By David Anderson
A 12th Man health warning.
What is louder than a pneumatic riveter at four feet? How about 12 decibels beyond the threshold of pain and 50 more than the onset of hearing loss? Do you know what produces a more intrusive and pervasive sound than that cascading from stage to mosh pit at a raucous rock concert, and only slightly less wake-the-dead volume than a jet engine a mere 33 yards away?
Wait, you haven’t heard anything yet – one more (ok, maybe a couple more – hear me out): When NBC’s Michelle Tafoya stepped away from her microphone and screamed in its direction but couldn’t be heard, why not? And where was she?
If you answered CenturyLink Field to the last – the home of the ear-splitting, headache-producing, opposing-quarterback-
And one of two reasons Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard, tackle-breaking, playoff-clinching touchdown against New Orleans on Jan.8, 2011was called the “Beast Quake” run as that was the last time a small quake (136.6 dB) was attributed to the fans.
Not to take anything away from Lynch – after all his TV and radio promotional advertising for clearing clogged plumbing lines is a most appropriately cast role given the line through which he plows on Sundays – but, according to some fans (although admittedly 49ers), the real reason Lynch gets loose, this latter line of thinking goes, is because the face-painted lime-and-blue are little more than “street punks,” said one, act like they’re “on drugs,” said another, with the result that, to hear it from them, what we have down there on the gridiron is “not a game of skill anymore” and Seattle’s unbeaten-at-home win streak of 14 games is not because of talent on the field but rather the thunder from the fans – some 67,000-plus blustering, boisterous buffoons belching in most bothersome unison.
Their solution, although not likely to get a hearing?
The NFL should implement a new rule: “The visiting team may stop the game when fan noise is greater than a specified decibel level, and should this rule be violated in more than three games, no home games will be played at the offending field for the rest of the season, including playoff games. Things would quiet down.”
How ‘bout the NFL set the threshold decibel at two dB’s (not an abbreviation for defensive backs) less than a rock concert? That’s the level of noise, putting people at significant risk, attained during shift change – not between quarters when teams change ends of the field, but (are you ready for this) – in a hospital.
“A shocking study of noise levels on hospital wards found that noise during shift changes – from clattering carts, loud voices, and other sources – can reach 113 decibels.”
With what impact on the players, er patients?
Clinical psychologist Dr. Jack Singer told Newsmax Health, “The psychological strain experienced by people exposed to constant noise includes distraction, lack of focus, and a slowdown of mental processes.”
That statement right there by the good doctor Singer is no doubt sweet music to the collective 12th Man ears as it amounts to a scientific explanation for what has happened fourteen successive times to opposing quarterbacks at CenturyLink Field: “distraction, lack of focus, and a slowdown of mental processes.”
It’s not like linebackers don’t know where Lynch is. They just can’t get there. It’s the noise for crying out loud.
Should the Seahawks somehow falter in the very near future then the lime-and-blue can do just what the doctor ordered since if we’re not in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in northern New Jersey, it won’t matter anyway: “avoid noise hotspots; stroll in a quiet park; choose a calm setting.”
Until then, there’s a contest on called the “All-Time Super Bowl Team” in which each week leading up to XLVIII you are invited to vote for football’s best by position. From what’s being heard around the league, sounds like the best player isn’t on the field.
And, until then, and most certainly after XLVIII if we’re in it, in answer to the “Can You Hear Me Now Guy” sounding off:
‘I’m sorry. Say again?’