SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — When the San Francisco 49ers take the field Sunday, something will definitely be missing. The stands at Levi’s Stadium will be empty, giving Kyle Murray Arizona Cardinals a bit of an advantage.
Which seems odd since it’s a 49ers home game. Defensive coordinator Coordinator Robert Saleh says it’s part of a noticeable shift during the COVID-19 era.
“You don’t worry about it with the game starting, but I do think one of the greatest things for a team that has the pass rush that we have is having home-field advantage where another team has to do silent count,” he said. “The fact that we’re not able to use it, I’m assuming that they’ll be able to use their cadence. We’ll see how it goes in the game, but yeah, it’s the home-field advantage right there and if you’ve got to play every game as a road game on defense.”
“So yeah, not having a crowd, it’s going to be different out there for sure,” Saleh added.
With every game during their remarkable 2019 season, the noise levels generated by the jammed packed Levi’s stands soared. By the time the 49ers mauled the Green Bay, 37-20, in the NFC Championship Game, the decibel levels inside Levi’s soared to over 100 decibels.
On Sunday, the highest the sound system will be cranking with recorded fans noise will be 75 decibels or so.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the team has kept its sound system plans under wrap.
“We’ll see if that’s an advantage for us,” he said. “We’ll surprise them on Sunday.”
Shanahan said without the constant background roar coming from the stands, it will seem a little eerie.
“I think it’ll be a huge adjustment for everyone out there,” he said. “You don’t realize just what constant noise is like. It’s not about being loud or too low. It’s about just constant. I mean, usually when the play starts, you get to hear the pop and you get to hear football. When things aren’t going on, you can have conversations with people and stuff. So just the constant noise, it’s a little tough to deal with.”
Nick Bosa, who is starting his second season after winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors last season, believes the fans give the defense a jump start when the game begins. This week, his running mates will need to rely solely on self motivation from the opening snap.
“It’s just going to be that initial get going that the fans really help you with,” he said. “Once you really get into the game, start playing, you kinda become self-motivated or else you are not going to play very well. There’s nothing really you can do to prepare for it, but we’ll be ready to go.”