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Originally published September 15, 2013 at 9:51 PM | Page modified September 16, 2013 at 2:16 AM

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136.6 decibels! Hawks fans break Guinness mark for loudest stadium

It’s deafening at CenturyLink Field as Seahawks coast to 29-3 victory

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The 12th Man already knew it. Now so will the Guinness Book of World Records.

Seahawks fans at CenturyLink Field proved they were the loudest in the world when they set the record for stadium noise Sunday night as Seattle defender Michael Bennett sacked San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick with 1:15 left in the first quarter, said Phil Robertson, a judge for Guinness.

The noise on that play was 131.9 decibels, passing the previous record of 131.76 by a soccer crowd in Istanbul.

It didn’t hold up for long. Midway through the third quarter, during a goal-line stand that stopped the 49ers, the noise reached 136.6 decibels, said Bill Stewart, the sound engineer and partner at SSA Acoustics in Seattle who did the measuring. Robertson said he could feel a clipboard vibrate in his hand.

And the measuring devices were at the south end zone — opposite from where the goal line stand was happening under the Hawks Nest. “At that end, it must have been incredible,” said Robertson.

Fans throughout the stadium knew the attempt was under way and many of them strained a vocal cord to break it, following an hourlong delay caused by a thunderstorm.

“I knew we could do it! We impact every defensive play,” said Shawn Burns of Marysville, a longtime season-ticket holder standing at the base of the Hawks Nest, over the north end zone.

Before the game, he stood on Third Avenue South, high-fiving fans as they walked toward the stadium.

Robertson, the Guinness judge, is more familiar with soccer, and said of the Hawks fans’ roar: “It’s a far louder, tribal kind of passion” and the sound is more continuous. “There’s passionate people in soccer, but here you see veins bulging out of necks.”

Stewart was stationed with his equipment on the field behind the south end zone. When Marshawn Lynch ran into the end zone in the third quarter, Stewart waved his hands up toward the crowd. Alas, the meter stayed in the 130s.

This sort of noise is slightly louder than a 747 taking off, fittingly for the Jet City.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard the sound louder than that. It was incredible,” said Hawks fan Lorin “Big Lo” Sandretzky. “Everybody’s so fired up about the record I think they’re forgetting about the game.”

He said the crowd seemed to come back with more energy after the storm delay, and it helped that the team entered the stadium and slapped hands with fans. “They were more fired up than at the start of the game.”

Fan noise contributed to a 49ers delay-of-game penalty in the first quarter.

Ushers and security staff wore earplugs, as did some fans.

Visiting fan Felix Katich, wearing a red 49ers jersey, said he traveled from the Bay Area, and he loves the fervor of Seattle fans.

“We’ve got a new stadium coming in the next year. I’ve been in NASCAR infields, and this is ... nauseating. It’s great,” he said.

David Knapp of Mountlake Terrace, in section 140 near the corner, nearly lost his voice by halftime trying to get fellow fans worked up. He pointed out that Hawks fans were breaking the record without manufactured noisemakers.

“Record aside, wins are bigger and it’s about how crazy you can all get in the stadium,” he said.

Kansas City Chiefs fans will reportedly make a run at the noise record Oct. 13.

Noise comparison
Fans at CenturyLink Field broke the world record for loudest stadium noise. The previous record was 131.76 decibels, set on March 18, 2011, during a soccer match in Turkey.
Jet take off150
Aircraft carrier deck140
Sunday’s game136.6
Live rock music110
Source: Temple University Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or

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