Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl XLI ... and III

No official television ratings in yet for Sunday's Super Bowl, but most industry experts expect strong numbers. I may be in the minority, but I actually think they'll hold steady or even go down. More on that when the numbers become available.

I hope you got the chance to see the NFL Network's replay of the entire Super Bowl III (Colts-Jets) telecast Saturday night. Two things stood out after watching this wonderful piece of sports media history--

Today's technology is obviously light-years ahead of 1969. The NBC telecast was fairly primitive, with very few camera angles and almost no replays. Back then, just having the game in color (or "living color" as the announcers kept saying) was a feat. It's staggering to think of the technological advances that have been made in sports media the past four decades.

But the other key point is this: great technology doesn't necessarily make for a better product or viewing experience. The NBC pre-game show lasted about 15 minutes and contained only brief interviews with players. Contrast that to yesterday's pre-game shows, some of which began 8 hours before kickoff. NBC's coverage of the game was understated and straight to the point. The announcers (headlined by legendary broadcaster Curt Gowdy) described and analyzed the action on the field, and didn't try to sell anything or hype NBC's evening lineup. Halftime was a marching band and an on-field interview with Bob Hope.

In short, NBC covered a football game. Last night, CBS broadcast an event. For those of us who still watch sports on television for the game, the visit to Super Bowl III Saturday night was well worth the trip.


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