Sean McVay ‘closely monitoring’ NFL rules on crowd noise

After the Rams’ first scrimmage at SoFi Stadium, Sean McVay couldn’t get the artificial crowd noise out of his head. It got to the point where the usually level-headed coach “was ready to lose [his] mind.”

Pumped-in crowd noise will become the norm across the NFL this season with all teams either limiting capacity in their stadiums or banning fans altogether to start the year. But for McVay, it has to be realistic.

“That’s not how crowds are. They don’t just consistently sustain that noise,” he said last week.

The main purpose is to make the game feel more normal to players and coaches with no fans in the stands, rather than playing in almost dead-silence. Another benefit of artificial crowd noise is to drown out what’s being said on each sideline.

That’s something McVay is well aware of, and it’s what he’ll be monitoring as the NFL decides how to handle noise inside each stadium.

“I think part of the reason is why they want to have some of that noise, if you will, is to eliminate the ability to hear all that type of stuff,” he said Thursday. “Obviously, kind of what we’ve seen in some of those NBA games, I would envision that they will filter in some noise so that it feels like when you’re watching it, what a normal game would feel (like). I think they’ve done a great job in those NBA broadcasts I’ve watched of doing that. I would imagine that’s in alignment with what the NFL’s thinking.”

The NBA is playing in a bubble in Orlando, in an environment controlled by the league, not the teams themselves. The NFL will be playing games all around the country with one team getting a home-field advantage in each contest.

Will the home team be in charge of crowd noise? Will the audio controller be able to crank the volume to extreme levels while the opponent is on offense? It would seem unfair if that were the case, which is why McVay wants to know how the league will handle it.

“It really depends on what that decibel level is that they allow,” McVay said. “Whatever it is, it’s going to be consistent across all the league. It’s just a matter of if it’s consistent whether you’re on offense, on defense. Do you have the ability to crank it down a little bit when you’re at home on offense and crank it up when you’re on defense? So, those are things that we’re closely monitoring, if you will. I’ve had some good conversations with a lot of people at the league office and then obviously got some coaches on the competition committee. They’re working through that. Whatever it is, it’s going to be consistent. So, I could tell you once I know exactly what those parameters are.”

The Rams, like many other teams, will play in a domed stadium where crowd noise is much more prevalent than an outdoor venue like Lambeau Field. But as McVay said, the NFL will make the rule consistent for all teams, so as not to give home teams a significant advantage when playing at their own stadium.

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