So I was at this week's game in Indy, as well as the SNF against the Niners in Seattle. I thought I had the unique opportunity to compare "home field advantage" for both teams that boast a "12th Man".* For those who don't know, Indianapolis only recently inducted their 12th Man into the Colts' Ring of Honor in 2007.
*Was it rational to feel annoyed when the Colts' jumbotron displayed "Get LOUD 12th MAN!!!" on every 3rd down situation?
So with that, I just wanted to give some quick thoughts on my unbiased observations that I had for the two home crowds.
As we all know, Lucas Oil Stadium is an indoor field. The weather was very wet on Sunday,** so the retractable roof was closed. As a result, the crowd noise should have no where to go but stay inside the stadium. However, the volume in Indy pales in comparison to CenturyLink Field. It wasn't even close! The CLink is truly on another level. This really should be no surprise (136.6 dB), but it's just nice to verify with your own ears. It's probably something other teams' fans will never understand fully until they check out a Hawks game in Seattle.
**Most popular joke of the day told to Seahawks fans: "Hey Seattle, way to bring the rain with you!" It was a real zinger, and one that I heard more than a handful of times. Luckily didn't have to hear, "Need some more coffee to get that 10am fast start!"
Fans in Indy do not stand during the game. Only in crucial 3rd down situations were people on their feet. I witnessed a couple people get yelled out for standing during a 2nd down. You read that correctly: a Colts fan was yelling at another Colts fan for blocking their view. I just don't understand that.
I've been to plenty of Hawks away games, and experienced a number of interesting reactions to neon green. Wearing an opponent's jersey away from home is never positive. However, apart from the boos after KJ's injury, the Colts fans were mostly classy. It helped that Indy won the game, I suppose, but during the first half when Seattle was absolutely dominating statistically, there were no inflammatory remarks nor hotdogs thrown in my direction.*** Afterward, there was nothing but praise offered to me on our team's valiant efforts as I exited the Luc. Good natured? Yes. Slightly patronizing? Sure. Antagonizing in any way? Absolutely not.
***Unlike my experience at the Whitehurst:Browns game in '11.
In the end, it's games likes these that really make you appreciate what the real 12s have created in Jet City. Seattle boasts an incredible fan base that's willing to put their vocal chords on the line for any possible edge. I didn't learn anything novel by attending Sunday's game, I just got to reaffirm what I already knew. The 12th Man thrives in the Pacific Northwest and creates the best home field advantage this league has ever seen.