This blog started about two and a half years ago, just a few weeks prior to the start of the 2006 World Cup. Though some of y'all have teased me mercilessly about my love of soccer (aka "The Beautiful Game"), I won't back down from defending its awesomeness and I even occasionally cover it on RBR in the fanposts. Anyway, soccer fans are all about doing all they can to help create home field advantage. Noise, chants, visuals (tifo), etc. They're all about creating a raucous atmosphere that makes things difficult for opposing teams and they take it to levels that I haven't seen in other sports (which isn't always a good thing.)
I got to thinking about all of that because of Coach Saban's recent calls (NSFW YouTube) for the fans to step up and make a difference. He believes it makes a difference and so we, the fans, deliver. People attending in person and those watching on TV have claimed the last few games to be much louder than normal games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. I'd certainly say that's been the case in general since Saban's arrival at The Capstone and would go so far as to agree with the general assessment that the last few games have been really loud.
There were times under Shula and others where you would've thought you were at a PGA Tour event instead of a football game. BDS did not have a reputation for being particularly loud (and placed seventh in the SEC for home field advantage in this unscientific poll from a couple of years ago), but that's another part of Alabama football culture that Saban appears to be putting his stamp firmly on. He wants it loud and the fans are responding.
During the Auburn game, I noticed a few instances where Kodi Burns was having to yell in the ear of each individual lineman due to the din being raised by the fans. Auburn was really rushed to get the play off in time in those instances and it can't be easy to operate under that level of noise repeatedly, especially for an inexperienced QB. It's obviously difficult for a crowd to sustain that level of noise throughout the game, but it seems to be beneficial in the sense that it can visibly disrupt concentration and communication.
Some people though, dismiss the notion of home field advantage and say that great teams will win regardless of where they play and that crowds don't really have that much of an impact on the game. I can see it from both sides. I like the Romantic notion of me doing my part to lift the squad to victory. I do realize though, that Alabama won five games away from home because they're a damn fine football team and that no amount of black clothing or noise from opposing fans was going to stop them. If noise doesn't matter though, then why is trying to create it so important to Coach Saban? Believe me, I'm not one to question The Process™, I'm just bringing this up for debate. I give it 100% when I'm in the stands and am a firm believer, but I'm curious about what y'all think of it all.
Personally, I like the notion of BDS being a place where opposing teams don't want to play; not only because of the opposition they'll face on the field, but because of the noise. I'm obviously not talking about Ali Sami Yen level stuff (intense YouTube), but making a ton of noise and being behind the team with everything we have seems like a noble goal.
That leads to the change in poll question. Do you believe making noise impacts the outcome of the game?