Two years ago, we were fortunate enough to be in South Bend to watch Michigan defeat Notre Dame. It was a great college football atmosphere. We were sitting in the middle of ND established fan seating, as we were guests of friends whose child is on the ND band. Though we were dressed in maize and blue, the spirit of good sportsmanship and prevailing sense of a common love of the game (with deserved mutual respect for each other's programs) meant we had a good time among the ND faithful.
Fast forward to THIS year, and the atmosphere was different. We should have been tipped off by the abc.com article the Friday before about ND's efforts to make their home field louder and more advantageous. Still, we were surprised when the game commenced and the amount of pumped in music was DRAMATICALLY louder.
But, hey, we're used to noise in the Big House, right?
Yet we AREN'T used to piped in music being played CONSISTENTLY even AFTER the opposing QB had STARTED HIS SNAP COUNT. In fact, I had NEVER seen that happen consistently at any football game I had previously attended, on ANY level.
The shenanigans didn't stop there: our friend's child on the ND band told us after the game that, for the first time ever, their band was microphoned the week prior as a warmup to Michigan.
For the Michigan game, ND used DOUBLE the microphones from the week before. All for the sake of amplifying the crowd noise, and irresponsibly TIMING the amplification beyond decent sportsmanship.
Why am I (re)writing about this now? Because throughout that game, we heard repetitively fake ref whistles coming from the crowd. They were subtle enough that they were hard to precisely localize, but they seemed to come from the same part of the field. And occurred throughout the entire game. I had supposed that the whistle was too faint to effect gameplay, because the refs weren't commenting on it... ... until the second half, wherein Michigan fans will no doubt recall the refs threw a flag against Michigan on either a false start or offside, but took the unusual step of announcing that there would be no penalty assessed against Mich due to a whistle from the crowd causing undue/unfair confusion.
No formal penalty nor warning was issued to the fans in attendance by the refs as was their responsibility.
Now, I recognize as much as the next football fan that when you have six turnovers, well, you get what you get and to blame the refs for the loss is tacky. So I'm not doing that.
But after tonight's Stanford game in South Bend, wherein, ESPN writes, "The Irish got a stop on third down, though the Stanford players CONTENDED THEY HEARD A WHISTLE ON THE PLAY AND STOPPED PLAYING.. They settled for Williamson's field and a three-point lead," given how critical that stop turned out to be, well, it seems something stinks in South Bend.
Once again, the refs failed to act, and in so doing, merely encouraged fake whistles in the future.
I've never seen a PATTERN like this before of outrageous lack of integrity. Isolated episodes? Yes, of course. But repeated stuff like this? No.
Am I being naive, and this fake whistle / amped music during snap count / overamplifying home band-stuff happen ALL THE TIME, and I'm only noticing it now? Because I've been to a ton of games at multiple levels and not seen this repeated crap before.
Am I the only one seeing this?
Are there other (in)famous examples of habitual stretching of "home field advantage" to questionable limits?Is this cheating?