CBS Sports will cover the Super Bowl with 62 cameras, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a teleconference Thursday promoting the Feb. 3 game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
"That includes all of the unmanned cameras," he said. "It includes any aerial cameras we might have. But listen, there are a lot of cameras ..."
By comparison, the norm for Baltimore Ravens games, which were usually covered by second- or third-string CBS crews this year, has been 9 to 12 cameras.
So, that's got to be a big improvement, right, five times as many?
Not necessarily that big.
CBS said it used 32 or 33 cameras Sunday covering the Ravens victory in the AFC championship game, and the viewing experience didn't seem that enhanced to me.
When asked specifically during the teleconference how those extra cameras enhance the viewing experience, McManus said the proof was in the "picture" that viewers saw. He said the network mainly talks about such matters only to the media, who seem far more interested in it than viewers.
Harold Bryant, executive producer and vice president of production for CBS Sports, said "a lot" of the cameras "are there as a protection" only -- and viewers won't actually see them being used during the Super Bowl.
They are in place, Bryant said, "to make sure we can get the definitive look."
The one enhancement brought about by more and better technology that McManus did point to in Thursday's teleconference involved the use of "hyperzoom."
"We're employing this year what we're calling a hyperzoom system, which are special cameras that enable you to zoom into replays normally with a freeze frame in a lot clearer manner than you normally could, and we used it in both playoff games the last couple of weeks," McManus said. "We used it on a turnover in the game against Baltimore, which met all of our expectations."
He later said the play was the one in which Bernard Pollard hit Stevan Ridley separating the Patriots running back from the ball. The camera allowed viewers to clearly see the ball come out before any part of the runner's body touched the ground.
"When you used to zoom into a specific part of the screen on a replay, it used to get very very cloudy," McManus said. "Now, it's much clearer than it ever used to be. So, that's partially responsible for the extra cameras we have."
One of the most refreshing moments of the teleconference came when Shannon Sharpe, one of the regulars on the CBS Sports NFL pre-game show, was asked about fallout or feedback after he denounced Patriots coach Bill Belichick last week for refusing to give CBS an interview after his team lost Sunday.
"I said what I said," Sharpe began, insisting his remarks should no longer be an issue.
And then, he started naming all the coaches who had lost but still been gracious enough to talk to CBS.
"We saw John Harbaugh after Lee Evans dropped a touchdown that would have sent them to the Super Bowl," Sharpe said. "After he [Harbaugh] addressed his team, [we saw him] come outside the locker room and talk to our Steve Tasker. What does Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization do? They send Devin McCourty. Outside of New England, who knows Devin McCourty?"
Sharpe was only warming up.
"You don't give us Tom Brady. You don't give us Vince Wilfork ... I know it's tough... But as I said, there's something about being gracious in defeat. And I know Bill Belichick doesn't like it, but it's an obligation. It's a part of being a head coach in the National Football League... I said what I said, and, hey, I haven't had any my bosses tell me I was out of line. If I see something that I think is wrong, I'm going to say it."
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