- Week 11’s “Thursday Night Football” matchup will use the Skycam as the primary camera for the entire broadcast.
- The Skycam became an essential part of NBC’s production after fog in New England was so thick that the traditional cameras couldn’t see what was happening on the field.
- The Skycam view of the game is often called the “Madden Cam,” as it is the angle most often used during football video games.
Week 11’s Thursday-night matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans will highlight an underused feature of NBC’s football broadcasts: the SkyCam. Last week NBC announced that the SkyCam, normally used to show replays and sparingly employed during live play, would be the primary camera during “Thursday Night Football” Week 11.
The Skycam offers a lengthwise view of the football field from behind the offense as opposed to the traditional view from one of the sidelines. Some refer to the view of the game from the Skycam as the “Madden Cam,” as it is the angle most often used during football video games, including the über-popular “Madden” franchise.
The change in view became a noteworthy addition to NBC’s national coverage after fog rolled in to New England during “Sunday Night Football” in Week 7 and the production team had to adjust to broadcasting from the Skycam in real time. The coverage was widely praised for giving viewers a new perspective of the action on the field.
NBC employed the Skycam again during “Sunday Night Football” in Week 9, when smoke from halftime fireworks in Miami didn’t clear before the Dolphins and the Raiders took the field for the second half.
The new perspective not only marks a change of pace but can also offer football fans a more complete look at the field and an opportunity to follow plays as they develop in real time. More specifically, it gives viewers the chance to follow receivers as they run routes and to see holes develop for running backs along the offensive line.
“We are excited to present a game with the majority of live-action coverage coming from Skycam,” said Fred Gaudelli, the executive producer of NBC’s football coverage.
His statement continued:
“After pivoting out of necessity to Skycam in the New England fog, we’ve been aggressively planning and testing with the intent of utilizing the system for a full game. Younger generations of NFL fans have grown accustomed to watching football from this angle through their love of video games. This telecast will have a look and feel akin to that experience.”
For now, the change is just a one-off, but with the NFL looking to recapture eyeballs after weeks of disappointing ratings, and broadcasters working on new ways to innovate and improve viewers’ experience of the product, don’t be surprised if the Skycam becomes a more prominent aspect of NBC’s football coverage if Thursday’s run is successful.