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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Does Athletic Department Know What a Home Field Advantage Is?

Knowing my crusade against the "key play" (so-called) "cheer" at The Big (Quiet) House, fellow Michigan bloggers MVictors.com sent me this scoreboard shot from the Oregon game...

Well that certainly explains things a bit.

Between the pic above and the cheerleaders holding up "key play" signs in front of the student section, I'm starting to realize that - in addition to some fans who want the atmosphere at the game to be the same as their living rooms - either the athletic department doesn't have a clue about creating a real home field advantage or they want the stadium to be nice and quiet for the blue hairs on the 50. Just having folks wear yellow t-shirts doesn't cut it.

Contrast this approach with Happy Valley. Did you see - and hear - the Penn State/ND game last Saturday? The fans were deafening with several reports on the game even mentioning how much if affected the Irish playcalling.

And now, even other college football fans are starting to notice this lame Michigan Stadium "tradition" and ask, "Why?" (only using a lot more colorful language).

In a memo to Michigan fans, the Granddaddy of College football blogs, EDSBS, had this to say after seeing a shot of students jangling their keys during the broadcast of the Michigan-Oregon game:

"This would be less appalling if it were alumni…but STUDENTS JINGLING KEYS? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Young, healthy people with clean, fully-functioning lungs JINGLING KEYS TO MAKE NOISE!!!! My god, why don’t you hire Salvadorans to come yell for you? Or better still, they could just come in and cheer for you while you watch the game in the parking lot in peace and quiet and save you the trouble of screaming “DOWN IN FRONT!!!” (Because that would hurt your lungs, wouldn’t it?)

Yes, this is coming from a boorish, decorum-free SEC fan whose fellow fans bring cowbells to games and set off seismometers at the geology department during games in between handing out sociology and leisure management degrees to illiterate, well-muscled athletes. It is also directed at a school in a conference where
some schools actually cheer their asses off and force teams into penalties with crowd noise. And some Michigan fans have been railing about this for way, way longer than we have.

Don’t blame the architecture either. Instead, scream. At this point, you should be screaming, anyway. Who cares if it’s at your coach? Notre Dame doesn’t have to know that. This is football. Blood. Screaming. Tribal violence. Bizarre rites and rituals. Put away the keys. Pick up the torches. Less Roman, more Vandal, dammit!

The struggle continues.


j said...

Looking at the scoreboard, I never realized there was a point in the game when we were tied.

Kraut said...

I had never noticed the 'Key Play' on the scoreboard before until last weekend (I was unfortunately there) and it's pathetic. I sit outside of the student section but it appeared that there were a few students a few rows ahead of us and when the 'Key Play' signs were out they were jingling their keys. Not yelling ... just jingling. How freakin' lame.

Has anyone written a letter to the athletic department about the key thing yet? In the early 90's when I was there the key plays were reserved for key 3rd and 4th down conversions when UM WAS ON OFFENSE ... BECAUSE IT'S FREAKIN' QUIET WHEN KEYS ARE BEING JINGLED. God this pisses me off ... I thought UM students were supposed to be smart!

WingRG said...

i could understand yelling AND jingling keys, but just jingling? That makes no sense.

Kraut said...

winrg, I know ... it drives me crazy, but that's what they do in Michigan Stadium ... totally lame.

kowisja said...


harry hasselhoff said...

The keys are fine as long as people ALSO SCREAM THEIR HEADS OFF while jingling.

And I know it's used as a convenient excuse, but a large part of this is the design of the stadium. Look how high and steep the stands at Beaver Stadium are. It's no wonder those people are louder than hell! I encourage fans to make noise, but wait until the renovations are done in 2031 and you'll see what a difference it makes.

JB said...

Does anyone know the origins of the "key play?"? Michigan has been playing football for 100 years or so but when did all the key jangling start?
The Model T started in 1908, is that when key jangling came into style?
Mysteries abound!

BP said...

Yeah that's pretty much just retarded.


97Alumni said...

I graduated in 97 right before the NC season - and I NEVER saw any of that stupid key crap while I was there...

Seriously Yost - someone needs to contact the athletic office and the cheerleaders about not encouraging this any longer and encouraging a real hostile environment (ie real noise) for visiting teams - hell - even the daily has written on it.

This would help our team now more than ever.

surrounded in columbus said...

Ok- one circumstance the "key play" would make sense- 3rd down/other critical situation when WE are on offense. You don't want the crowd to make too much noise while we try to call plays/audible @ the line/etc.(Anybody else remember Bo bitching about the wave when we had the ball because it was a distraction that messed up the snap count?). So in the ltd circumstance the key play makes sense

surrounded in columbus said...

Now that I think about it- wasn't there a time- late '80's early -90's- that there was a rule that the home team could be flagged for making too much noise? Maybe the memory is playing tricks on me, but I recall a brief (one season?) Time when they tried a rule that would allow the O to be able to call plays (for some reason I have a pic in my head of Todd Collins in the snakepit trying to get the ref to throw a flag against tosu for crowd noise). I'll try to look that up.

lionking said...

When Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993 I remember how fired up I was for the first home game against Michigan. Both teams had great players so you knew it would be a close, exciting game. As with big home games in the past (Miami, Nebraska, Alabama, etc.) the PSU crowd was really up for it.

As most people outside of Michigan Stadium would expect the crowd was VERY LOUD for Michigan's first offensive series. I can't remember the Michigan QB that year but on first down he backed away from center and complained to the referee that his teammates couldn't hear him at the line of scrimmage due to crowd noise. This was something we learned that day - that the Big Ten had a crowd noise limit! If the QB didn't think his signals could be heard he complained to the ref who, if he agreed would have the PA announcer ask the crowd to quiet down or a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty would be asessed on the home team. Unbelieveable!!!

This rule took the crowd out of the game, negated the home field advantage and Michigan ended up winning a close game. After that game I thought PS made a huge mistake joining the Big Ten - The No Noise Conference. Thankfully we have come out of the stone age and allow fans the freedom to yell as much as any fan in the SEC. Could that old rule be the origin of the quiet Michigan crowd???

M-Zone - keep up the great work - WE ARE, PENN STATE!!!

Kraut said...

I remember that game ... I was there in '93 also and I remember the lame penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct for loud crowd noise. I could have sworn we had one or two that season, but can't remember for sure ... anyone else remember?

surrounded in columbus said...

i didnt' have time to search this definitively, but i'm pretty sure that in the late '80's the home team could draw a flag for too much noise while on D- here's a vague reference (couldn't find any "official" history)-http://www-tech.mit.edu/V109/N1/foot.01s.html.

also, did see that just last year the ncaa changed the then current rule which allowed the officials to take a time out at their discretion IF they determined the crowd was too loud for the offense to operate.

so, i think the key play debacle is a holdover from those days which we have yet to dump and update w/ something better (sort of like our offensive and defensive schemes- how ironic).

Steve said...

The retarded "key play" didn't really start until 2000 or so. I was a student for the '95-'01 seasons, and I only started to notice the "key play" thing catching on in the last year or two. Funny thing is, I also went to a few road games in my day, and the Badger crowd at Wisconsin was doing the "key play" thing in force in '97 and '99. So not only is the key jingling retarded and anti-intimidating, but it's not even original! Just stop doing it! Please!

Amy said...

I would like to say that the "key-jiggling" thing is kind of funny and can be appropriate... If (1) your team is winning, and (2) it's the 4th quarter.

It is not sppropriate and a little pathetic to do it when (1) the OTHER team is up, and (2) it's not even the end of the 1st quarter.

Amy said...

Oh - it should be noted that at Oregon, we use it not as a "key play" cheer, but as a way to tell the other team that they might as well go home because they aren't going to win.

Also a cheer: "Warm Up The Bus!"

Flop said...

I recall doing the key thing with my dorm-room keys in 1995. Also, I recall that I was screaming my head off when I did it. But I guess sometimes you get so focused on the keys ...