What’s Wrong With the TV!?

December 12, 2013 | Dwayne Showalter

I came home from Sunday’s Ravens game thinking that it was one of the most bizarre gameday experiences I’ve ever had at an NFL game.  The snow was simply a scene…it looked like a snow globe there in the first quarter.  The finish was just outrageous.  People in the seats, many in areas they had never been around people they had never sat with, were just shaking their heads in disbelief.  Throw in my personal experience of how I got there and with who, and multiple tailgates and how i got home, well, it was something else.

I watched the beginning and the end of the game on my DVR late that night.  Once FOX superimposed the field grid, I found myself conflicted.  It did help somewhat in knowing down and distance and whereabouts on the field.  Being there, i felt not knowing made it that much more entertaining.  How funny was it the first time they had to measure for a first down??  It was a pretty impressive technical feat though.  It also started me thinking about some of the things networks still haven’t figured out.

The whole idea of superimposing stuff on the screen brings up an interesting thought. One that Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park , Dr. Malcom, posed to the park’s founder and creator Mr. Hammond:  “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”  I’ll give FOX the nod for Sunday’s innovation.

But what about the image shown above?  Granted, the continuous scoreboard was a tremendous advancement for television viewers.  It gave us score, time and down and distance at a glance.  But why the superimposed stamp on the field with the same down and distance information already posted at the top of the screen.  The screen cap here is from CBS, but all the networks are doing this in the NFL.  They’ll go the extra mile when the play clock runs down too.

I’ve seen it on basketball games with the shot clock.  Its already running at the top of the screen.  Why do I need it twice??  And in baseball, I’ve seen the “lead line” that tells me a runner has a big lead.  C’mon, really?  Do we need that as viewers?

Hockey broadcasts crack me up too.  The boards a covered in advertising.  So is the ice between the blue lines.  Superimposing the dot around the puck years ago was a failure so lets make up that money we lost there with this: 

Advertising superimposed on the glass!  Brilliant!!  At least the fans can’t see it, unlike when the glass behind the net broke the other night in Florida.

I’ll tell you one thing the networks could do to enhance the game…shift the camera frame to deepest player in the offensive backfield.  HDTV has been mainstream for a decade now.  Why do I need to see 5 yards of empty field behind the running backs or the quarterback when i could see down field where patterns and defenses are unfurling.

It would sure be nice to see the route or deep safeties instead of that referee back there.  I thought when HD took over, this was a no-brainer.

The ticker has outlived itself too.  Its 2013 and everyone has a computer and can check scores whenever they want.  And it really hoses me when i am double-playing two college football games on a Saturday night.  Let’s go networks.  Get out of the dinosaur ages.