Decibacle: Atlanta Falcons Lose 2016 5th Round Pick


The hammer fell down on the Falcons, but the hit wasn’t as harsh as predicted. The National Football League revealed on Monday the sanctions for pumping in crowd noise into the Georgia Dome over the last two seasons. The Atlanta Falcons are fined $350,000 and the franchise will forfeit their fifth-round selection in the 2016 Draft.

The NFL Executive Vice-President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent, delivered a statement regarding the matter.

"The Atlanta Falcons have acknowledged the use of pre-recorded crowd noise in violation of NFL rules during home games throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season until the club was notified last November that the violation had been identified. The rule states that “at no point during the game can artificial crowd noise or amplified crowd noise be played in the stadium.” Based on the full record, the Falcons have been fined $350,000 and will forfeit their fifth-round selection in the 2016 Draft. If the Falcons have multiple picks in that round, the highest selection will be forfeited."

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The league also announced that Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay will be suspended from the Competition Committee beginning April 1. He will be able to ask for a reinstatement no sooner than June 30. The franchise fired Roddy White, the team Director of Marketing, after being found “directly responsible for the violation” by the league investigation.

Atlanta Falcon’s Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank, who described last month the Decibacle as “embarrassing”, also issued a statement following the penalties disclosure. He specified that the franchise will not appeal the decision.

"“What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business. Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.”“The League conducted a thorough investigation of this matter, and we cooperated fully. We understand the penalties imposed and their impact on our team, and we will not appeal the league’s decisions. Further, we have addressed the matter internally and taken actions to ensure that something like this does not happen again.”“The Falcons and all of our other businesses are built upon a foundation of values that drive our decision making. This issue was a clear failure in that regard. I apologize for any embarrassment this situation has caused the NFL, our fans, and our Falcons players and associates.”"

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  • Within the last couple of weeks, multiple sources reported the sanctions were going to be “severe” and the Atlanta Falcons were about to lose a first or second rounder, respectively from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and PFT’s Mike Florio. The franchise avoided a harsh punishment that could have took out one of the eight pick the franchise holds in this upcoming NFL Draft. Even worse, the league could have forfeited the first, second or third round pick and greatly compromise the franchise rebuilding plans.

    The team as well as the fans should be relieved the NFL didn’t come harder on the Decibacle. Losing a Day-3 pick for next year’s Draft is more than manageable, and the fine should be payable for billionaire Arthur Blank.

    However, it seems excessive and illogical to loose a Draft pick for fake crowd noise. We are talking here of noise. The operations didn’t apparently help the Falcons: the home record over the last two years is not close from excellence. Atlanta only won 6 of their last 15 games in the Georgia Dome since 2013.

    Furthermore, in the past history, several other teams were found to pump in crowd noise in their stadium. None of them were disciplined with the loss of Draft pick.