Beyond The Mic: Comparing Noise Levels Of Loudest Saints Games
I've been fortunate enough to be at the loudest New Orleans Saints games in history.
When "Hakim dropped the ball!" in the first playoff win, to Gleason's block at Domecoming, to when Hartley's kick made "hell freeze over" to send the Saints to Super Bowl XLIV, to yesterday, when Cam Newton was sacked and New Orleans won their 5th home playoff game in team history, my ears have needed a few days of rehab.
Many Saints fans have strong opinions on what they think the loudest moment in Superdome history is, and they don't always agree.
Here is mine.
I sit in section 121. My family has had season tickets as long as I can remember. I attended yesterday's game with my Mom. The seats are about 8 rows up from the field, opposite Poydras Street, on the visiting team sideline.
When Gleason blocked the punt, we were sitting in the stands just above the end zone where Curtis Deloatch scooped up the ball for a touchdown.
The noise level had all the Saints fans in attendance screaming in that specific section of the Superdome as the play unfolded, before jumping and shouting with one another in jubilation.
My perspective of the loudest games in Superdome history come from a seat and section where all the energetic noise was being directed.
I've also attended games as a member of the media. The noise level at the top (or middle, where press row used to be) of the Dome doesn't measure up to the noise level in the lower bowl and down on the field.
There's two types of deafening noises a football fan makes during a home game.
The first, a euphoric squawk of joy when the team does something incredible.
The other, a constant, clangorous shout to help create noise that support the team's defense.
Yesterday wasn't the loudest game I've heard in the Dome, but it was the most consistent clangorous screaming for 4 quarters of any game I've had the pleasure of attending in the stands. My right ear is still ringing as I type this sentence.
When Hakim dropped the ball and the Saints procured their first playoff win, I'd never heard the Dome louder. Fans in front of me ripped their seats off the chair back and said they were bringing it home. I'm not sure if their vandalism went undetected by Superdome personnel, or if Dome security just didn't care because New Orleans had finally won a playoff game.
Just moments prior, you could hear a pin drop as the Rams threatened to come back and erase a large Saints lead. The emotion in that moment was also full of relief.
Gleason's block created a noise that surpassed the first postseason win. It meant more than football. Screams. Tears. Hugs. Kisses. My ears hurt and I didn't even realize it until the next day. It was rebirth.
It's difficult for the euphoric squawk of joy to be louder than the clangorous shout for a defense, because you're not actively trying to be as loud as you can be. It's all animal instinct. How your happiness as a sports fan is released varies from person to person.
Having said that, Gleason's block is the loudest I've ever heard the Dome.
Hartley's kick was a close second, and yesterday's crowd on the 4th down stop to seal the game is up there with the best. But, Gleason's block takes the top spot on noise level in section 121.