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Old 12-17-2005, 11:46 PM   #1
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Exclamation Metrodome louder than Indy ?

The dome-field advantage that can be afforded to Minnesota's Twins, Vikings and Golden Gophers was put into unforgettable perspective during the latter stages of Game 6 of the 1987 World Series, when a decibel meter being employed by ABC-TV to chronicle volume in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome broke amid the din.
And the Steelers thought the RCA Dome in Indianapolis was loud.

"It's louder than Indy, without a doubt," Steelers safety and former Vikings defensive back Tyrone Carter said of the indoor venue in which the Steelers will get an earful this afternoon.

"It's real loud, man, real loud."

And there's precious little the visitors can do about it except make the best of a potentially deafening situation.

"It's cold-weather football right now," Steelers linebacker Joey Porter observed. "If you can sneak one inside, it doesn't bother me. I don't mind coming inside and playing in 70 degrees instead of 20."

Of course, crowd noise will be much less of a concern for Porter and the Steelers' defense than it will for offensive tackles Trai Essex and Max Starks, and an offense that might have to resort to silent snaps even on running plays today.

For Essex and Starks, hearing the snap count will be extremely difficult if not impossible. And for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, attempting to call an audible will prove to be adventurous if not disastrous.

Still, head coach Bill Cowher didn't anticipate making any "drastic" changes for the Steelers' second dome game of the season and second in four weeks.

Mostly, the Steelers are counting on playing better than they did Nov. 28 in Indianapolis, especially early, in an effort to give the Metrodome denizens much less to shout about.

"Just pay attention to detail and go out and play, that's it," guard Kendall Simmons said.

Simmons was as flummoxed as anyone in Indy, when the Steelers played their first dome game since 2002. He was whistled for false starts three times in five snaps during one sequence that spanned consecutive possessions late in the first quarter and early in the second.

It didn't help that Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor was beaten for an 80-yard touchdown reception by Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison on Indianapolis' first offensive snap, a quick strike that kept an already delirious crowd screaming.

For Simmons and the Steelers, the overall experience was painful but also educational.

"You knew it was going to be a dome game in Indy, but you didn't know it was going to be that loud," he said. "This is going to be the same, because they're on a winning streak.

"You know the crowd's going to be into it. We're going to have to throw some punches to take them out of it in the beginning."

The Colts were accused on a national radio show of artificially enhancing the cacophony in the wake of their 26-7 victory over the Steelers, a charge the Colts vehemently denied and the NFL declined to investigate.

The Washington Redskins were fined $20,000 in 2000 for using their PA system to pump up the volume in a game against Tampa Bay.

Vikings coach Mike Tice said Wednesday that all NFL teams had been put on notice regarding such practices.

"Everybody got a memo," he said. "Someone must be breaking the rules.

"I think we've been down that road in the past so we don't do that anymore, so it's not as loud as it used to be.

"Maybe this week they'll break the rules; I'm only kidding."

The Metrodome's seating capacity is listed at 64,121. The Vikings and Minnesota Golden Gophers began playing there in 1982 and the facility has hosted a Super Bowl and an NCAA Final Four as well as two World Series since, including the one in 1987 when Kirby Puckett and the Twins drove ABC's Noise-O-Meter into overload.

"If we can get in there and establish who we are right away, if you can get up on a team usually you can take the crowd out of it," Roethlisberger said. "The longer they stay around, the louder it's going to get. We expect on third down for it to be incredibly loud, maybe on first and second (down) not quite as loud.

"We know their team will be into it and their crowd will be into it."

Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is hoping the firsthand knowledge and experience gleaned in Indy will help the Steelers cope better than they did against the Colts.

"We improved as the game went on," Whisenhunt said. "Hopefully, this time it won't take as long to adjust, or maybe we won't be as shocked.

"At least we understand. You can try to say it's going to be loud, but once you've experienced how it is in that dome (in Indianapolis), certainly, it was a wake-up call, we hope. It really helps with preparation when you're practicing because now you have something you can draw from.

"Obviously, you don't have many options. We're working on a couple different things and trying to get a better feel for it. Hopefully, we'll be a little bit sharper when we play this time in the dome."

Whisenhunt and Tice cited Seattle's old Kingdome as the loudest NFL venues they're experienced.

"There's no question this place is very loud, too," Whisenhunt said. "I'd say it's going to be at least as loud as Indy. I don't know if it can be any louder, but it will be that loud."
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