Fooch's Note: Given that the World Cup is going on (I'm listening to these things right now as Portugal and the Ivory Coast are battling), I think this is an interesting topic to discuss. Particularly in light of stadiums doing what they can to enclose more noise.
Wikipedia defines the vuvuzela ( /vuːvuːˈzeɪlə/) as "a blowing horn up to approximately 1 m (3 ft 3 in) in length. It is commonly blown by fans at football (aka. Soccer) matches in South Africa." For those of you that aren't watching the World Cup right now, they are a constant back drop to the games. You can barely hear the announcers, and I know of some people that are muting their TVs during the game so they don't have to listen to it.
Players are complaining they are unable to hear their team mates, and some fans are complaining that they just plain can't hear. Soccer purists complain that there isn't the tradition chanting, singing, and roaring that is normally heard at games. However on the flip side there isn't as much cursing and verbal abuse either. Right now the soccer gods are looking to ban the vuvuzela for the rest of the tournament.
Noise levels at the stadiums have reached 144 decibels, equivalent to the sound made by a passenger jet. I have also looked at some sound levels at football stadiums. The loudest college stadium is ‘Tiger Stadium' LSU, which has reached 130 decibels. In fact if you google ‘Earthquake Game' there was one time when fans were cheering so loud it registered on the Richter Scale. Arrowhead Stadium has reached 116 decibels.
But here is how it plays into the 49ers. Qwest field was designed to be loud. How loud you ask? Well in 2005 there were 95-false start penalties, which was the most in the NFL. In fact you read about teams getting ready for games there, not only is there crowd noise being played during warm-ups, but teams also practice with ear plugs in... so they definitely can't hear. According to Popular Mechanics Qwest Field has reached 135 decibels.
So should the Vuvuzelas be banned from soccer games? Or should players just suck it up and consider it ‘atmosphere'? Should fans at Qwest Field be told to stop cheering? What do you think?