Behind the Mic: Our (Not ESPN) Game Day at Harvard

 

Our (Not ESPN) Game Day at Harvard

Harvard Game images (2)

When I arrived at Harvard Stadium on Saturday, October 19 at 11:00 AM for the 1:00 PM Lafayette Harvard game, I took an immediate look at our broadcasting location high atop this national historic landmark. I was well aware the only way to the top was by climbing (in this case, “historic” means “old” which also means “no elevator”). I knew I could get an answer to my question, “How many steps to the top?” The crew members, within hearing distance, in unison shouted, “150!” Before I let out a big moan, I considered THEIR plight in setting up to do the broadcast.

The crew of 13 left Bath at 7:00 AM on Friday and headed to Boston. It took the RCN caravan a good six hours to get there. Then their day really began. Over 1,000 feet of video cable and more than 500 feet of audio cable needed to be run. The 150 steps (that I previously alluded to) needed to be climbed at least 10 times. The wire needed to be run to every vantage point to bring the game to the viewers the next day. It took approximately 65 man hours before they could confidently head to their hotel for the day.

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Saturday morning, the crew awoke at 6:30 AM to grab some breakfast and head to the stadium for an 8:00 AM arrival. Remember those 150 steps? Now they had to be traversed with five extremely heavy cameras. The cameras were then hooked to the cables that had been put in place the previous day. Over the next four hours, satellite coordinates needed to be captured. Contact with RCN, WBPH, ESPN and MASN needed to be established. Audio and video needed to be checked. All graphics needed to be inserted, and the production electronics (fades, camera punches, replays, etc.) needed to be tested. All of this so our viewers on RCN, WBPH, and the internet can enjoy 3 ½ hours of football coverage!

Harvard-Game-images(3)

Once the broadcast comes to its conclusion, the past two days of work are all reversed. Everything that was placed in the stadium now must be returned to the truck. Yep – those 150 steps again (for about the 30th time). That breakdown was completed around 5:30 PM. The estimated time of arrival in Bath was six hours later, which held true because everyone was back at the studio at 11:30 PM Saturday night.

I was going to tell you about MY weekend. I studied my game notes on Friday afternoon in a beautiful hotel room. I sighed when I realized I had to climb the 150 steps ONCE. I thought I would complain about being outside under a tent to do the broadcast. I was going to whine about the wind gusts that kept trying to blow all of our notes all over the place. I was going to tell you that by the end of the game, it got a little chilly. I was going to do all those things, but then I thought of the work the crew did. I had a great day by comparison.

 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. The preseason prognosticators (me included) felt the Eagles would have one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season. Well, this past week, they played pretty well against the Dallas Cowboys only to see their offense look just awful. Poor throws, dropped passes, no running game, and an inexperienced quarterback all led to a 17-3 defeat. It was the first time Chip Kelly coached a college or professional team that did not score a touchdown. It was hard to watch. One writer referred to it as, “The stink at the Linc.”

2. If all three Eagles’ quarterbacks are healthy for the Giants this week, which one would you start? To me, it has to be Michael Vick.

3. It was fun being in Boston this past weekend for the Harvard-Lafayette game. Boston is one of the greatest sports towns in the U.S. and Boston fans love their Red Sox. They proved worthy of that love by heading to the World Series with a dramatic grand slam home run by Shane Victorino (oh, that hurts the Phillies fans). The Head of the Charles Regatta attracted 9,000 athletes and over 300,000 spectators on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile in the NFL, the New England Patriots played the Jets in New Jersey. Suffice it to say, the city was alive and I spoke with more Regatta crew members than I ever imagined.

4. Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs are now the only undefeated team in the NFL. They play Cleveland, Buffalo, Washington, Oakland, Indianapolis, and will play Denver and San Diego twice. They will not win the rest. However, since the Super Bowl began, 31 teams have started 7-0 and all 31 qualified for the playoffs. 15 of those advanced to the Super Bowl and nine won it all.

5. Whitehall won a hard-fought game against Emmaus on Friday night. The Lehigh Valley Conference logjam is now down to three teams – Whitehall, Easton, and Parkland. That number will be reduced to two after Friday night as Whitehall plays at Easton at 7:00 PM (live on RCN TV). I will be traveling to Worcester, Massachusetts to cover the Lafayette – Holy Cross game and will miss some good high school games this weekend. However, I’ll be back to cover the Emmaus at Parkland game on Friday, November 1 (live on RCN TV at 7:00 PM).

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK (10-5: Last week; 67-40 overall 63%)
CAROLINA
SAN FRANCISCO
GIANTS
DETROIT
KANSAS CITY
NEW ORLEANS
NEW ENGLAND
CINCINNATI
PITTSBURGH
DENVER
ATLANTA
GREEN BAY
SEATTLE

Behind the Mic: NFL Parity – A Worthwhile Goal?

 

NFL Parity – A Worthwhile Goal?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
“Parity” is defined as “the quality or state of being equal or equivalent.”

“Competition” is defined as “the act or process of trying to get or win something that someone else is also trying to get or win.”

The NFL prides themselves on creating a league where parity is the goal; therefore, taking competition to the highest level – where, well, you know… “On any given Sunday…”

The NFL is designed to help those teams that are struggling, and vice versa to put up roadblocks to those teams that are always successful. They do it by a draft system, which allows those with the least success the previous season the opportunity to take the best college players first. There is free agency, where teams can negotiate with players from other teams when their contracts have expired, and a salary cap where there is an agreed upon limit that a team can spend on players. The ultimate goal is to give every team a fair shot at success. This, of course, gives every fan the feeling at the start of the season that their team can, not only compete, but win. And, it seems to be working.

This past week, New England lost to Cincinnati (what?) and Tom Brady did not throw a TD pass for the first time in the last 53 games. The Cleveland Browns have won three games in a row (what?). No one in the NFC East has a winning record (what?). Pittsburgh is 0-4! Kansas City is 5-0 (they won two games last year)! Based on the Vegas odds, there were six upsets this past week out of 13 games, and one game where the point spread was not covered. In almost half of the games, the underdog won.

Parity has arrived, but is it good? Well, it does appear that the “On any given Sunday…” adage has been achieved. However, it also appears to this fan that mediocre football has also been achieved. I cannot believe how inept the Giants look; how awful the Steelers are; how very average the Patriots appear to be; how bad the Eagles (who are currently tied for first place in their division) have looked, and so on and so on. Perhaps the best example is how Dallas now deserves to be only Dallas’ team, not America’s.

I have spent the first few Sundays watching NFL Red Zone and I love it. This week, however, I watched a game from start to finish and I was shocked. NFL Red Zone, for the most part, shows teams moving down the field as they are about to score; in other words, at their most successful moments. When I watched only two teams play one complete game this weekend, I saw what Red Zone does not show me – how bad teams are MOST of the time.

To this NFL football fan, parity has been achieved – almost every team now plays MEDIOCRE FOOTBALL!

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK (8-6: Last week; 48-29 overall 62%)
 
CHICAGO
KANSAS CITY
PHILADELPHIA
GREEN BAY
CLEVELAND
MINNESOTA
HOUSTON
JETS
CINCINNATI
SEATTLE
DENVER
SAN FRANCISCO
NEW ORLEANS
DALLAS
INDIANAPOLIS