One thing many people have noticed over the years, or maybe specifically over the past two years, was that the Cal Band is playing less and less nowadays during football games. Since the program has reached one if its highest peaks in half a century, sponsor advertisements and paid-for canned music now take up the time allotments which used to be for the Cal Band. This is quite unfortunate, as I’m sure many of you old Blues and diehard college football fans may know, since afterall, marching bands and their music make up one of the fabulous traditions of classic college football. But there is also one more reason why the Cal Band plays less and less nowadays, and this reason is probably the most important of all, and that’s because of our offense.
When our offense is on the field it is especially critical that we Cal fans be very quiet. Any excessive noise while our offense is on the field can result in false starts, delay of games, or player miscommunications. While the penalty may be a mere 5 yards, that dead play might have been a touchdown. And in every football game, no matter how close the score is or isn’t, we don’t want to induce our own team into penalties.
The need for Cal fans to be quiet also pertains to the Cal Band. While we all want to hear the fight song and clap, and sing after a big-gain play, I think it’s safe to say that we’d all prefer a win even more. It seems a little nitpicky to say that just because the Cal Band plays a song after a big gain that it might affect the outcome of the game but it’s true. It’s possible.
I write this post because we have been passed along some information which says that the Cal Band has been instructed not to play when our team is on offense AND when the game is being played south of the southern 45 yard line. My purpose is not to criticism the Cal Band or the fans, but to try and bring about an understanding of why the Cal Band (and us Cal fans) should respect the rule.
I personally have always been in agreement and an advocate of these types of instructions. I really hate to agree with these instructions but it’s for the benefit of our football team. I hope I am not in the minority when I say that I would love to hear the fight song after a big run or catch but I’d sacrifice that in an instant and without a second thought for guaranteeing my team a better chance at winning the game.
You might be thinking that a little music can’t do much harm, afterall, the crowd can get pretty loud itself after a big play. That is true. But just because the crowd gets loud doesn’t mean it’s A-okay for the Cal Band to pile on even more noise onto our offense.
After a big play the offense will usually huddle and call the next play. Any excessive noise during this moment might cause a player in the huddle to hear the wrong playcall, word, or snap count. After the players break the huddle and line up on the ball the offensive line will often communicate with each other to distribute and confirm their blocking assignments. Any excessive noise during this moment might cause an offensive lineman further away from center (such as an offensive tackle or tight end) to miss a command if it’s not relayed by the guard. After the offensive line figures out their blocking assignments they must also listen to the quarterback’s cadence and/or playcalls. Any excessive noise during this moment may cause an offensive player to miss a command or come off the ball late.
So as you can see, there are a lot of instances in which something can go wrong due to excessive noise while on offense.
I am not instructing Cal Fans to withhold their enthusiasm and cheering completely, but that it be controlled as soon as the offense huddles up (although when our offense is in a hurry-up, the crowd should be as quiet as possible AT ALL TIMES because the quarterback will instruct the players of the play without huddling and the players will be further away from the quarterback). This same rule for being quiet also applies to the Cal Band.
So the next time the there is a big gain and the Cal Band doesn’t play, now you know why. Feel free to cheer and sing the fight song yourself but get quiet as soon as the offense huddles. Remember, the minimization of crowd noise is for the greater benefit of our football team’s offense, the football team itself, and the university (i include the university because a good football team is always a benefit to the university).
And one last thing. You might be wondering where these instructions to the Cal Band came from. Good question. These instructions came from the man himself, God in corporeal form, Jeff Tedford. In God we trust.