SEATTLE — The waiting, it turns out, was the hardest part for the Seahawks.
And not just a one-hour delay after lightning struck near CenturyLink Field forced officials to
Hawks fans break Guinness mark for loudest stadium
By MIKE LINDBLOM
of The Seattle Times
SEATTLE — The 12th Man already knew it. Now so will the Guinness Book of World Records.
Seahawks fans at CenturyLink Field proved they were the loudest in the world when they set the record for stadium noise Sunday night as Seattle defender Michael Bennett sacked San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick with 1:15 left in the first quarter, said Phil Robertson, a judge for Guinness.
The noise on that play was 131.9 decibels, passing the previous record of 131.76 by a soccer crowd in Istanbul.
It didn’t hold up for long. Midway through the third quarter, during a goal-line stand that stopped the 49ers, the noise reached 136.6 decibels, said Bill Stewart, the sound engineer and partner at SSA Acoustics in Seattle who did the measuring. Robertson said he could feel a clipboard vibrate in his hand.
And the measuring devices were at the south end zone — opposite from where the goal line stand was happening under the Hawks Nest. “At that end, it must have been incredible,” said Robertson.
Fans throughout the stadium knew the attempt was under way and many of them strained a vocal cord to break it, following an hourlong delay caused by a thunderstorm.
“I knew we could do it! We impact every defensive play,” said Shawn Burns of Marysville, a longtime season-ticket holder standing at the base of the Hawks Nest, over the north end zone.
Before the game, he stood on Third Avenue South, high-fiving fans as they walked toward the stadium.
Robertson, the Guinness judge, is more familiar with soccer, and said of the Hawks fans’ roar: “It’s a far louder, tribal kind of passion” and the sound is more continuous. “There’s passionate people in soccer, but here you see veins bulging out of necks.”
Stewart was stationed with his equipment on the field behind the south end zone. When Marshawn Lynch ran into the end zone in the third quarter, Stewart waved his hands up toward the crowd. Alas, the meter stayed in the 130s.
This sort of noise is slightly louder than a 747 taking off, fittingly for the Jet City.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard the sound louder than that. It was incredible,” said Hawks fan Lorin “Big Lo” Sandretzky. “Everybody’s so fired up about the record I think they’re forgetting about the game.”
He said the crowd seemed to come back with more energy after the storm delay, and it helped that the team entered the stadium and slapped hands with fans. “They were more fired up than at the start of the game.”
Fan noise contributed to a 49ers delay-of-game penalty in the first quarter.
Ushers and security staff wore earplugs, as did some fans.
Visiting fan Felix Katich, wearing a red 49ers jersey, said he traveled from the Bay Area, and he loves the fervor of Seattle fans.
“We’ve got a new stadium coming in the next year. I’ve been in NASCAR infields, and this is ... nauseating. It’s great,” he said.
David Knapp of Mountlake Terrace, in section 140 near the corner, nearly lost his voice by halftime trying to get fellow fans worked up. He pointed out that Hawks fans were breaking the record without manufactured noisemakers.
“Record aside, wins are bigger and it’s about how crazy you can all get in the stadium,” he said.
Kansas City Chiefs fans will reportedly make a run at the noise record Oct. 13.
stop the game for the safety of players and fans.
The Seahawks also couldn’t wait for Sunday’s game against San Francisco to arrive after listening to what they felt were a string of slights throughout the week from pundits praising the 49ers and predicting doom for Seattle.
“A lot of things said this week that we didn’t really appreciate,’’ said cornerback Richard Sherman, who helped lead a dominating defense that powered the Seahawks to a surprisingly easy 29-3 win over the 49ers in an early-season battle for supremacy in the NFC West, if not the NFC.
Reminded of some national pundits who picked against the Seahawks, Sherman responded with: “You see how smart they are? They must not have watched the last game we played them.”
That was a reference to Seattle’s 42-13 win over the 49ers at CenturyLink Field last December.
This one, in front of a crowd of 68,338 that was a record to witness a Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field, took a little longer.
It was tied at 0-0 when play was suspended with 3:13 left in the first quarter, fans uneasy both at the weather and some sluggish moments by the Seattle offense early.
The Seahawks, though, hardly seemed concerned — Sherman said he listened to music and danced with other members of the defense during the break.
And when play resumed, Seattle dominated.
Fittingly, the defense scored first, on a safety on a holding call early in the second quarter.
A field goal made it 5-0 at halftime, and in the locker room, Seattle figured that might be good enough.
“We knew we could win a game 5-0 because, playing our base stuff, they couldn’t do anything against us,” said Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. “That was just a great feeling to have.”
The offense, though, got on track to begin the second half, going on 10-play, 80-yard drives each of the first two times it had the ball.
Marshawn Lynch capped each with touchdowns, the first a 14-yard run through the middle of the 49ers defense, the second a 7-yard pass from Russell Wilson. On the latter, he tiptoed into the end zone, literally stopping at the goal line for a second or two with no 49er defender within reach.
The second Lynch score made it 19-3 early in the fourth quarter and pretty much ended the drama in Seattle’s ninth straight win at home.
And at that point, the game was in hand with Seattle’s defense proving impenetrable, allowing only a 207 yards and a lone field goal against a 49er team that gained 494 yards and scored 34 points against Green Bay last week.
“We did everything we needed to do on defense,’’ said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “We had a great night on defense.’’
That included Sherman leading the effort to hold down San Francisco receiver Anquan Boldin to just one catch for 7 yards.
Sherman said he asked to be allowed to guard Boldin as often as possible, straying from the usual Seattle tactic of leaving cornerbacks on their designated side regardless of where a receiver lines up.
Sherman had one of Seattle’s three interceptions — fittingly, the other two were by Kam Chancellor and Thomas, meaning each of the three healthy Legion of Boom defenders (Brandon Browner was out with a hamstring injury) got a pick against San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick took the blame largely on himself, saying, “We are not going to win games if I play like that.”
Added 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: “I’m certainly not proud of the way we played tonight or coached. It was not our finest hour.”
Seattle has outscored the 49ers 71-16 its latest two wins over the 49ers.
And every stat gave evidence of Seattle’s dominance.
A running game that was held to 70 yards against Carolina a week ago had 172 on Sunday, with Lynch getting 98 on 28 attempts and scoring three touchdowns, two on the ground.
The 49ers, meanwhile, had just 100.
And Seattle held the ball for 36 minutes and 43 seconds, including 31:30 in the final three quarters.
A crowd that appeared to return en masse after the hour-long break loved every minute of it, breaking a Guinness record for stadium noise.
Carroll had no trouble believing the mark was broken, saying he had never heard it as loud and beginning his postgame comments by saying, “What an amazing night.”
Amazing, maybe, but none of it was a surprise to the Seahawks, even if it might have been to others.
“Did we lose?” asked Sherman after being asked again about some of the pundits who picked the 49ers. “We did what we expected to do.”