For N.F.L., Crowd Noise Is a Headache

From an article of the same title by John Branch in the NY Times:

The league has long had an uneasy relationship with crowd noise, and may soon embark on its latest quest to overcome it — not by hushing fans, but by allowing visiting players the benefit of a helmet-to-helmet wireless communication system...

With no reasonable way to curb enthusiasm without appearing stodgy, Roger Goodell, the new N.F.L. commissioner, is floating another idea: placing microphones in quarterbacks' helmets and speakers in the helmets of other offensive players, so that play calls and snap counts can be heard despite the din. Quarterbacks now have earpieces that allow them to hear coaches, but the transmission is cut with 15 seconds left on the play clock.

Goodell said he believed that noise should lift a defense, not interrupt an offense. He said he did not want to hush the crowd, just limit its impact.

"That's what our game is about: our athletes and coaches playing at the highest possible level and being able to execute their game plans," Goodell said Sept. 6, during his first news conference after succeeding Paul Tagliabue.

"To some extent right now, I think we are hindering that a little bit, because they come into an opposing stadium and they are not able to put the full offense in, they are not able to run plays in, they are not able to change the plays at the line of scrimmage."