Home field advantage: Thunder from Broncos fans

Home field advantage: Loud Broncos fans

DENVER — The Broncos are looking forward to home field advantage for the AFC Championship, but Fox31 Denver sought out to find how big that advantage really is.

When the San Diego Chargers came to Mile High on Sunday, the Bolts had some trouble on the field thanks to the thunder in the stands.

“It was big,” said Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas after the game. “The Chargers were calling timeouts. They really couldn’t hear because of the fans, so that’s real big for us.”

The crowd noise also sent quarterback Philip Rivers into fits when pre-snap confusion led to penalties.

But how big is Denver’s home crowd advantage?

In October of 2000, Broncos fans may remember setting the Guinness World record for loudest sustained roar at 128.74 decibels, but that was at the old Mile High Stadium. Since moving to the new stadium the volume and the record have fallen.

Two NFL teams battled for loudest stadium bragging rights this season. The fans at Arrowhead stadium reached a staggering 137.5 decibels.

A few weeks later the Seattle Seahawks broke that record … barely. CenturyLink Field reached 137.6 decibels.

The crowd grew so raucous during the record attempt that they shook the ground and caused a small earthquake.

Compared to that, you could say Sunday’s Broncos game was the equivalent of a small stampede.

Fox31 Denver measured crowd noise at various points in the game. Though the roar of the crowd was frequently above 100dB, the highest reading topped out at 106.8.

That volume is comparable to the sound of a chainsaw from just three feet away. However, it still doesn’t compare to some of the loudest stadiums.

“In your average NFL football game, you’ll have times where it goes almost up to 120dB, which is about as loud as a jet engine taking off,” said Dr. Cory Portnuff, an audiologist for the Marion Downs Hearing Center at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Even though Broncos fans were below that threshold, Portnuff says their cheers are more than effective.

“By the time that you’re up into the hundreds (of decibels), you only have a few minutes that you can safely listen,” Portnuff said. “A Broncos game can last upwards of three, maybe four hours.”

Dr. Portnuff says that’s why fans should consider using earplugs. Although, they could also just listen to their quarterback.

“I’m all for excitement but in a no-huddle offense, you know, the quieter the crowd can be, is helpful,” said Peyton Manning, following a game during his first season in Denver.

Broncos fans have followed that advice all season. Providing a quiet environment for a record-breaking offense.

“I think Broncos fans are pretty smart people,” Portnuff said. “Certainly having some periods of quieter time is going to be better for everybody.”

Experts say fans should bring earplugs on Sunday. The game is expected to be the loudest of the season, and Portnuff says the volume could easily surpass 120 decibels depending on where you sit.

Broncos fans shouldn’t be too worried about the new records. Portnuff says the major reason Denver doesn’t compete for records any more is because of the wide open stadium design.


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