Seattle Seahawks fans make it rough on the opposition. (Elaine Thompson / Associated…)
A few years ago, the San Francisco 49ers playing the Seattle Seahawks wouldn't have even jiggled the interest needle.
Now, with both being Super Bowl contenders and the bad blood between them flowing freely, the sound needle Sunday figures to reach maximum volume.
A group of Seahawks fans that calls itself Volume 12 has picked Sunday's game against the 49ers to claim a slice of history. The group, whose name is a reference to the 12th Man, what the Seahawks call their fans, has contacted the Guinness Book of World Records in hopes of generating the world's loudest crowd cheer.
It's an ambitious attempt, seeing as the loudest Seahawks games have registered 112 decibels — roughly as loud as a car horn — whereas the record of 131.76, set at a soccer match in Istanbul, has about the volume of a military jet taking off from an aircraft carrier.
Whatever the meter shows, the 49ers-Seahawks game features coaches Jim Harbaugh of San Francisco and Pete Carroll of Seattle — who can barely disguise their disdain for each other — two dynamic young quarterbacks in the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick and the Seahawks' Russell Wilson, and a pair of smothering defenses.
The Seahawks and 49ers split their series last season, each winning at home, and would have met in the NFC championship game had the Seahawks not faltered in a divisional game at Atlanta, losing on a 49-yard field goal at the end.
Neither Harbaugh nor Carroll — whose personal rivalry dates to their days as coaches at Stanford and USC — said much Monday about the upcoming game, as both were focused on what happened in their games a day earlier. The Seahawks won at Carolina, and the 49ers beat Green Bay at home.
The 49ers-Seahawks matchup is on NBC's "Sunday Night Football," and the show's producer, Fred Gaudelli, is working on ways to demonstrate to the viewing audience just how loud CenturyLink Field can get.
"When they played there last year [a 42-13 victory by Seattle on Dec. 23], we wanted to translate to the people at home how loud it was," Gaudelli said. "So we did a thing with [sideline reporter Michele Tafoya] where we put her mike on a stand and had her talk in front of it, then had her take three steps back and talk as loud as she could, and you couldn't hear her."
So loud were the fans when the 49ers' offense was on the field, Gaudelli said, "that it wasn't even a huddle. The guys were standing as close as they could to one another, and [Kaepernick] was screaming at the top of his lungs. They didn't handle it last time. So it will be a big part of our coverage Sunday night."
Among the other Week 2 games to watch:
Denver at New York Giants — Brothers Peyton and Eli Manning meet for a third time, with Peyton having a 2-0 edge in those games, both when he was playing for Indianapolis. Even though it makes for great TV, the Manning family can't stand this matchup.
"I think deep down both Peyton and Eli don't really like the attention this game gets," older brother Cooper Manning said. "I think they just try to look at it like another game, but I guess I could understand it's a human-interest story."
Denver will be coming off nine days' rest and a phenomenal opener against Baltimore, a 49-27 Broncos victory in which Peyton threw an NFL-record-tying seven touchdown passes. Eli and the Giants had six turnovers in a 36-31 loss to Dallas.
Washington at Green Bay — The Packers are getting a full dose of read-option quarterbacks. They faced Kaepernick in an opening loss, and the 49ers quarterback did a lot more throwing (412 yards) than running (22). Now, Green Bay gets Washington's Robert Griffin III, last season's offensive rookie of the year.
Jacksonville at Oakland — You could look at this as the battle for the bottom, with the loser gaining the inside track on next year's No. 1 draft pick. But the Raiders made a better-than-expected showing at Indianapolis, and quarterback Terrelle Pryor showed some intriguing playmaking ability. Now, he'll get to play at home, against a bad team that has the additional challenge of playing on the opposite coast. It could be an important confidence builder for Pryor and the Raiders.