FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Tuesday he has seen enough of the NFL’s investigation of fake crowd noise at Atlanta’s home games to acknowledge wrongdoing.
The NFL is trying to determine if the Falcons pumped artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome for home games the last two years. Apparently, the answer is yes.
Blank had a quick response when asked if there was a fine line for crowd noise not allowed by the league.
“It’s not really a fine line,” Blank told The Associated Press. “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.”
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Blank said he expects the league to report its findings in two to three weeks.
The Falcons could be fined or penalized with the loss of a draft pick if found to have added fake crowd noise during the opposing team’s huddles when they were trying to call a play.
“We’ve got some information internally,” Blank said of the investigation. “Not all, clearly, until we see the full report. But we’ve dealt with it internally the best we can, which was limited because we haven’t seen the report.
“We’ve gotten some information from the league but until we read the full report and until they publish their findings, we can’t be totally clear. We’ve talked to a lot of people and we’ve cooperated and we'll be anxious to read the report.”
The Falcons say 101 of 103 games have been sellouts since Blank bought the team in 2002. Actual turnouts declined during losing seasons the last two years.
Atlanta ranked 10th among the 32 NFL teams with its average home attendance of 72,130 in 2014. Construction is underway for a new $1.4 billion stadium which will replace the Georgia Dome in 2017. The new stadium will have a similar seating capacity.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello on Monday said the league had no comment on the investigation.