Foghorn or not, Packers coach Matt LaFleur seeks definitive home-field advantage
GREEN BAY – A foghorn reminiscent of the Minnesota Vikings' Gjallarhorn might not be the way to enhance home-field advantage at Lambeau Field, but Packers coach Matt LaFleur is open to other ideas.
Making Lambeau Field a place other teams hate to visit was on LaFleur's mind after Thursday's 28-26 preseason victory against the Houston Texans. He talked about creating "a true home-field advantage," but did not seem to be specifically critical of Packers fans so much as stating a philosophy.
"We've all been talking about how do we get this to be a tremendous home-field advantage," he said after his first home game at Lambeau Field.
He talked about how Packers fans in Atlanta during a game in 2016 forced the home team to use the silent count because they were so loud. He was a Falcons assistant at the time.
"To me, that's the standard," he said. "How can we make the same environment when teams come in here?"
LaFleur has gone to some effort to up the energy level in the organization. He has asked to redecorate team areas of the stadium, plays high-energy music — loudly — during practices and talks frequently about players needing to have more urgency.
As one means of doing so, the foghorn that was used on third-down plays Thursday night might not be the answer, based on the reaction of fans on social media, who for the most part hated it. Some people attending the game said they didn't even hear it.
Packers fans on Twitter and Facebook said it was uncomfortably close to the Minnesota Vikings' Gjallarhorn.
"@Packers Get rid of the Vikings fog horn, please. It didn't work, and it's not on brand. Let's move on, but please don't play that again. #gopackgo," wrote Dan Hogan on Twitter.
"I love my team but that doesn't do it for me. Try the hurricane warning horn out instead. Now that will get people hyped or just leave it alone and stick with the chant music Go Pack Go!!!," Douglas Bailey II wrote on Facebook.
Dale Ryman of Wausau tweeted that the horn is not a good idea, but the home-field advantage is not what it once was.
"Quiet crowds, and that was happening before last seasons debacle. You don't like it? Then cheer! #GoPackGo," he wrote.
It's not unusual for the team to try to engage fans to be louder. The long-running "Get Loud" campaign, which included flashing "Get Loud" on the scoreboard at key points in games, is one example. More may be unveiled by the start of regular season, and some might not survive the cut.
"We've got some elements we are working on and considering, and will continue to prepare for the home opener (on Sept. 15 against Minnesota)," said Aaron Popkey, Packers' director of public affairs.
"Over the years, we've had different elements that have gone into our engagement with fans on game days. We've done yard signs on streets leading up to the stadium, and different elements to get them excited leading up to game day. The fans are always responsive and I think each year we look for new ways to engage them."
Thursday's game was not an especially good one for judging home-field advantage standards.
It was a Gold package game, which means most season-ticket holders are from southern Wisconsin. Many won't drive to Green Bay on a Thursday night to watch a meaningless game in which most marquee players will not appear. That means many of those attending the game were not Lambeau Field regulars, and more children were in attendance than normal.
LaFleur talked about getting fans "out of their seats," which the team's fan code of conduct endorses, within reason: "While standing and cheering is permitted, please keep in mind that continued standing can interfere with others’ ability to enjoy the game from their seats. To be courteous to all guests in attendance, we ask fans to stand and cheer when appropriate with the flow of the game."
Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/