The rabbit holes of this 2020 NFL season are endless, but the story of embattled Eagles QB Carson Wentz getting heartily jeered by … well … the echoes of past Philly fans, but being among the very few who didn’t get to hear it takes things to another level.
Here’s the deal: At least twice during Philly’s 37-19 home loss to the Rams on Sunday, loud boos could be heard after poor throws by Wentz — once on a third-down incompletion and another after the was intercepted in the end zone with the score just 21-16 in the third quarter.
The Eagles, of course, are among the large majority of NFL teams without fans in their stadium this year because of Covid-19. The boos, which came through loud and clear on TV, were produced by the in-game audio engineer in charge of creating the soundtrack for the viewing/listening audiences at home.
It was an authentic response, since Philadelphia fans — not known for being particularly pleasant — almost certainly would have let Wentz have it if the stadium was packed.
But as SI.com explains, the only people involved in the playing or watching of the game who didn’t hear the booing were those chosen few inside the stadium.
NFL games have two layers of artificial noise. In the stadium, the crowd noise that is piped through the speakers is a constant loop of an audio file the league provides to each team. Unlike the in-stadium noise, the broadcast sound is controlled by a human being and varies based on the game situation. So while fans at home were hearing Philly fans engage in the decades-long tradition of heckling their own players, the guys on the field just heard the same steady stream of white noise they’d been hearing all afternoon.
So Wentz didn’t know that real Eagles fans at home were hearing fake Eagles fans boo him, and real Eagles fans at home didn’t know that Wentz couldn’t hear the boos they were hearing.
Long story short: Wear a mask, hope for a vaccine and try to imagine a 2021 season where everyone can hear the real boos from real fans.