Vis­i­tors en­counter a wall of noise

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Seat­tle rookie QB Rus­sell Wil­son had to cope with noise.

ford and has been tor­ment­ing Seahawks coach Pete Car­roll ever since.

Fi­nally, throw in that early, un­ex­pected lead and — voila! — a near-per­fect sound storm.

“Ob­vi­ously, they were jacked up last night,” said Fred Gaudelli, the in­no­va­tive pro­ducer of “Sun­day Night Foot­ball” on NBC. “But in my mind, it’s one of the un­der­rated sports towns in Amer­ica. Ac­tu­ally, the spe­cial chal­lenge there is al­ways to con­vey how loud it ac­tu­ally is.

“We knew that go­ing in, plus we knew the 49ers were the team their fans hate the most. So at Wed­nes­day’s reg­u­lar ‘brain­storm­ing ses­sion,’ we turn to our head au­dio en­gi­neer and said, ‘How do we make view­ers un­der­stand you can’t hear the per­son next to you most of the time, even if he’s yelling?’ We wanted to be ready.”

Gaudelli knows what can hap­pen to a team that ven­tures into Seat­tle with­out pre­par­ing for the wall of noise.

In 2005, the vis­it­ing New York Giants col­lected 11 false-start penal­ties in a sin­gle game there. The Carolina Pan­thers once prac­ticed for a game there by drag­ging loud­speak­ers down to the prac­tice field and sim­u­lat­ing the sound of a jet en­gine. If that sounds over the top, it is, by about 18 deci­bels. Jets are rou­tinely mea­sured at around 130, Cen­tury Link’s best is only 112.

Gaudelli and his crew hatched a plan to demon­strate that by hav­ing side­line re­porter Michelle Tafoya speak into a mi­cro­phone as the sound re­ver­ber­ated, then take a step back and try again. When they ran through it be­fore the game, he had a sta­dium staffer sim­u­late the crowd noise over the PA sys­tem. At the point Tafoya’s words were drowned out the sys­tem was cranked to 50 per­cent of vol­ume.

“So I asked the guy, is it really go­ing to be that loud? He looked at me,” Gaudelli chuck­led into the phone, “and said, ‘Dou­ble it.’ ”

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