The Super Bowl typically attracts more rich yuppies and people who want to be seen than it does rabid football fans. Not many people can afford the thousands of dollars it costs to attend the game, although it certainly felt like the Seattle Seahawks’ 12th Man found a way on Sunday night. Wes Welker said the Denver Broncos were not adequately prepared for that.
Crowd noise almost certainly was the main reason the Broncos allowed a safety on their first offensive play of the game. Peyton Manning admitted that after the game, and Welker echoed his thoughts.
“That’s the way the start of any Super Bowl is: It’s going to be loud,” Welker said, according to Greg A. Bedard of the Monday Morning Quarterback. “The fans are going to be yelling. They don’t really know why they’re yelling — it’s just the start of the Super Bowl. We didn’t prepare very well for that, and it showed.”
In this case, the fans did know why they were yelling. They were Seahawks fans, and they realized that enough noise could rattle Manning in New York the same way it would in Seattle. The game was easily the loudest Super Bowl I have ever watched, and it wasn’t even close.
Since the game was played at a neutral site, Broncos head coach John Fox did not expect crowd noise to be a factor. Last Wednesday during practice, Fox chose to keep the simulated crowd noise at a lower volume than normal.
“Normally, it’s about five times louder than that,” Fox said at the time. “It’s not an away game. The ones I’ve been to haven’t been too loud. So we just kind of practice with what we think we’re going to get.”
They thought wrong. What Denver got was basically an away game, and it clearly had an effect on Manning’s rhythm. It was only fitting that the 12th Man was more prepared than the opposition for one last game of a championship season.