As the Redskins faced a fourth-and-goal from the Steelers one-yard line during last night's game, I remember seeing Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison standing in the end zone imploring the crowd to make noise. It's a common site across NFL stadiums; defensive players exhorting fans to yell, scream, and get crazy to make it tough for the quarterback to communicate with the rest of the offense prior to the snap.
Except the Steelers were the visiting team.
The Monday Night Football crew mentioned the spectacle throughout the telecast (when they weren't mesmerized by spurious statistics; hey, Mr. Tony, don't sleep with your shoes on!) and it was hard to miss: FedEx Field was full of terrible towel-waving Steelers fans. In fact, things got so bad that the Redskins offense had to go to the silent count. Via WaPo Redskins Insider Jason La Canfora:
"We had to go silent at least a couple of times," one veteran player said. "It was loud down there, especially on third down. I never seen anything like that, at home, with 90,000 people there. It seemed like they had more fans than we did. That was sad. They had guys like Troy [Polamalu] raising his arms on third down and all these people are yelling and screaming for the Steelers. It was pretty sad, man."Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg was also on the case:
"Uh huh," said Pete Kendall, who said that [going silent count at home] had happened to him elsewhere but admitted he was a tad surprised last night. "I mean, that's not the reputation or the expectation I had of the fans here," he said, "but who am I to begrudge somebody from making a profit by selling their tickets? I'm playing for money, and they're watching, and it's their right to do what they want with their tickets."Fair point, Pete, although it has to be a tad disconcerting nonetheless. It's not like the Redskins are the Lions or the Bengals; they have a long, storied history and a wide-ranging fan base. And while Steelers supporters are known to gobble up tickets to away games, this is the first time I've ever heard of the home team having to use the silent count because of it.
Obvious solution: more seats, Danny.