The Super Bowl is more than just a three-hour football game. NBC will invest a great deal of time and equipment to cover the championship.
This week NBC Sports officials spoke at length about production elements, the announcers and the six-hour pre-game show. Here’s a sampling of comments from NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus, executive producer Sam Flood, game producer Fred Gaudelli, game analyst Cris Collinsworth, host Bob Costas and analysts Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy.
Cris Collinsworth on appealing to the die-hard and casual fans: “I always sort of equate it to a party. If you’ve got a dinner party for six people that you know really well, the conversation’s going to take on a certain tone. If you have a hundred people that you don’t know all that well, the conversation is going to take on a little bit of a different tone. We’ll try to be as engrossing as we can. We want everybody to have a great time with this one. Let’s face it, there are probably going to be 80 million perspective clients of ours that we’d like to invite to our Sunday Night party come next year. So we’re going to try to make everybody have a great time. Probably a few more stories told early on just to set the cast of characters in this one, and certainly the pregame show will help us do that, too.
Bob Costas on the pre-game coverage: “The balance of what Sam Flood and his production team have put together is of interest to both avid football fans and to the casual viewers who fill out the audience and make it the biggest single audience in all of American television.”
Fred Gaudelli on new production elements: “There will be quite a few new production elements in terms of the graphics that we use to display information in terms of what we’ll do to personalize players. We just did some extensive photo shoots with both teams to try to give people a sense of the player without the helmet on and what he looks like and where he’s from, and hopefully his personality. With the Super Bowl, everything is bigger and bolder in terms of the presentation, and that will certainly be so. But when it comes right down to it, it’s all about how we’re going to cover this game. To me, that is the ultimate litmus test. How well will we do? We expect to do very well.”
Tony Dungy on preparing for the broadcast: “The preparation to me is exactly the same (as preparing when I was a head coach). I was saying that yesterday as we were screening plays and looking for just the right play to show what makes (Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady great. Looking for exactly the right angle of a play to show the New York Giants defense and how they’re going to rush the passer. To me, that is the fun part of it. I feel like we are going to be prepared as we go out there, and we are going to have a great performance because we’re putting the time in.”
Harrison on re-living David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII: “For a long time I carried a bitter taste in my mouth after having such a tough defeat. But after months and months of really carrying the burden of such a heck of a play by David Tyree, I’ve been able to recently release that. But it hurt me. I got a chance to watch it a couple times, and every time I see it, it still hurts.”
Sam Flood on getting Harrison and Tyree together on the set: “Just to make Rodney really comfortable during the show we’re doing a look back at what happened with that catch. Then live on the set, David Tyree and Rodney Harrison will be talking about that moment. I don’t think Rodney and David have been together for a while. We’re going to get them on that set, no rehearsal, just get them talking about that moment in the moment just having seen it re-told again.”
Flood on Dungy interviewing Giants coach Tom Coughlin: “Tony sat down with Coach Tom Coughlin. There is nothing quite like two coaches sitting down with Tony leading the way, getting the insights and understanding of a game plan. They’ve both gone against Bill Belichick, so both guys are talking about the curveballs, the unexpected twists and turns and game planning that these coaches will do against each other. It was a fun thing to look at and see happen.”
Flood on adding Aaron Rodgers and Hines Ward to the telecast: “We’ll also have two special guest analysts with us, Aaron Rodgers and Hines Ward, who happened to be on the field a year ago in the Super Bowl. Kind of fresh in their minds so they can take the audience to where these players are as the day progresses. Hines and Aaron will be with Bob Costas, talking about what’s going on and last minute planning. Aaron has great insight to the quarterback play. Hines is uniquely qualified. In addition to be a Super Bowl MVP, he played in the Super Bowl with the Steelers and one we did in Tampa Bay (2009) with an injury.”