Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports
METAIRIE, La. ― Jermon Bushrod wasn’t active for the Saints the last time New Orleans played in Seattle.
But he remembers one aspect of that 2007 game as much as any other.
“Yeah,” Bushrod said. “It’s pretty loud for an outside stadium. Surprisingly loud.”
Qwest Field is home to the “12th Man” and Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock, the Saints (11-5) will have another shot at quieting the beast that is the Seattle fan base. That’s when the reigning Super Bowl champions kick off against the Seahawks (7-9) in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs.
Seattle plays up the fact that its home field is known for being one of the loudest in the league. And why not? Since 2005, opponents have been called for false start more times there than any other stadium.
The number is 104 and it’s 13 more than the next closest stadium.
“It’s loud,” said Saints fullback Heath Evans, who spent his first four years in the NFL in Seattle. “Excited fans. Good fans. They love their football in the Northwest.”
The Saints have 16 false start penalties this season, including six on Bushrod. But since the mid-point of the season, the Saints have had only six false starts called on them and they’ve been on the road in five of the past eight contests.
In 2005, in a home game against the Giants, Seattle’s loud environment helped induce New York into 11 false start penalties. The Seahawks won that game 24-21.
To combat the expected noise problems, New Orleans uses an artificial sound machine during indoor practices. As well, they’ve played in tough road environments, as well. The Saints won in Atlanta in Week 16, defeating the Falcons 17-14 in one of the toughest environments they’ve played in in recent memory.
"It’s everything we have practiced,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “Communication in the huddle and again at the line of scrimmage. You really have to know the plays and the looks just so you all are seeing the same thing. Not everything can be communicated through word of mouth. It’s just identifying those fronts and those looks and being on the same page.”