Popular Mechanics is an American magazine devoted to science and technology. It’s also the latest source to recognize Qwest Field as the loudest in the National Football League. This type of recognition is nothing new for the home of the Hawks; it is consistently considered one of the toughest places to play for visiting opponents.
The NFL Network considers Qwest Field to be the ninth best home-field advantage of all time.
AskMen.com calls Qwest Field “arguably the loudest stadium in the NFL” and ranks it number one on a list of the most intimidating stadiums in professional sports.
John Clayton of ESPN.com, citing eleven false-start penalties committed by a visiting New York Giants team, refers to Qwest Field as “one of the loudest stadiums in the league.”
John Branch of the New York Times wrote an article a few years back about Roger Goodell’s preference to limit noise impact during games and specifically mentioned the 12th Man as a primary culprit.
Sports Illustrated considers Qwest the seventh-best stadium in the NFL – a ranking that would be much higher if it weren’t for a lack of tailgating. A city ordinance prevents such pregame festivities, and regularly keeps Qwest from the top of several ranked lists.
Anyone who denies the overwhelming home-field advantage in Seattle is either biased, unaware, or inept. Despite two years of pathetic football, Seattle Seahawks fans still continue to sellout home games.
Here is what Popular Mechanics said about Qwest Field back on February 5, 2010:
On a sunny Sunday morning in March 2000, a 120-decibel implosion took down Seattle’s Kingdome. The Seahawks’ former home was always known for thunderous noise, with the team’s raucous fans creating a deafening home-field advantage, but the deteriorating dome was no longer fit for the NFL. In order to recreate the atmosphere the Kingdome’s acoustics created, the Seahawks designed a stadium that would optimally harness the volume of their boisterous fans.
Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen grew up in the Northwest attending University of Washington football games with his dad, who was a librarian at the school. Husky Stadium is notorious for crowd noise, so Allen wanted to replicate that atmosphere with an open-air venue for his team that was loud like the Kingdome, says Jon Niemuth, principal and design director for Qwest Field’s architect AECOM Ellerbe Becket.
The architect fulfilled Allen’s request, creating one of the league’s loudest stadiums, which can get nearly as noisy as a jet plane—135 decibels—and has disrupted visiting teams enough to induce 95 false-start penalties since 2005, the most in the NFL. Contributing greatly to the cacophony is the partial roof that covers 70 percent of the fans from the elements and reflects sound back to the field. Also, with the smallest footprint in the NFL, Qwest Field has a tight seating arrangement that puts fans really close to the field and concentrates their noise.
And while the deafening environment in Qwest can in part be attributed to its design, Niemuth is quick to point out that his firm “can’t create fans to be loud and rabid and crazy the way [Seahawks] fans are.”
Just more recognition for the best stadium in the NFL (biased opinion, of course).