Most observers would agree that Lucas Oil Stadium trumps the RCA Dome in every category—except perhaps one.
The hardcore Indianapolis Colts fans have complained since LOS opened in 2008, that it is not as loud inside LOS on game days as it was in the old Dome.
One Colts staffer—someone few fans have ever heard of—came up with a smart idea to bring the ruckus back to the Horseshoe Kingdom on Sunday.
There are several reasons, I've been told, why it’s not as loud inside LOS as it was at the RCA Dome. LOS has more suites and club seats than did the RCA Dome, which was demolished to make room for the Indiana Convention Center expansion. Many of those club seats too are front and center. That configuration means two things.
Joe and Sally Sixpack have been pushed farther from the field to make room for Joe and Sally CEO at Lucas Oil Stadium. It seems the corporate types don’t seem to scream as much and as loud as the average fan. The posh field level suites probably haven’t helped either.
There are also more “soft” surfaces in Lucas Oil Stadium than there were in the RCA Dome. Hard surfaces are good for foot stomping and pounding. Those soft surfaces tend to absorb the sound as opposed to the vast quantity of concrete and other hard surfaces which made the Dome an echo making and amplification machine.
The Colts staff had tried everything to ratchet up the noise at Lucas Oil Stadium. The more noise local fans make, the more difficult it is for the visiting team (especially on offense) to communicate with one another. And that often leads to all sorts of chaos for the visiting team.
Some have argued that the Colts lost part of their home field edge moving from the Dome to LOS.
But on Sunday, that all changed. Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward, who has been with the team since its Baltimore days, said Sunday was the loudest game he could recall in a long time. Many in attendance agreed. Even reporters in the press box high above the field noticed the noise. And the press box sits behind a thick (at times almost sound-proof) glass barrier.
Colts production staffer Derek Wolfe came up with a brilliant idea that transformed LOS into what the RCA Dome once was—one of the loudest NFL venues. The excitement produced by the Colts come-from-behind victory over Seattle on Sunday didn’t hurt either.
But the crowd noise definitely went up a few notches when Colts staffers sounded off a siren so loud that it sent many in the press room running for cover. Ward said Wolfe had theorized that not only would the siren make a loud noise itself, but that it would supercharge the Colts' fan base. Wolfe proved to be right.
“It was the first time we’ve used [the siren],” Ward explained. “And we’ve tried just about everything!”
The late fourth quarter action, fueled by the blasting siren, took the noise level to heights not seen at a Colts game in six years.
“Our 12th man was pumped from the beginning yesterday,” Ward said, “and that final defensive stand was the loudest I have heard it [inside Lucas Oil Stadium].”