Fly-Cam To The Rescue

A subtle, but rather amazing thing happened last night during the Patriots beatdown of the Falcons last night. Because of a thick Boston fog that had settled in over Gillette Stadium, NBC was forced to abandon their usual mid-sideline high angle cameras that are the meat-and-potatoes of football on TV for over 50 years.

Pressed into duty, was a full time live feed of the so-called “SkyCam.” As fans, we take SkyCam for granted. But we shouldn’t. It’s an invention of audacious physical and technical engineering. A full weight robotic camera that can “fly” around the stadium anywhere it wants, while safely secured by four long cables attached the stadium’s upper rim.

As soon as NBC switched their main live feed to SkyCam, I quickly found myself hypnotized. Wow. LOOK at this game! WATCH how the plays develop! You can basically see what the quarterback sees! It was like playing Madden, only you are watching Madden!

Making things even better, was the fact that NBC started following up every low-angle live play, with a HIGH angle “All-22” type replay. It. Was. Glorious.

So, tell me now, what button on my remote do I push that will allow me to watch EVERY NFL game this way? Oh, that will “cost extra” you say? Okay, I already pay $350 a year for the NFL product via DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket.” Surely I can access this feature through that, no?

Right.

Why do TV networks keep showing us the same-old-same-old TV angles they always have? Tradition, I suppose. Fear of losing a few ratings points, after some old coots and grandmothers get confused and say “How come the football game isn’t on TV right now? What is this? Is this practice?”

While I really don’t want to pay any more money to watch these games at home, I have to admit that IF you could pay a small fee to change to this camera angle full-time, all-the-time… well… go ahead NFL, show me the brochure and how much is it gonna cost?

About the Author

Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. He also appears on "Bob and Brian" in Milwaukee. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

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8 Comments

  1. In the playoffs a couple years ago at New England vs Kansas City, CBS had a tight kind of overhead camera shot pretty much the entire game. I thought it was cool but I never saw it again.

  2. BTW, with many of the marquee college games carried by ABC, watchespn.com will have iso streams of specific cameras. Can even stream live view from inside the control truck if that’s your thing. Yet another area where the college product blows away the NFL.

  3. The video says the NFL started using SkyCam in 2003. I could sworn was watching that thing invade standard camera shots longer than that.

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