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Well That Makes No Sense! The NFL Once Had A Rule About Crowd Noise (and actually enforced it)

Football Zebras - In 1989, the NFL tried to regulate crowd noise and give the visiting team a chance to call the offensive plays in a hostile atmosphere, by passing a crowd noise rule.

It was a flop.

The crowd noise rule

Found in Rule 4, it stated that if the home crowd made it difficult for the visiting team to call a play, the referee would stop the clock and:

  • Warn the crowd about excessive noise and ask the players on the field to encourage the crowd to tone it down.
  • If repeated, warn the crowd a second time and ask the players on the field to encourage the crowd to tone it down. The referee would also advise the crowd that further excessive noise would result in a charged timeout to the home team.
  • On a third violation, charge the home team with a timeout.
  • On subsequent excessive noise violations, charge the home team with a timeout.
  • If the home team was out of timeouts, penalize the home team for delay of game.

The officials took a hard line in the 1989 preseason, strictly enforcing the crowd noise rule. Referee Dick Jorgensen penalized the Indianapolis Colts for excessive crowd noise in a Sept. 2, 1989, pre-season game, and didn’t stop until the Colts received two delay of game penalties.

Can you imagine this shit? Seriously. Sometimes you read or see things and can't believe they were real. Like photos of smoking in restaurants, or kids driving in the front seat with no seatbelt, or a boatload of the other asinine things we did as a society over the years that eventually realized just how stupid they were. 

File this under that label. 

How on earth could the NFL ever justify trying to limit crowds from being noisy? Let's put 90k people in a stadium, let them tailgate all day, drink in the stadium and watch a game with massive swings of emotion but expect them not to cheer? Insane. So insane I can't believe it was ever real. 

Can you imagine trying to enforce that at a playoff game? Good Luck. Makes me think of Kevin Bacon in Animal House. 

Luckily the NFL came around and eliminated the rule but according to this website not until 2007!!!! 

Football Zebras - Enforcement of the rule waned, and finally in 2007, the NFL did away with the crowd noise rule. Today, with scripted plays, radio communication between coach and quarterback. and silent counts, visiting teams have learned to cope with the noise.

Amazing it lasted that long, thank God it's gone, but until then we'll always have these ridiculous clips to look back on. 


Can you imagine a QB doing this today? They'd be laughed out of the country.