As ESPN’s Mike Sando points out, buried in a story by Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal on the NFL relaxing blackout rules is this nugget.
In hopes that professional football can mimic the wild stadium atmosphere typical of college football games, the NFL says it has “liberalized” its restraints on crowd noise. Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.”
Clark goes on to say the league is relaxing rules in stadiums and making free wireless internet available because more fans are choosing to stay home and watch games. The changes are in response to a decline in ticket sales each of the past five years, with average game attendance down 4.5% since 2007.
Of Course, that has not been the case in Seattle, which had a streak of 77 sell outs and is known as having one of the loudest stadiums in the league.
And the fans at CenturyLink are pretty educated, knowing when to turn up the volume and when to sit on their hands. Evidence of that is Seattle’s opponents have the most false start penalties in the league (111) since 2005.
But the relaxed noise rules could help Seattle get the fans revved up during critical stretches of the game. Crowd noise has been a factor over the years, as the Seahawks have the second best home record in the NFC since moving to the NFC West in 2002 at 51-29 (.638). Only the Packers at 55-25 (.688) have a better record over that span.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland writes a piece on how travel affects NFL teams, and notes that the Seahawks flew five times as many miles as Pittsburgh did for road games in 2008 – 29,912 compared to 5,682 for the Steelers.