It's really hard to realize for anyone who only started watching Syracuse Orange football in 2000 and beyond, but, the Carrier Dome used to be one of the loudest football stadiums in the country, pro or college.
I know cause I was there for the Tennessee game in 1998. And the Virginia Tech game that same year. And the Michigan game the following year. Absolutely packed in each instance, the Dome earned the name The Loud House back then, it wasn't just a title casually thrown around.
As NFL folks talk about the loudness of their stadiums, some folks are remembering just how high a bar the Carrier Dome used to set.
Freeney was a junior at the time, and Virginia Tech was coming to town to play Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Michael Vick was the quarterback Freeney was tasked with chasing down.
"That was the loudest game I've ever played in," Freeney said. "That was a special game. Unfortunately we didn't get the win. I was playing really well that game. It was humming."
"I think the biggest thing is just the fans and the student body, the energy in the building," Freeney said. "It's still the loudest stadium I've ever played in."
"The toughest place, period, throughout my entire coaching career, was Syracuse," Caldwell said. "You could not hear in that building, in that dome. As a matter of fact I was in the press box and they had an open glass window so you could hear all the noise coming in.
"The guy sitting next to me, I’m talking to him and we cannot hear one another. Literally, you’re just moving your mouth. It’s the loudest place I’ve ever been."
The article doesn't say which game Caldwell is referencing but it must have been when he was an assistant with Penn State. The Nittany Lions played in the Dome in 1987 and 1989. Specifically, that 1987 game must have been a special one for Orange fans.
So what's the key here? Why was the Carrier Dome "the loudest stadium" back then when it's not now? Well, of course, those games were packed. 45K+ crowds. Syracuse was also fielding good teams. Ranked teams.
And the other variable? Big time opponents. Penn State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Michigan.
The perfect storm of quality Syracuse football teams going head-to-head with some of the nation's top programs in the Carrier Dome = The Loudest Stadium in the Nation.
Seems like a simple solution. Let's make that happen again. Have fun at MetLife this weekend, everyone...