The NFL is saying that as part of their effort to improve their game-day experience (i.e., spend lots of $ to watch it live rather than watch it for free at home), they are allowing teams to tell fans on their video boards that they need to get loud at certain times during the game.
I have a few thoughts on this.
One, I think it's pretty sad that fans need to be told when to be loud or when to be quiet; that goes for any sport and not just the NFL. Then again, when a stadium ends up being filled by corporate execs and their potential business partners, neither of whom have an emotional interest in the team or the game being played, then it's not surprising that they need a flashing video to catch their attention and tell them it's time to pay attention to the game on the field. I guess when the NFL says "make the game experience better" perhaps they mean "more bells and whistles for people who could care less about the game."
Another thing this will result in is that much more of a home advantage for dome teams. Perhaps last year was an anomaly, but it seemed like there was an inordinate amount of dome teams in last year's playoffs. That's not the result of any one single rule change in my opinion, but instead the cumulative effect of multiple rule changes and 'point of emphasis' instructions to referees. Receivers and quarterbacks have both been recepients of multiple rule changes in their favors over the last decade.
Who is behind this rule change and why? Well, the NFL's competition committee spearheads rule changes, and Bill Polian of the Colts is the most powerful force on that committee. Teams that would stand to gain the most are dome teams such as the Colts. Teams that would stand to gain the least are outdoor teams such as the Pats, especially in a stadium that as constructed does not retain sound very well in comparison to other stadiums.
It used to be that a team built for the playoffs needed a strong running game and a sound defensive line. Now instead it seems like a playoff team needs to build a dome and perhaps a good sound system.
League: Make some noise!
NFL to teams: Bring the noise - JSOnline