We've heard a lot about Decibacle, the Falcons' fake crowd noise drama, because we follow the Falcons closely. NFC South opponents revel in the news that the Falcons cheated by allegedly pumping crowd noise into the Georgia Dome during opponents' possessions in 2013 and 2014. But beyond that microcosm of NFL fans, people are pretty disinterested in this situation, particularly compared to the Deflategate scandal.
WBUR, Boston's National Public Radio station, recently featured a segment on their sports program Only a Game on why nobody seems to care much that the Falcons cheated. It's not surprising that a Boston-based program would address this situation head on, considering the ongoing uproar regarding the Patriots and Deflategate.
Only a Game host Bill Littlefield spoke with NFL analyst Ross Tucker regarding a piece Tucker wrote for the Sports on Earth website about the Falcons' fake noise fandango. In the piece, Tucker was critical of the lack of rage the general football-watching public seems to feel toward the Falcons over this situation, especially in comparison to Deflategate.
Tucker, a former offensive lineman, spent several seasons in the NFL, and it's that experience that fuels his outrage about the competitive advantage gained by fake crowd noise, and he was surprised that people were much less interested in the fake noise situation in Atlanta as compared to Deflategate, so Tucker tweeted this.
Falcons owner admits to cheating yesterday & nobody cares. Can you imagine if it were the Patriots?— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) February 4, 2015
The sentiment of the responses he received to that tweet indicated that Decibacle is much less of a concern than Deflategate because, and it's difficult to put this gently, the Falcons were not good during the time period that these infractions were taking place. It's difficult to argue that a significant competitive advantage had been gained when the team won a grand total of 10 games over two seasons.
The other reason people seemed to believe that Decibacle wasn't as big of an issue as Deflategate is that Arthur Blank admitted it occurred and took responsibility on behalf of the organization. There's no reason for the media and fans to continue to demand answers and debate whether or not the allegations are legitimate when the team has acknowledged their transgressions.
Rules are rules, and if the Falcons supplemented the sound in the Georgia Dome with fake crowd noise, they cheated. Is it a stupid rule? Yes. It's loud in stadiums. It's part of the game. Ross Tucker even suggested in another piece he wrote for Sports on Earth that architects should design new stadiums to naturally amplify existing crowd noise, achieving the same effect without the impropriety. But the Falcons were aware of the rules and they chose to break them. They have earned whatever punishment the league decides to apply.
But should everyone be outraged about it? Probably not. Blank's statement on the subject suggests not only that the team takes responsibility or their actions, but that this sort of thing won't happen within the Falcons' organization again. Had the Falcons finished either of the last two seasons with a reasonable number of wins, more outrage would be justified.
Where do you fall on the Decibacle outrage spectrum?