In its continued attempt to enhance the stadium experience for its fans, the NFL is easing up on rules of allowing home teams to exhort the crowd for more noise.
According to the Associated Press, during the upcoming season NFL teams will be allowed to use video prompts to encourage fan noise at any time throughout the game. In addition, the scoreboard can play audio prompts until 20 seconds remain on the play clock (down from 30 seconds).
These alterations are part of the NFL's larger campaign to encourage fans to head to the stadium. The league recently announced that it will be increasing the number of in-game replays displayed on the video board as well as encouraging organizations to show footage from cameras positioned in the teams' locker rooms.
While fans may like the idea of more noise at the games, one former player and coach has come out strongly in opposition. Mike Ditka, who won three Super Bowls as a coach and player, railed against the NFL's decision in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.
"It’s stupid," Ditka said. "The NFL ... who are they appealing to? It would be like the owners working at their desk, and all of a sudden they encourage people to come in their office and make a lot of noise. It doesn't make sense. The key to football is you want to be able to see it executed properly. You want to hear the snap count. You want to see these guys use their talents where they're not tainted. Sometimes when you have crowd noise, you're not seeing the player at his best."