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VOL. 44 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 28, 2020

Bring the noise: Vrabel hopes for level playing field

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There was a time in the NFL when teams like the Indianapolis Colts and others – primarily dome teams – were accused of piping in artificial noise to bother opposing teams and to increase their home-field advantage.

Now, with many NFL teams facing at least early-season games with no fans in the stands, the league is working on a policy that will allow some simulated crowd noise in the stadium and on the television broadcast.

We have already seen some of that in Major League Baseball this summer, though any sort of crowd noise would appear to be potentially more disruptive in football than on the diamond.

“From what I know, they’re leaving it up to the team to either choose to do that or not. I think it is a set,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel explains said ahead of Friday’s work at Nissan Stadium when the Titans got their first experience with the fake crowd noise. Once the experiment was complete, Vrabel seemed fine with it.

“I don’t know what the levels are. Whatever it’s going to be, that’s what we’ll play with,” Vrabel added.

As for everyone being on the up-and-up, Vrabel said he is confident there won’t be any underhanded gamesmanship to try and skirt whatever rules are put in place regarding the fake crowd noise.

“I would hope that we’re doing things in all phases of our organization that are compliant with whatever protocol or rules the league has,” he said. “Whether it’s time of practice, the decibel level of the stadium crowd noise, not piping music in when there are fans, all that stuff.

“I think that’s something – certainty we believe in the integrity of the game and letting the players decide it. I can only say that I’m confident that everybody else is going to be doing the same thing.”

-- Terry McCormick

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