“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.“'
The guy was right. That much was apparent at the start of the broadcast, when Tafoya interviewed Carroll — remember, the game hadn't even begun — and didn't dare stand anywhere but uncomfortably close.
Uncomfortable might be the right word to describe the 49ers as well, at least in the early going, when they had to burn timeouts as relatively inexperienced quarterback Colin Kaepernick was having trouble getting the play calls from his sideline. Right about then, he probably wished the 49ers had devoted more time to mastering their silent snap counts.
“The crowd's explosive, it really is,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “They love us so much, and it brings so much energy to our football team. They keep us in the game, obviously, and they keep us alert.”
Experts have been arguing over the worth of home-field advantage for decades. Most concluded that in those places where it's statistically significant, it's usually because of a number of factors and not just one, such as noise. Since CenturyLink opened up in 2002, Seattle is 58-29 at home, a 67 percent winning clip that ranks the Seahawks sixth in the NFL over that span. That's a far cry from New England's league-best 72-15 record (83 percent).
But the Seahawks haven't had Tom Brady at quarterback, and their road record is dismal enough (33-55) that the boost the fans at CenturyLink have provided might be best measured by their last four playoff appearances. If that's not exact enough, try this: After a 2001 earthquake shook a viaduct that runs along the water and near the stadium, the University of Washington set up a lab to track future “seismic events.” One of them actually occurred during Marshawn Lynch's thundering, winning, 67-yard touchdown run in a memorable upset of the then-defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Jan. 9, 2011.
Yet while we know how Seattle fans make so much noise, why remains the subject of much speculation. Gaudelli, like a lot of people, blames coffee. But I'm going with a theory advanced Sunday night by announcer Al Michaels, who suggested the locals roar nonstop because showcase games gives them a rare chance to remind the rest of the country they're there.
“For media people on the East Coast,” he said half in jest, “Seattle might as well be Bulgaria.”