Imagine it is the fourth quarter of an important NFL game. Maybe it is a playoff game, or maybe a playoff berth is at stake. There are less than two minutes left. The away team is trailing. Their quarterback steps up to the line. To make this example more interesting, let's make the quarterback Peyton Manning.
As we have seen him do countless times, Manning surveys the defense and sees something he doesn't like, so he begins his routine of shouting and signaling the adjustments he needs his teammates to make. But on this particular Sunday, there is a distraction beyond a noisy road crowd.
As a result of a promotion, or a coordinated effort by some very dedicated fans, the added noise from vuvuzelas proves to be too much for Manning and the Colts to overcome, and their attempt at last minute heroics fails.
The vuvuzela is a type of horn that originated in South Africa and was used in the past to summon people in nearby villages to meetings. In recent years, it has become associated with South African soccer.
This year's World Cup in South Africa has greatly increased the international exposure of the traditional horn. Many people have complained about the distracting noise it makes for television viewers. Opposing teams have also complained about the noise, but the horn's use is not restricted to South African sporting events anymore.
On June 19, the Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball gave away 15,000 vuvuzelas to fans in preparation for a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. According to the Palm Beach Post, many Marlins players complained about the noise and some even wore earplugs.
The noise from the horns may have caused confusion between now former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and the home plate umpire during a lineup change that led to the Marlins losing the game.
While the vuvuzela is only a minor annoyance now, it could affect the NFL in a big way if nothing is done about it. If used strategically by a home team, it could affect the outcome of a game, as outlined in my example.
I don't know about you, but I don't want any part of hearing the noise those horns create while trying to watch an NFL game. And I also want no part of the controversies that would inevitably arise from questionable outcomes of games.
If Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners are smart, they will ban vuvuzelas from NFL stadiums now before any type of problem is caused by their use.