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Joe Burrow won’t be fazed by the crowd at Arrowhead

A quote by the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback in Week 7 has gone viral and gotten Chiefs fans backs up in as the AFC Conference Championship game looms

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 22: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a second half pass against the Tennessee Titans during the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Nissan Stadium on January 22, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.   Andy Lyon

Following the Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, NBC Sports’ Peter King spoke with Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow about the crowd noise. Burrow’s response is now going viral since former Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes brought attention to it on Twitter.

For context, the original quote from Burrow is as follows:

I asked him if the very loud crowd early in Baltimore affected him, and whether playing in the deafeaning stadia of the SEC got him ready for this. Burrow: “We knew that they were gonna be jacked up for us to come in, and expecting to beat our ass. But we were ready for it. Playing in the SEC definitely, definitely helped. Gets way louder in the SEC than in any of these NFL stadiums.” Translation: You’re nuts if you think the noise bugged me even a bit today. You’re nuts if you think it bothers me any day.

So let’s unpack this a little bit. The issue that Tynes takes with Joe’s quote stems from the fact that the Guinness Book of World Records certified Arrowhead Stadium's 142.2 db roar during their September 29, 2014 match against the New England Patriots as the loudest crowd roar ever recorded at a sporting event. This is what Tynes refers to when he says that it is “not up for debate.”

Looking at Burrow's quote, what he says is not entirely incorrect. You see, although NFL crowds can hit very high levels for big plays and scores, the ambient noise levels sit around 80 or 90 decibels for the great majority of the game. Anyone who has been to any college game anywhere in the country will tell you that with the marching band, the student section, and the tribal mania of the local populace, college stadiums maintain a generally higher level of baseline noise throughout the game, not just in scoring moments. When you consider that the crowd capacity of Arrowhead is a comparatively paltry 76,416 when compared to LSU’s Tiger Stadium 102,321, this baseline rumble can make for an uncomfortable experience.

The legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant said that playing in Baton Rouge was the “worst place in the world to be a visiting team” because playing there “is like being inside a drum.” And this holds true throughout the SEC. You get very little respite in Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium or Florida’s “Swamp”. A one-time official decibel recording can’t compete with the sustained auditory onslaught that you experience in an SEC football game.

None of this is said to denigrate in any way the Chiefs faithful, who will be doing all that they can to make life as uncomfortable as possible for the Bengals. It will be very loud, to be sure. But this in itself is not something that will worry Joe Burrow. He’s been to the puppet show, he’s seen all the strings. The Chiefs will be a tough nut to crack for him. But don’t rely on your crowd noise alone. Joe’s better than that.