The topic of crowd noise doesn't belong only on the NFL's agenda.
Ask Lou Holtz about noisy crowds and stand back. The Notre Dame football coach will supply an earful of comments.Crowd noise is a bugaboo for Notre Dame, especially when the Irish play Michigan. Top-ranked Notre Dame, 1-0, meets the No. 2 Wolverines on Saturday to open Michigan's season, and 105,000 screaming fans will be packed into Michigan Stadium.
The din they create washes out even the strongest-voiced quarterback. Maybe Holtz figures grousing about it makes less sense than trying to shout down the ocean.
"There are a lot of things you can't say," Holtz said Tuesday, but that didn't stop him from saying them.
"We went up there two years ago in front of 105,000 people," he said, recalling Notre Dame's 1987 victory at Michigan. "We were down deep in their territory, and the crowd was screaming and we couldn't hear. So they penalized us for delay of game.
"They came down here last year, and we got charged with a timeout because they can't hear their cadence," Holtz said. "Now, I didn't realize our 60,000 people made that much noise, compared to 105,000. So don't ask me about crowd noise. I can never quite figure that situation out.
"It seems like nobody has problems at Michigan," Holtz added, tongue wedged in cheek. "But Bo has problems at Iowa, he has problems at Ohio State, he has problems at Notre Dame. But nobody else has problems.
"That's all in the judgment of an official," Holtz said. "It doesn't have a thing to do with coaching."
Holtz has no sympathy for a new NFL rule, now modified, which punishes the home team when their fans disrupt the opposition's play-calling. If the offensive team can't hear the audibles, Holtz said, simply let the team return to the huddle, where the revised play can be called, and then return to the scrimmage line and run it.
"I don't see where that's real complicated," Holtz said. "The center can hear the quarterback and feel his hands. Everybody else can look at the ball and get moving. So I don't think it's a big deal."