THE NEW YORK Giants are contemplating another step forward in the wiring of football for sound. Distressed by the fact that crowd noise caused some of their players to miss signals in a game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants are talking about fitting helmets with broadcasting and receiving apparatus to prevent similar misunderstandings in the future. "We've got to do something," said the Giants' general manager, George Young, "but we don't want to discourage the crowds. Let them yell all they want."
But why should they be limited to yelling, and why should they be shut out of the conversation? Why, in an age when anyone can carry his own stereo sound system in a shirt pocket, when there are microphones in huddles, in sideline conferences, on referees, can't everyone in the stadium be electronically equipped to take part in an enormous colloquy and group-encounter session, with every word carried over the stadium loudspeakers? Imagine how much it would help a quarterback to be able to discuss, with a large and sympathetic group, the indignity of being sacked 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage:
"People, as a quarterback and a human being, I just can't relate to this sort of thing. That guy nearly killed me; I never saw him coming. I think he busted my transmitter."
"No, Lance, it's okay; we can all hear you fine."
"Good to know that, Zemansky, but I wish you hadn't missed your blocking assignment there."
"That's right, Lance, embarrass me in front of 70,000 people."
"Pardon me, Lance, this is Harry Kibble in Section 33. From Bayonne. (Scattered applause, whistles and yells for Bayonne.) You don't wanta get hurt, Lance? Well maybe you shouldn't call dumb plays like that one."
"Well, Harry, maybe you weren't listening when Zemansky came into the huddle, because I didn't call that play -- it was sent in from the bench. Right, Coach Fenmar?"
"Right, Lance, and I'd do the same thing again."
"Uh, pardon me. I'm Lisa in Section 12, up behind you. It seems to me, Lance, that if we can hear what the play's going to be, maybe the guys on the other team are listening in, too."
(Cries from the opposing team of "No, no, why we'd never . . . How could she even suggest . . .")
"Excuse me, fellows, I'll handle this. Are you saying, Lisa, that we should shut our opponents out of things? Just sort of form our own little clique and not have any verbal interaction with them at all? That seems to me to say a lot more about your problem than ours."
"Ours being that we're losing 45 to 10."
"Thank you, Zemansky; now go get in the huddle. Really, I'd like to talk with a lot more of you and get some additional input on this during the next TV commercial break, but right now I have to run a couple of plays. After all, we do have a football game going on here."