have to deal with us without a fine.

posted by hoyty at 09:34 PM on September 24

Play the games in a domed studio with only the TV technicians in attendance. Broadcast the TV games with no audio. Should work great on radio broadcasts. That's the way things are headed in a lot of sports. I know hardly anything about NFL, but if the professional game doesn't exist for the fans, then who does it exist for? Even on TV, sports coverage with no atmosphere is dead. It's the fans that go to the game that fork out the most, and seem to get treated the worst. /end rant

posted by owlhouse at 11:17 PM on September 24

It seems natural to me, for teams to go to higher tech. Right on Weedy!! How about we just get the owners to play MADDEN 2006 in the stadiums on the big screen.... $2.00 admission for the fans, $1.00 hot dogs, and bring your own beer!!!! We don't need the high salary athletes, and this way we can be as loud as we want, the owners have never cared what the fans have to say anyways. How much more high tech can you get than that??

posted by ImissDAVEYnAlan at 07:23 AM on September 25

Reg-free link.

posted by smithers at 07:52 AM on September 25

A good example of fan "participation" was at yesterdays NYGs@SSs, the score was 42-3 and the fans were still screaming like it was tied up. 'hawks were still blitzing 10 minutes into the 3rd with a 39 pt lead. The G-men comeback shook the fans not a bit they finished the game still being distruptive. I only hope that when they go on the road that those fans give them a taste of there own medicine. I guess that the Seahawk fans feel that the D could'nt do it without them. I think that the rule certainly would take the HFA away from Seahawks and force them to play "real" defense.

posted by mrc237 at 08:28 AM on September 25

Yeah, not like Seattle is any good or anything...The G-Men was ROBBED!

posted by mjkredliner at 08:57 AM on September 25

I think this is a no-brainer -- of course you give the offense radio contact. Who's paying the bills, folks? It's not you, sitting in your $75 seat and drinking your $8 beer. It's the television networks and the advertisers, and they are the ones league management needs to keep happy. Home-field advantage is nice, but the NFL doesn't care about that, and it shouldn't. What it cares about is the unending parade of false starts and delay of games, which slow the game badly and are extremely boring to viewers. You can still scream your heads off when the Jumbotron tells you too if you like -- it just won't completely disrupt the game any longer.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:58 AM on September 25

If the NFL didn't care about fans attending the games, they'd drop the blackout rule.

posted by rcade at 09:01 AM on September 25

If the NFL didn't care about fans attending the games, they'd drop the blackout rule. I don't think the NFL qua NFL cares about the blackout rule; I think it's more something that some individual owners care about. It's just one of those areas (like revenue sharing from the perspective of the big money teams) where the interests of the owners do not necessarily line up with the interests of the NFL as a whole.

posted by holden at 09:11 AM on September 25

More and more teams are winning on the road..............................................

posted by kckurtbusch at 09:28 AM on September 25

I don't think you can separate the interests of the owners from the interests of the NFL, Holden. The owners decide the league's policies and would be the ones to approve or reject Goodell's wireless change.

posted by rcade at 09:32 AM on September 25

What it cares about is the unending parade of false starts and delay of games, which slow the game badly and are extremely boring to viewers.-----------GREAT POINT!!! Nothing like freezing your ass off when theres a delay of game penalty is being discussed.

posted by mrc237 at 09:37 AM on September 25

The owners decide the league's policies and would be the ones to approve or reject Goodell's wireless change. Right, but do the owners as a whole or do a certain subset of powerful owners?

posted by yerfatma at 09:48 AM on September 25

Denver won at New England,Cinncinati won at pittsburgh,Chicago won at Minnesota,Philadelphia won at San Franfreako,Carolina won at Tampa Bay.Penalties are not boring, they either make you happy of mad.They could hurry up but then again they are only human.In Baseball fans will get loud to screw up the pitcher should we stop that so we don't offend the TEAM YOUR TRYING TO BEAT.

posted by kckurtbusch at 09:59 AM on September 25

What it cares about is the unending parade of false starts and delay of games, which slow the game badly and are extremely boring to viewers. Speaking as a Seahawks fan, I will offer that the unending parade of (first half) false starts was, for me, fucking awesome.

posted by Skot at 09:59 AM on September 25

So what....just do it as it is no big deal....unless you consider screwing the visiting team your just rights? I am more concerned by the NFL officials making up new rules during a game....to fix the outcome of a game! like the Jax vs Dallas game....."picking up a flag and stating "it was not holding because the defensive player played through the hold!" now that was a BS call!!!!!!

posted by phenyx2 at 10:21 AM on September 25

unless you consider screwing the visiting team your just rights? Er, yes, as long as the invisible line between the fans and the players is unbroken. Next up, the NBA commissioner warns home fans behind the net not to stand up and wave during free throws? It's a cliché, but one aim of any visiting team is to take the fans out of the game, while the home team aims to ensure that the starting passion doesn't fade. If a team can't do that, then tough ta-tas. I've never been to an NFL game. I have, however, been to a triple-figure number of soccer matches where a slightly different equation works for when to turn up the volume. Frankly, seeing a visiting team truly put off their stride by the home supporters is a beautiful thing. That's one reason why UEFA retains the sanction of forcing a team to play behind closed doors.

posted by etagloh at 10:39 AM on September 25

etagloh, there's a clear difference between doing stuff that is visually distracting in the stands -- the game doesn't take place in the stands, right? -- and creating so much noise that signals can't be heard on the field. I've never been to an NFL game. I have, however, been to a triple-figure number of soccer matches where a slightly different equation works for when to turn up the volume. Do they give audible signals in soccer? This isn't about the crowd-intimidation factor, it's about the crowd shutting down communications.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:43 AM on September 25

Actually, I don't think this will have the tremendous impact that some people around here think it will. Crowds can still cheer, they can still affect games and give "home field advantage" (whatever that means to you). Mostly because I watched a couple road teams slaughter home teams this weekend. Shout all you want, the impact is already overstated.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:59 AM on September 25

etagloh, there's a clear difference between doing stuff that is visually distracting in the stands -- the game doesn't take place in the stands, right? -- and creating so much noise that signals can't be heard on the field. There's not much of a difference in my mind. This is all part of home field advantage. What's the difference between visual distraction and auditory distraction? Would you mount the same argument if a basketball audience managed to scream loud enough so that the players couldn't hear one another? And what then would you do about it?

posted by Skot at 11:00 AM on September 25

I have to admit, I always thought the crowd attempting to shut down communications through noise or other (non-invasive) distractions was part of going to professional spectator sports was all about. the game doesn't take place in the stands, right? In my opinion: wrong. Otherwise, why bother making noise in the first place? If they want to turn the NFL into a live-action version of Madden 07 instead of a place of celebration, they're doing a great job.

posted by chicobangs at 11:01 AM on September 25

Good point Skot - or what about those crazy fans waving their arms behind the backboard during a free throw? I guess we should not seat anyone there and drop a cloth behind the backboard that has green pastures and a sunny day with clouds - like the Microsoft wallpaper. I can almost - almost - understand the logic behind this, but it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I think the most telling thing is directly from the article: But several Giants, including Manning and some offensive linemen who struggled with the noise last year in Seattle, said they opposed the idea of adding the devices as well. “That’s part of the battle of having home-field advantage, is having a loud crowd, doing those kinds of things so the other team is not able to hear the count, not be able to hear those things,” guard David Diehl said. “I don’t think I’d be for it.” Diehl was called for three false-start penalties last year in Seattle. He knows that the crowd today will be loud, hoping to disrupt the Giants’ best-laid plans. And, no-one in favor of this rule has addressed what I believed were very legit concerns brought up by ctal - i.e. "Instead of having to use coded audibles, the QB could give detailed instructions without the D hearing a thing. He reads blitz and immediately talks to his receivers to make sure they're all on the same page, etc." Offenses are scoring plenty of points, as visitors or otherwise. This is the posterchild for a new guy coming into office and trying to make a name for himself and "fixing" something that isn't broken.

posted by littleLebowski at 11:05 AM on September 25

"If it's to loud, your to old!" Let our stadiums ROCK on!!

posted by darladombroski@sbcglobal.net at 11:25 AM on September 25

The deep-seated need to bring in the earth-moving equipment and the tankers of KY to create a Madden 2007 slippery slope underneath this issue has undone me. Have all the crowd noise you want.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:56 AM on September 25

Do they give audible signals in soccer? Sure. Instructions for marking, shouts of 'man on', a goalkeeper calling for a ball from a corner. One thing that people who only watch the game on TV don't grasp is the amount of verbal communication that goes on between players. A centre-back, especially if he's captain, is likely to be hoarse at the end of the match. Perhaps there's a difference in that the instructions aren't in playbook code, but that's tangential. the game doesn't take place in the stands, right? The game takes place in the stadium. Like I said, there's an invisible (or not so invisible) line that neither side should breach, with the possible exception of celebrations with your own fans. No chucking stuff, no Cantona moments. This is the posterchild for a new guy coming into office and trying to make a name for himself and "fixing" something that isn't broken. Like I said, it's very Sepp Blatter. And it'll be forgotten soon enough, like most of Blatter's bizarre proposals.

posted by etagloh at 11:58 AM on September 25

l_b_b, I don't think this is an argument that anyone can win. One side says that both teams should have equal conditions throughout every game, simply in the interest of fairness and the best team winning. The other side says that each team plays half its' games at an advantage and half at a disadvantage, so it all balances out (unless your fans suck and don't give visitors "the treatment"). Both arguments have merit, but I tend to lean toward leaving things alone simply because every time you change something, there seem to be unintended consequences (some of which I mentioned in an earlier comment). Fix one problem and spawn a whole new batch. A change like this should only be implemented because it's an improvement, not just because it's different.

posted by ctal1999 at 06:00 PM on September 25

yer right, ctal -- I don't buy the"oh it'll be just like computer gamez wtf omg lol" so-called "argument", but I see and agree with your point about unintended consequences.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:12 AM on September 26

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