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SBD/September 6, 2012/NFL Season Preview
Networks Look To Integrate More Social Media During NFL Broadcasts
Published September 6, 2012
CHANGES TO BROADCASTS: NBC is adding former NFLer Hines Ward to its "Football Night in America" crew this season, and NBC Sports Exec Producer Sam Flood said, "We'll be moving a few things around for our show, and some of that we'll feel out over the first couple of weeks. But overall we think we have a winning combination." Meanwhile, SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted for the first time in 19 years, Fox will "update its stage setup" on "Fox NFL Sunday." It also plans to introduce during games a "new graphics tracking system that tracks players on the field and follows them in real-time, where you can identify them on wide camera shots." Two banks of "eight unmanned cameras are set up high in-stadium at adjacent 35-yard lines; the cameras track all moving objects and technicians identify and tag players by number." Fox Sports President Eric Shanks: "It's kind of like the pointers for our NASCAR cars. I think it will be one of [the] most helpful innovations that we have come up with since the first-down line" (SI.com, 9/5).
LACKING SUBSTANCE: SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch examined the slate of NFL pregame shows and wrote they are a "smattering of people talking about nothing." ESPN’s "Sunday NFL Countdown" is the "best one, but only because it’s longer and, therefore, some actual football can’t help but sneak in accidentally." It is a "little shocking, when you sit down to watch the pregame shows outside the context of 'Hey, sweet, football’s starting in an hour,' just how empty and vapid they really are." They are the "CliffsNotes of the CliffsNotes of an analysis program." Leitch: "No one expects NFL pregame shows to feature some Socratic debate about the moral equivalency of violence, or even to name an actual football play, but even by the low standards of the genre, they’re shockingly vacuous. ... They are the worst part of sports, the piffle and flat empty air that we’re all constantly trying to wade through to get to the actual sports" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 9/4).