The Atlanta Falcons are rumored to be looking at a huge penalty for pumping in fake crowd noise during games, with the NFL reportedly looking at taking away one of the team’s top draft pick.
The team admitted to using fake crowd noises when opponents were on offense, violating the league’s strict rules about when public address systems can be used and when the noise must stop.
The Atlanta Falcons are preparing for the worst. The team’s general manager, Thomas Dimitroff, said they are already proceeding as if the league will dock them a high draft pick.
“We are just so full of scenarios and that’s kind of how we approach the offseason as it is,” Dimitroff said on 680 The Fan, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We’ve been very detailed on how we are going to approach things if in fact we have availability at certain points in the draft.”
“Persistent chatter at the Scouting Combine suggested that the Falcons will be losing a second or third-round pick in the 2015 draft for the infraction,” he wrote. “The NFL has provided no insight on the magnitude of the penalty the team will be facing.”
Florio continued, “If it’s a second-day pick, it wouldn’t be a surprise. As cheating goes, attempting to disrupt the ability of the opposing offense to communicate seems to be a pretty big deal. Given that it wasn’t a one-time thing but a two-year pattern tends to call for an even more significant punishment.”
But to Dimitroff, any punishment the Atlanta Falcons may receive is just a rumor.
“I do not know at this point, officially,” Dimitroff said. “I have not (received) word from the league.”
The Atlanta Falcons have done all they can to mitigate the potential punishment. They were cooperative with the NFL during the investigation, and have taken responsibility and apologized.
“It’s not really a fine line,” team owner Arthur Blank told the Associated Press back in February. “I think what we’ve done in 2013 and 2014 was wrong. Anything that affects the competitive balance and fairness on the field, we’re opposed to, as a league, as a club and as an owner. It’s obviously embarrassing but beyond embarrassing it doesn’t represent our culture and what we’re about.”
If the rumors are true, the Atlanta Falcons may be ready to make up for their lost draft pick. Thomas Dimitroff said if the team loses a pick outside the first round, they would consider trading down from their No. 8 pick in order to amass more picks later on.
[Image via New York Times]