Behind the Scenes: In-Game Promos

tonightoncbsEver wonder what a drop in is? Then drop everything and watch this new video from NFL Filmsspecifically the portion that starts at the 3:14 mark.

It’s a must-see for anyone who wants to know more about the proud tradition of On Air Promotion within CBS Sports broadcasts.

The video highlights the genius of the late Pat Summerall, whose on air announcements during NFL Football on CBS “resonated almost as much as the football history unfolding on the field.”

Today, in-game promos continue to deliver invaluable impressions thanks to their unique proximity to live sports action. And the sportscasters who “drop in” these 10-second messages take them as seriously as the marketing directors who craft them.

Here I am in the booth with Jim Nantz at the Patriots/Steelers game on November 3, 2013 reviewing the blue cards containing the all-important copy football fans would be anticipating throughout the game to come. “These are the most important things you’ll read today!” I remind him.

Here I am in the booth with Jim Nantz at the Patriots/Steelers game on November 3, 2013 reviewing the blue cards containing the all-important copy football fans would be anticipating throughout the game to come. “These are the most important things you’ll read today!” I remind him.

In-game promos remain as important as ever to the success of our primetime shows. As we look forward to those we will hear this coming Sunday, take an enlightening look back at how they evolved and hear some interesting insights from those who remember them best.

Click here and skip to 3:14
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-films-presents/0ap2000000277313/NFL-Films-Presents-In-game-promos

Behind the Broadcast: CBS Sports Director Suzanne Smith

She wouldn’t call herself a “pioneer,” but CBS Sports Director Suzanne  Smith definitely knows who she is.  Whether directing an NFL game, US Open Tennis or NCAA Basketball, Suzanne is at the top of her game.  I am so proud to have seen her grow at CBS Sports from a production assistant to one of our business’ top professionals.  Suzanne is skilled and talented, and warm and generous.

suzanne smith and gs.jpegI dropped by her production truck at last weekend’s Patriots vs. Jets game at Met Life Stadium, where we caught up on recent events.  I found her in the “camera meeting” where she was talking with her camera crew, forecasting what the game could be like and the key players to cover. The broadcast was flawless, exciting and  even went to overtime. It’s easy to see why I’m such a big fan.

She recently gained some notoriety in this Sports Illustrated profile. Please check it out!

Time Out!

Me with Jimmy Hadder, CBS Field Manager and TV Timeout Coordinator.

Me with Jimmy Hadder, CBS Field Manager and TV Timeout Coordinator.

Did you ever wonder how the football referees know when the commercial breaks are ending and they can get back to the game?  Meet Jimmy Hadder, CBS’s number one “Red Hat.”  He’s the link between our CBS game producer and the lead official.  When we are in a commercial, Jimmy steps on to the field and relays to the ref how much time is left.  They meet before the game to coordinate the signals and the format so good communication is key.

So what’s with the term “Red Hat”?    Years ago, when this started, the CBS person on the sideline wore a red cap, so the ref could easily spot them.  After a few years, there were too many people with red hats on the sideline, so they graduated to wearing huge orange/Day-Glo mittens. They were almost like giant hand warmers … more easily spotted and very unlikely that anyone else on the side would have them.  When they crossed their arms on their chest, that signaled the break.  Now you know.

Jimmy with the ref.

Jimmy with the ref.

Communication is key.

Communication is key.

 

 

 

Farewell to an iconic locale

farewellcandlestickparkI used the occasion of a recent CBS football game at famed Candlestick Park in San Francisco to visit this historic stadium for the last time.  This is its farewell year. It’s being replaced by a state of the art high tech facility called Levi’s Field in Santa Clara … about 40 miles down the road in Silicon Valley. By the way, that stadium will house Super Bowl 50 on CBS in two years!

Candlestick is old and creaky yet filled with personality and history.  The baseball Giants played there for years (until 2000), and the famous “earthquake” World Series game took place in October of 1989.

It’s right on SF bay, and I recall Vin Scully’s classic description of “Baghdad by the Bay” when he called the historic Cowboys-49ers NFC Championship game (January 1982) where Joe Montana hooked up with Dwight Clark for “the Catch!”

Here are some shots I took at the Colts/49ers game.  The Colts won big time.

controlroommonitorview

View of the stadium from the control room monitor.

insidestadium

Field view of Candlestick Park.

 

The antiquated press box where hundreds of broadcasts took place.

The antiquated press box where hundreds of broadcasts took place.

 

A true SF fan ...

A true SF fan …