As the lead sideline reporter for NFL on CBS, Tracy Wolfson knows her way around an NFL stadium. In fact, she knows her way around just about all of them and appreciates the uniqueness that each one brings.
“Seattle is known for (noise), and (so is) Kansas City,” Wolfson said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Those are the two loudest stadiums I’ve been in. It’s a true home-field advantage, whether it’s extra music pumped in – even though you’re not really supposed to do that. The fans, they pack it, the way the stadium is set up – that noise really, really affects a team. It’s tough to prepare for. It’s tough to hear. I have two ear pieces in my ear trying to drown that out, and it’s still difficult. But those two are really a tough environment.”
So is another AFC West venue: Oakland Coliseum.
“You get a team like Oakland when they’re playing well this year, just because of the Oakland fans, the Black Hole, the way they’re on top of you – that’s another place that really stands out to me in terms of noise factor and difficulty on the road to play,” Wolfson said. “I (also) love being in Denver. The fans are tremendous there. It’s always packed, it’s always sold out, they get really loud, and then you get that Colorado sky. I love being in Denver as well. And then you have the classics like Lambeau. You can’t go wrong. It’s a true home-field advantage playing in Lambeau just because of the history that’s there and then of course when the weather sets in.”
The Packers beat the Giants, 38-13, at Lambeau Field this past Sunday. Now it’s on to Jerry’s World for an NFC divisional showdown. Kickoff is Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET.
“I love going to Dallas,” Wolfson said. “It’s like you’re in Hollywood and you’re just placed inside this dome and it’s all see and be seen, whether there’s celebrities or just people watching and the enormity of the screen up top, the way it’s laid out. I don’t think it’s necessarily the noisiest, but it’s just a very, very cool environment. Any team that’s walked in that’s evener played in there before, they really do make sure to take a moment, if not come the day before, to kind of just get their bearings because it is a little overwhelming when you walk in there.”
Dallas beat Green Bay, 30-16, at Lambeau Field in Week 6, but the playoffs are a different animal, especially when your two most important players – Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott – are rookies.
How much does experience matter in the postseason?
“I think coaches bring it up to a point,” Wolfson said. “I was with Miami this past weekend, and Adam Gase certainly brought it up to his team. They only had 13 players with playoff experience. So there were a lot of players that and been on that team for a really long time but never had the opportunity (and were) finally getting their first shot. What Adam Gase made sure to mention is the intensity level is ratcheted up. Playoffs are a bigger stage, and everything is just bigger and faster. You really feel it, but not until you step out onto the field and the game begins. You don’t realize how it’s another level when it comes to the postseason. So I do think that coaches and players talk amongst themselves and bring it up. Le’Veon Bell mentioned that players were talking to him about what to expect, and every player, I think, handles it differently. I’m sure there’s nerves out there (given) what’s on the line and not knowing what to expect, but I think it really falls on the coaches and veteran players that have been there before to kind of just explain to those young players or players who haven’t had that opportunity what to expect in the playoffs.”