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Panthers pump up the noise for trip to Seattle

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bank of America Stadium was like a pot of boiling water on the stove as the Carolina Panthers practiced Tuesday.

In preparation for the noise they’ll face in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, the Panthers closed all the entrances to the field and placed large speakers behind both goal posts and on the sidelines to contain the sound.

Only a handful of Carolina players have played at Seattle, the loudest venue in the NFL, so the coaching staff wanted to simulate as close as possible what they’ll face.

“The noise, it’s very hard to duplicate," said Panthers defensive tackle Colin Cole, who spent the 2009-2011 seasons with Seattle. “It’s not something that is duplicable unless we have a dome and you’re pumping noise in throughout the entire dome.

“The crowd noise we have is an opportunity to give guys a taste of what’s going to come. But I’ve been there when they’ve been on 10 and you can’t hear the person next to you talk."

Could Cole hear the person next to him on Tuesday?

“Yeah," he said. “It was good. It wasn’t quite there."

It was louder than it would have been had the Panthers pumped noise onto the practice fields in the open. But there’s really nothing any coach can do to completely prepare for the atmosphere that has helped the Seahawks go 24-2 at home since 2012.

“It is the hardest place to play in the NFL right now for a reason," Panthers strong safety Roman Harper said. “The crowd is very smart. They know when to cheer, when not to cheer. It’s usually rainy; it’s not always pretty out there."

Harper played at Seattle when it was its loudest in a 2010 NFC wild-card game when he was with the New Orleans Saints. The crowd noise registered on the seismograph when Marshawn Lynch had his 67-yard touchdown run that exemplified "Beast Mode."

Tight end Greg Olsen played there when he was with the Chicago Bears.

“It’s hard to really describe it to people," he said. “Playoff game coming off the Super Bowl, I can only imagine it’s probably even more so than when I was there a couple of years ago.

“But it’s great. It’s what you would expect. It’s the atmosphere you would want for a playoff game, and I think for guys that are experiencing it for the first time, it’ll be an experience that they’ll remember for a long time."

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said he never experienced a louder stadium than when the Panthers played at Seattle in the NFC championship game following the 2005 season.

“Without a doubt, it was then and it still is the loudest stadium that we’ve played in," he said. “That still to me shouldn’t have an effect on this game. We’ve played in loud stadiums before, and it is all about going out and executing.

“We understand it is going to be loud and that it will be new to our offense that their fans are going to be loud. We practice with crowd noise, and we’ve just got to be able to handle that situation and I’m confident that we will.”

Fullback Mike Tolbert summed up as well as anybody how the Panthers feel about the noise.

“It is [loud]," he said. “But at the same time, the crowd is not playing the game."