Joe Tafoya, the CEO of Jump It Media, remembers precisely the moment the idea popped in his head to have Guinness World Records on hand to gauge the decibel level at the Seattle Seahawks' CenturyLink Field. It was 3 a.m., this past July when it hit him. "I thought we should try that," said Tafoya, whose marketing company had been approached by the Seahawks' fan group Volume12 to promote the brand. "So randomly at 3 in the morning I just filed the application with Guinness and they accepted it. "So the 3 in the morning idea a few weeks later turned into something pretty big." And pretty loud, too. The 68,338 fans that packed into CenturyLink Field set the world record Sept. 15 for noise at an outdoor sports stadium at 136.6 decibels, propelling the Seahawks to a rousing 29-3 home-opening win over NFC West rival San Francisco. The previous record was 131.76, set at a Turkish soccer club game March 8, 2011, and the loudest CenturyLink had ever been before was 112 decibels. The feat garnered 1,800 articles and 3.4 million mentions on social media. It also spurned the Kansas City Chiefs' fans to outdo Seattle. A month later, the fans at Arrowhead Stadium took it up another notch or two, pushing the new record to 137.5 decibels in the closing moments of the Chiefs' 24-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs wanted the record so badly they paid $7,500 to fly in a Guinness World Records adjudicator make the feat official, according to ESPN. "So it turned into a big story, and the Kansas City Chiefs fans were not happy about it," Tafoya said as he laughed. "So they filed an application and they went and broke our record a month later. The bastards." 'Loud, loud, loud all of the time' Crowd noise has long been an advantage for many home teams around the NFL and that has never been more evident than at CenturyLink, Arrowhead and the Saints' Mercedes-Benz Superdome. These three teams have decided home-field advantages each week and a lot of that has to do with the extreme noise levels their fan bases produce. New Orleans (9-2) is set to venture into CenturyLink Field to take on the Seahawks (10-1) in a pivotal NFC matchup on "Monday Night Football." And it is a safe bet the open-air stadium will be rocking as the 12th Man and Volume12 look to give their team a decided advantage while they pursue the world record again. "It is a factor. It is real. It is a real factor obviously," Seahawks second-year quarterback Russell Wilson, who has never lost an NFL home game, said of the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field. "New Orleans is one of those other places that is really loud like that, too. But there is no place like home. "Playing here is a special moment. It is one of those things that is a once in a lifetime thing; you have to make sure you go to CenturyLink and watch a game. It really is something special." Saints linebacker David Hawthorne certainly agrees and has tried this week to prepare his teammates for what they can expect in the Pacific Northwest. Hawthorne played for the Seahawks from 2008-11, so he knows firsthand what the noise level at CenturyLink is like and how it affects opponents. "It'll be a crazy atmosphere," he said. "I've talked to a bunch of the fellas about kind of how it is. Big game, Monday night, it will be rowdy. "But we get hyped on that kind of stuff. We're used to being out here where our crowd is crazy and teams having to deal with that. We'll handle it well." To prepare for one of the NFL's most hostile environments, Saints coach Sean Payton had his team work out this week with a noise machine. But there are certain things that can't be simulated, and noise that approaches the decibel level of a jet engine at 100 feet (140.0) is one of them.
Record-setting decibel levels give Seahawks home-field advantage Saints know all too well
New Orleans Times-Picayune | Nov 30