Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Redskins Pipe Crowd Noise into FedEx Field

I know because I heard it myself Sunday, from that speaker. Many times.

I attended the Redskins-Eagles game last Sunday and I can tell you the rumors are true. The Redskins play crowd noise through the stadium PA on crucial downs. This is in violation of NFL rules, the NFL must take action and the team must be stopped.

This story first came to my attention back in September after the Giants home game, an ExtremeSkins board member who had been at the game posted on it, then Redskins AOL Fanhouse wrote it up then I heard Bob Pappa and Randy Cross talking about it on Sirius NFL Radio on Monday 24 September 2007, the day after that Giants game. I also wrote up a reaction and I have heard nothing on it since.

Back in September after reading the ExtremeSkins/AOL Fanhouse pieces I recalled that on my trip to see the Eagles game last season, also up in the nosebleeds, I thought I had heard crowd noise coming from the speakers on some big downs and I vowed to check it out the next time. Lucky me our seats Sunday were so lousy I had no choice but to listen but on the upside I did not have to move to gather evidence. On Sunday I sat in section 433 row 24, directly under the speaker you see at the top of this post.

From the Eagles first drive through the Eagles' next to last score I heard crowd noise coming through the PA on big downs, whether they be 2nd, 3rd or 4th. After Wilbert Montgomery and I noticed it I started pointing my camera on the speaker on big downs.

Now I should note that it was not on every down that I heard crowd noise from the PA, just big downs when the Eagles had the ball. It was this fact that the noise was not present on every play that made it noticeable when it was.

I have uploaded two videos captured from my digital camera to YouTube and they are below. Unfortunately these videos do not capture the infractions in an obvious manner. However I have posted them and I stand by these accusations. Each is paired with a photo of the scoreboard immediately after the play captured. This is how I could go back to the play by play and see where in the game these two infractions occurred.

Note that although there are only two videos posted here and therefore I can pinpoint only these two plays where the team was piping crowd noise into the stadium that Wilbert Montgomery and I noticed the artificial crowd noise at least six times.

This first video is from the third quarter, the ball was snapped with 7:39 left, Eagles ball 4th and 1 on the Eagles 39.

I snapped this picture of the scoreboard after Donovan McNabb's one yard sneak got the first down.

The second video I captured was in the fourth quarter, the ball was snapped with 3:29 left, 2nd and 2 on the Eagles 43, Dono tossed a short pass over the middle and Brian Westbrook took it 57 yards for a touchdown.

I snapped this picture of the scoreboard immediately after the play.

The Eagles would then go for a two point conversion and miss it.

The NFL has explicit rules on crowd noise (hat tip AOL Fanhouse) and this would seem to be a violation of them.

The plausible excuse I would expect from the team is an inadvertent open mic in the announcer's booth or some crowd hopper with a mic, perhaps the announcer was prepping for the post-play call and had the mic open and the crowd noise was so loud that it seeped into the PA. I would reject this excuse based on the infrequency of the noise and the fact that it happened only on downs where a reasonable person would expect the team would want the crowd to be louder than normal.

The team should cease this practice immediately, it is dishonest and against the rules. If the team does not feel the noise level in FedEx Field is high enough making up the difference with fake crowd noise is the wrong way to deal.

Game photos and video by me.




The whistling is identical. It would be cool to have some actual audio expert run some TV footage to see if they can find loops of audio.