By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) It was a revelation born of necessity, but it might be ushering in a visionary change that was long overdue.
Heavy fog forced NBC to rely on its SkyCam as the main viewing angle for the Falcons/Patriots game two weeks ago, and the positive feedback that resulted has spurred them to commit to using it more. Thursday night’s broadcast not only explained the decision to the audience but previewed the new look on several drives, giving us what younger fans know well as their familiar “Madden” angle. It will be in use for the full Titans/Steelers game next Thursday.
The video game perspective gives the viewer a much more active and dynamic position, seeing the action like a quarterback. Blocking schemes, defensive fronts and throwing windows are better revealed, and it provides new understanding of how and why a passer reacts to what he sees in real time.
This is a first but big step toward modernizing the look of NFL games that has had little changed from the earliest days of broadcasting, and it could stand further experimentation. So much more information can be made available as the action is occurring, and all of us will get used to a new presentation as things get phased in.
Our screens are enormous now, capable of handling more than one view at a time. What’s more, our brains and eyes are used to navigating multiple sources at any given moment. What we used to call distraction, we now just call human existence.
There will be trial and error in the process of making sports better on television, but the confidence to step out and try should be applauded.