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Jim Nantz: Cameramen Are The Real Heroes In a Broadcast of a Cold Game

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 2:18 PM, under , , , , , , ,

Athens, GA (Jan 16, 2008) - The coldest game I have ever been to and worked was a December Eagles game in Philadelphia some years ago. How cold was it? The portable toilets were frozen, and fans were throwing iceballs at Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw in the broadcast booth (it had no windows). In today's CBS Sports AFC Championship Game conference call, Jim Nantz said that the coldest game he had ever attended was the 1979 Cotton Bowl, also called the Chicken Soup Game. Unfortunately, his Cougars lost 35-34 on a Notre Dame comeback led by a flu-ridden Joe Montana.

But he did make an important point on the call. The real heroes of a game broadcast are the cameramen on the field during adverse weather conditions, such as the cold and wind forecast for this weekend. "We have heaters in the booth and Phil [Simms] has an electric blanket. We have it easy compared to them," says Nantz.

A CBS Sports cameraman getting ready for the November 2007 Auburn-Georgia football game in good weather.
Photograph Copyright 2007 by Christopher Byrne/Eye on Sports Media. All Rights Reserved.

Lance Barrow, who is producing the game, pointed out that rain is more problematic. "
Our cameras are designed for extreme heat and cold. Our crew is very experienced and are used to all elements. They know how to dress and handle it." said Barrow. In fact, Barrow said that snow would not be the worst thing to happen. "It makes for a much better picture," he said.

Rain, on the other hand, will force different decisions on camera selection. Blizzard-like conditions will force greater use of the sideline hand-helds, according to Nantz.

Other Notes From the Call

Sean McManus,
President, CBS News and Sports, said that they may have been a little disappointed that having the Chargers in the championship game may have hurt ratings a little but, they would be REALLY disappointed if the Patriots had failed to make it...on the issue of CBS Sports not using sideline reporters, McManus said they will not be revisiting the decision, as they get quicker information from the NFL through other channels. He quoted Tony Petitti, CBS Sports Executive Vice President and Executive Producer, as having said "The complaint line not ringing off the hook, so we are not going to revisit it"...Leslie Visser will be doing a rare feature package on the NFL Today pregame show. Why is it rare? According to McManus, "People wanted less features and more talking in the pre-game show. Having fewer games later in the season opens up time for features. And after a while, features all start to look alike and canned, so we wanted to lessen the focus on that...This will be the 8th New England game called by Nantz and Simms this year...Phil Simms says he does not get why people are getting on Chargers Quarterback Phillip Rivers case for being so emotional, when people in New York say that New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning does not get emotional enough. "Just don't shout at the fans, and you will be OK. Otherwise you will never win," is the advice Simms has for Rivers.

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