SBJ/Sept. 30-Oct. 7, 2013/NFL Stadium Experience

Working up the crowd in St. Louis

Edward Jones Dome, which opened in 1995, is lacking some of the amenities of the newer NFL stadiums. It does have a video board in each end zone — one of them wide enough for video and constant updates of scores and fantasy stats. The other, smaller one just shows video.

That means the fans in about 20 percent of the building are deprived of the wider board with all of the NFL stats and scores. This is a shame, because the Rams’ vice president of broadcasting and creative, Scott Brooks, director Kent Samuel and their staff do an excellent job of informing the fans who are able to see the larger board.

The Rams’ big end zone video board kept fans plugged in, thanks to Scott Brooks (below) and staff.
Photos by: CHRISTOPHER BOTTA / STAFF
In the 90 minutes before the game, the board was filled with RedZone coverage and up-to-the-minute stats. During the game, as soon as the second quarter ended, Samuel said to his staff on the headset, “Let’s go right to the RedZone Channel.” Highlights from earlier games were shown, as were parts of the final minutes of the first half of the Packers-49ers game.

The Rams also did a good job of replaying all important plays, whether they were good or bad for the home team. In most cases, multiple angles were provided.

Fans were able to see that a late hit by a Rams
cornerback with 6:35 left in the second quarter was justly penalized. Booing of the officials ceased. With 13:01 left in the game, St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher threw the challenge flag because he thought his receiver had scored. But fans watching the video board had already seen on the replay that the receiver’s knee touched the ground a yard from the end zone and that Fisher had wasted his challenge.

Later, with 9:04 left in the game and the Rams having tied the score at 24, the St. Louis game presentation crew went to its version of a classic bit. You got it: They queued up a video mash-up of inspirational clips from “Gladiator,” “Hoosiers” and “Remember the Titans” — with snippets of “Animal House” and “Slap Shot” thrown in for laughs — to fire up the crowd. It’s an old bit seen in virtually every stadium, for every sport.

But you know what? It worked. Final score: Rams 27, Cardinals 24.

Of course, maybe the pumped-up crowd helped, maybe it didn’t. How do you gauge something like that? But facts are facts. The fans grew louder from the start of the video to the end of it, and stayed that way until the game ended, loving every second of it.

So whether real or not, the crowd walked away feeling like they were a part of the victory. That makes people want to come back, and that’s a good thing.

— Christopher Botta

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