The San Diego Chargers triumphed over the St. Louis Rams tonight 30 to 13. CBS televised the game. I suspect that the major networks are steadily unveiling advancements in graphics and screen display. These innovations mean more sophisticated and stream-lined enhancements of replays. These changes aren’t related to camera angles; instead, they concern the images and footage themselves. For instance, in the first quarter of this game (shortly before Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson made the evening’s first touchdown), there was a red zone graphic overlain in the red zone of the field. I’ve never seen this kind of graphic before. There were four rows (or columns depending on how you look at it) with statistic information in each one. I did some internet searching and came across this blog entry from 2006. The graphic that appeared tonight wasn’t as red or garish in appearance (I don’t recall seeing it all last year). I can understand why a person would find this sort of feature pointless or superfluous (excessive). If I were a fan of football-the-game before becoming a fan of football-the-televised-game, I would likely agree. But because my indoctrination into the cult of the NFL happened the other way around, I am more fascinated by this aesthetic element than appalled.
Another graphics feature implemented (I’m sure for the first time) is something I call the “Player Path.” As you’ve all seen in telecasts of the last few years, commentators often draw diagrams to accompany their observations of plays and players’ mistakes or displays of skill. Likely using or borrowing from that same technology that allows the commentators to “draw on the screen,” this Player Path, follows the path a particular player takes from the beginning to the end of a play, enriching the options of replay footage. In the case of tonight’s game, it appeared during the second quarter and highlighted an L-shaped trajectory taken by one of the players (I don’t remember who or from which team). The replay ran at normal speed (in other words, not slow motion) and captured a high angle long shot of the play. As the player ran towards the middle of the field in a rounded L, a yellow bar appeared under his footsteps.
CBS pulled out its picture-in-picture graphic in the third quarter when Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was interviewed via headset. He was in the upper left box and the field was in the lower right box.
As for the game-play itself, Chargers running back Darren Sproles made a beautiful 81-yard punt return touchdown at the very bottom of the second quarter. Chargers running back Tyrone Gross had to be taken off the field around the seven-minute mark in the fourth quarter. He was tackled and clutched his knee when he reached the ground. Among the replays of his fall included a medium close-up of his backside, which then became a brief extreme close-up of his face contorted in pain, an image I thought quite moving.
Speaking of the power of the picture, I loved it when the camera would catch the players expressing concern and affection toward their teammates, like the one Charger who re-adjusted his fellow Charger’s shoulder pad. For all the aggression that football players exhibit when they are on the field or the sidelines, there are these moments of tenderness–for lack of a better word–that grown (heterosexual) men typically do not overtly demonstrate towards one another.
To view the play by play of the game, click here.
I forgot to mention in the previous post that the Minnesota Vikings’ uniforms were so bright. Here is corner back Antoine Winfield after he made a touchdown.
Tune in next Friday, August 24, for the Falcons vs. Ravens game on NBC at 7:30pm and the Patriots vs. Panthers game on CBS at 8pm.
Pic cred: NFL.com