INDIANAPOLIS —If you're going to be anywhere near the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center over the next few days, you might want to pop in some ear plugs.
As the Indianapolis Colts prepare to face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, they'll also do the best they can to simulate the extremely loud crowd noise they know they'll encounter throughout the night at CenturyLink Field.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano on Monday had a bit of advice for the media coming to practices this week.
"Bring your earmuffs if you are coming to practice this week because we'll have that thing blaring the whole time — as loud as we possibly can," Pagano said of the team's large outdoor speakers. "It's a tough, tough, tough place to play and it's an awesome environment for a football game."
Opened in 2002, CenturyLink Field was designed to be loud. The fans sit closer to the action than most other NFL stadiums, and the construction of the decks and the roof allow for noise to be amplified back towards the field.
Much like the Colts' home field advantage at Lucas Oil Stadium, the noise while the opposing offense is on the field has a tangible effect, as, according to the Seahawks, opponents are flagged for more false start penalties at CenturyLink Field than any other NFL stadium.
The Colts have played just one previous game at CenturyLink Field, and that was back in 2005, when the facility was named Qwest Field. After having already wrapped up homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, Indianapolis barely played or sat most of its starters, and fell to Seattle, 28-13.
Quarterback Peyton Manning played one quarter in that matchup, completing 9-of-12 passes for 116 yards, while defensive end Dwight Freeney played only a few snaps and starters like safety Bob Sanders, linebacker Cato June, tackle Ryan Diem, wide receiver Marvin Harrison and defensive end Robert Mathis were all inactive.
The Colts, by the way, committed just one false start penalty in that game — on a punt — compared to three for the Seahawks.
But getting back to Sunday's matchup, Pagano said he feels fortunate that his quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, will have had two starts under his belt before trotting out onto the CenturyLink Field turf in such a typically uninviting environment.
As Brissett continues to master the playbook — and the rest of the offensive players continue to learn the second-year quarterback's style and tendencies — Pagano knows how important communication will be on Sunday night.
"(It's) extremely difficult to operate on the offensive side of the football," Pagano said of playing in Seattle. "They got a great football team and an outstanding defense as we all know. That 12th man, it makes it really difficult to operate.
"We're going to have to do a great job this week of trying to simulate as best we can the environment that they're about to step into."