"I'd look back to Lofa Tatupu for the defensive call because I couldn't hear what he was saying even though he was a couple feet away from me," Tafoya recalled. "It's so loud your ear pads start to rattle. It's fun, there's a lot of electricity on the field when that happens."
When the Seahawks host San Francisco in their home opener this fall, Tafoya will be part of an effort to prove what he and many players and fans have long suspected -- that Seahawks fans are the loudest in the NFL. Actually, they want to be the loudest in the world.
Tafoya, who owns Jump It Media, a Kirkland-based marketing company, was hired by Volume 12, a fan group that was looking for help with its marketing and social media. While doing some research, Tafoya stumbled across an article about a soccer crowd in Turkey that was listed as the loudest in the world by the Guinness Book of World records.
In the 2011 record-setting game in Istanbul between rivals Galatasary and Fenerbahce, crowd noises were recorded at 131.76 decibels by Guinness officials. Tafoya and Volume 12 believe Seahawks fans can be louder, so they filled out an application with Guinness and after a couple of weeks the application was approved. On Sept. 15, Seahawks fans will have three attempts to record the "loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium."
"People ask, 'Can we break it?'" Tafoya said. "My answer to that is, 'we're going to find out.'"
According to Seahawks.com, the 12th Man produces noise levels of 112 decibels. (It's completely coincidental that the number is 112, and not 111 or 113, right?) If that's accurate, the fans who once produced a seismic reading during a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run will have to turn it up even louder to break the record.
The fact that the Sept. 15 game against the 49ers is a 5:30 kickoff for Sunday Night Football should give fans a few extra hours to get properly, um, hydrated in order to be at their loudest.
Tafoya said there are a couple of reasons behind the record attempt. For starters, he's doing his job, and it's working. Volume 12's name has been all over the local and national media -- Tafoya will appear on the NFL Network Thursday morning. However, the recent run of bad news in the NFL also inspired Tafoya to come up with something positive. Yes, trying to break a record for a "crowd roar" might sound a little gimmicky, but is that so bad if it briefly distracts people from news of a star player being charged with murder, or of multiple Broncos executives facing DUI charges?
"I thought, it'd be great if the Seahawks owned this, because the 12th Man is really proud and it's something that'd be really cool for the fans," said Tafoya, who met his wife while playing for the Seahawks and settled in the area after his career. "... And there is so much negative stuff going on the NFL right now, so it'd be cool to draw some positive attention to the upcoming season. It's one of those things that can generate positive press and get fans excited for the upcoming season."
It's no secret that CenutryLink Field and the fans who fill it are extremely loud. This fall the 12th Man will try to be certified as world-record loud.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you hear me now?
Seahawks fans hope to land in the Guinness Book of World Records by producing noise in excess of 131.76 decibels. So just how loud is that? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, decibel levels over 85 may cause hearing loss. These are examples provided by the CDC of how common sounds rate on the decibel meter:
Normal conversation—60 dB
Power lawn mower—90 dB
Chain saw—110 dB
Ambulance siren—120 dB
Jet engine at takeoff—140 dB
Rocket launch—180 dB