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Kyle Shanahan explains why current rules around artificial noise sound like ‘human torture’



© Kirby Lee | 2020 Feb 25

While other sports have implemented fake crowd noise in lieu of fans during the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL hasn’t quite figured out what they’re going to do. Home field advantage in football isn’t just about how loud a crowd is, but also when they cheer, making the consistent noise that the NBA and MLB have experimented with less applicable.

Though nothing is official, the latest plan is to have a wall of sound that plays from kickoff until the final whistle, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks on Thursday. If that is indeed what the league decides on, Shanahan has some issues with it.

“We’ve been experimenting with everything from 60-80 decibels,” Shanahan said on KNBR. “We did in one practice 60, yesterday was 70 which is alright, you can hear the cadence but you can’t have a conversation with a person during the game which is kind of tough. I just read when we got into practice, talking about setting everyone at 70-75, if that’s the case it is what it is.

“I want to help out our d-line with everything. That to me is the biggest advantage in sports when, being on the road when the offensive line can’t hear the snap count and that allows d-linemen to tee off. That’s a huge, huge difference. That’s something we’ve had here at home…that was huge for us. So I want that noise up, but from what I’m understanding you press play at the beginning of the game, right at kickoff, and you can’t stop it until the end of the game. So whatever it does for our d-line it’s going to do for the opposing d-line also. So that is something I’m trying to grasp why it makes sense.

“I don’t want us to have to go silent cadence at home.”

Not only would consistent noise not provide an advantage, it’s uncomfortable for the players and coaches in the stadium.

“It’s going hurt people in terms of 60-70 decibels isn’t even close to how loud it is in Seattle, our stadium, New Orleans. I mean I don’t think that’s going to help a ton for the pass rush on either side, all it’s going to do is be human torture for the constant noise for 3.5 hours that we have to hear. That’s what I’ve struggled with the most. When there’s constant noise, no high or low, there might as well be no noise.

“There’s something about when everyone is yelling and then it stops, then there is a hit and a big pickup in the sound, but once the ball snaps you kind of hear the game, you hear people hit, you hear people moving. But when it’s constant you don’t hear anything, you just hear the noise. It’s a good thing other people won’t be in the stands having to hear it, because me and the players being out there at practice hearing constant noise for three hours, you can’t hear anything.”

So what about complete silence? Shanahan says the 49ers experimented with that as well, but in addition to it making calls and audibles too obvious for the opposing team, it also poses another issue.

“My kids cannot hear us talking on TV like that,” Shanahan laughed.

Listen to the full interview below.