Broadcasting Tension

In a post regarding an article in The Atlantic on NFL broadcasts, Jason Kottke theorizes that the advent of instant replay beyond just a television tool, but as an official part of the game, lends itself to greater drama and tension for the viewer.  Supposedly in place to correct blatant errors from stealing a team’s victory, it has become to be used to verify all calls and take away the instant release of excitement and euphoria with a score.

Take the cited Santanio Holmes touchdown as an example.  Instead of an official making a call on the field, we were subject to minutes of review which broadcasters fill with speculation if there was a hair-width of space between one foot and the ground.  It was obvious to me that the official made the best call with the visual information available and the time on the review was unnecessary.  Since this was not a blatant blown or missed call by an official, the review process actually suppresses the celebration as well as delaying it.  I appreciate my memories pre-replay of many touchdowns scored late or last minute goals where you knew it counted if it was not immediately waved off.  I would not trade catches waved off or goals disallowed for teams I supported if it meant replacing it with a long drawn out review process.

Regarding The Atlantic article on NFL broadcasts, it shows to many Canadians the NFL broadcast production is not just about the quantity of cameras, technology and money they throw at it.  The whole televison crews are specialists for broadcasting football, from the camera operators to directors to the commentators.  Using all specialists for their broadcasts is easy not just because of the money in the television contracts, but because of the economies of scale.  In Canada, in an eight to ten team league, and one or two broadcasters you are not going to to see the hours of coverage needed to develop specialists.  It shows in the camera work and direction of CFL games.  It was worse when the CBC had the broadcast rights as their camera operators from across the country would work across all kinds of genres, from sports to news.  Hockey on the other hand does not require as much skill to broadcast.  Nothing has worked better than the pan up and down the ice method that has been in use since the first televised hockey broadcast over 50 years ago.

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