Payton says noise level still gives Saints an edge
It would have been quieter to stand in a steel mill or ride in the cockpit of a race car than to be in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at its loudest point on Sunday night.
But for all its force, the din fell a few decibels short of breaking the Guinness record for loudest crowd roar at an indoor sports stadium.
The noisiest it got in the Superdome during the Saints’ 31-13 dismantling of the Carolina Panthers was 122.6 decibels, said Jamie Panas, a spokeswoman for Guinness World Records. That’s under the record 126 decibels registered at a Sacramento Kings basketball game Nov. 15.
According to Purdue University’s department of chemistry, 122.6 decibels is equivalent to the noise made by a thunderclap, a chain saw or an oxygen torch. Sounds that register above 120 decibels are “painful” — at 150, they rupture eardrums, the department’s website says.
Nevertheless, the Saints wanted to take a shot at registering the most ear-splitting roar in an indoor stadium after Seattle set the world record for an outdoor venue at 137.6 decibels during the Seahawks’ 34-7 win over New Orleans on Dec. 2.
To encourage the rambunctious crowd at the Dome on Sunday, the Saints distributed 75,000 rally towels and used the scoreboards to urge fans to yell during key intervals in the game.
Even though the crowd failed to claim the noise record, Coach Sean Payton said the screams gave the Saints an even bigger home-field advantage than usual.
“Look, it’s that point in the season — these games are important, so any edge we can get,” Payton said. “And I thought (fans) gave us that. ... It (was) a great atmosphere.”
Saints safety Roman Harper added, “The crowd was into it early, and that’s always a big key for us, especially at home. We had to take advantage of that crowd noise.”
Indeed, they did. Five times, New Orleans sacked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton on third down, and Drew Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns while completing 30-of-42 passes to help the Saints take a one-game lead over Carolina in the NFC South.