How feared has the beer-lubed, full-throated scream of the 12th Man become? There was evidence of it yesterday where in Denver the Broncos and Peyton Manning - preparing for Saturday’s showdown with the Seahawks at Century Link Field - pumped in the crowd noise during the team’s final practice of training camp. As numerous (poorly worded) signs posted outside the Broncos’ training facility promised (see photo), it was “extremely loud,” and all in the name of getting ready to face one of the rowdiest crowds in the NFL - even if it’s only the second game of the preseason.
Here comes the full-disclosure part: Yes, I was at Denver Broncos practice yesterday, on vacation taking in the Mile High City’s 80-degree weather and beloved football team. I’m not a Seahawks fan. Never have been. But I couldn’t help but take note of the measures my Broncos were going to in preparation for the 12th Man. It spoke volumes, you might say.
For those wondering, even with the deafening roar of can crowd noise making on-field communication next to impossible, Manning and the Broncos operated fairly smoothly, aside from one forced time out near the goal line that was followed up by a Champ Bailey interception. Having long ago mastered the art of goofy pre-snap hand signals and communicative arm flapping, Manning should be able to handle the crowd tomorrow. The real question is are his teammates as ready? For this reason, practicing with the noise made sense.
In that spirit, perhaps the 12th Man should use tomorrow night’s game as an opportunity to practice its roar. There are world records to set, after all.