Related topics

Listen up: The noise at Arrowhead is no joke

November 3, 1997

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Those jokes about Arrowhead Stadium being a haven for hearing aid salesmen might not be so funny after all.

The deafening noise generated by 78,000 Kansas City Chiefs fans may harm a lot more than the chances of the visiting team, says an audiologist who urged fans to take precautions Monday night.

``The sound level at Arrowhead Stadium nearing 120 decibels can be compared to a jet taking off, a nightclub or thunder. For an outdoor stadium, that is unbelievable,″ said Kevin Ruggle of the Audiology Center. ``I strongly recommend that if you take the kids, have them wear some hearing protection.″

The configurations of Arrowhead, a football-only facility opened in 1973, seem to better contain noise than other outdoor stadiums. As that became apparent in recent years during the Chiefs’ rise to prominence, fans began taking pride in disrupting opponents.

Players were urging fans to be at their loudest for Monday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were 17-7 winners in Arrowhead a year ago on a Monday night. Even some of the Chiefs’ new players were surprised this year at the Arrowhead din.

``After our first home game, my ears were ringing for about two days,″ said quarterback Elvis Grbac.

``I’d heard all the things about Arrowhead, but I had no idea how loud it really was,″ said tight end Ted Popson. ``The word is all around the league.″

Last time the Chiefs were home, a Thursday night against San Diego, linemen strained to hear quarterback signals as the Chargers drew nine procedure penalties and the Chiefs romped 31-3.

``It even got too loud for us,″ Chiefs guard Dave Szott said. ``A few times, I couldn’t hear our own quarterback.″

The Steelers are unbeaten in seven regular-season games in Kansas City entering Monday night. Nevertheless, their offense spent the week preparing to hear nothing at the line of scrimmage.

``We just look at the ball, that’s all you can do,″ said guard Tom Myslinski. ``You never know when (the center) is going to snap it so you can’t lose sight of the ball.″

But if only it were that simple.

``At the same time, you have to be watching the defensive tackle and all the movement,″ Myslinski said. You want to see who’s shifting, what linebackers are moving where. Plus you have to be making all the (blocking) calls because the center has his head between his legs. You really have to be careful, because a lot of things are happening at once.″

The silent snap does not work very well for everyone.

``It’s horrible for the tight ends,″ said Pittsburgh tight end Mark Bruener. ``We’re the farthest away from the ball of the players that have to hear the snap count. Receivers go off of what they see. The tight ends are left on an island sometimes. We don’t have much of a chance sometimes, but we still have to get it down.″

When opponents near the goal, Bruener said, the players can’t hear anything.

``You try to look out of the corner of your eye and hope the defense doesn’t try to draw you offside,″ he said. ``You try to get off on near the snap because usually if you’re late you can’t be effective and your offense can self-destruct if you don’t have sharp execution in those types of situations.″

Update hourly