Monday, October 17, 2005

Peyton On Air...and What I Want for Next Season

Monday night's Colts game against St. Louis marks the first time an NFL quarterback will wear an on-field microphone. Peyton Manning will be mic'd allowing the television audience to hear everything that ABC chooses to air. The idea is for the audience to hear audibles and play calls on the line of scrimmage but nothing that will affect team play. (I doubt you'll hear the huddle on air, but maybe we'll get a sidelines shoving match!) Either way, if it works, it certainly won't be the last time you you hear the on-field quarterback calls in the NFL. Remember when mic'ing the refs was new?

Technology in sports certainly isn't a bad thing, especially when it can enhance the viewing experience at home. (OK, geeky sports alert: Geeky sports reference ahead.) Mic'ing the team and putting cameras in strategic places was pioneered in part during the coverage of the last two America's Cups (and preliminary events leading up to them like the Louis Vuitton Cup.) Prior to on board cameras and microphones watching sailboats race was like watching grass grow. Now, televised sailing typically works with two or more on-board cameras -- one on the mast below the boom looking back, one mounted on the backstay, and often one in front of the mast looking forward across the foredeck. Other shots come from chase boats and helicopters. During the last two America's Cup series, seeing -- and hearing -- the action made more sense. Viewers could not only see the crew actively working but also hear the conversations between the tacticians and skippers. Per LV Cup, America's Cup, and ISAF rules, teams are not permitted to receive outside broadcasts after the race starts so there's no chance of them listening in. All in all, a perfect enhancement for making viewers a direct part of the action. (End geeky sports reference.)

With all this technology for viewers at home, I think someone needs to come up with a whole new system for viewers inside the stadium that's just as robust as the TV experience. I'd like a pair of glasses with a bluetooth enabled receiver that not only let me hear the broadcast channel of my choice (from an outside network or, say, a secure coach's channel) but also gave me the visual electronic line for the first down and, when needed, the line of scrimmage. (It's true about being an entrepreneur -- you see business ideas *everywhere*!) You could buy them in the stadium (or even rent them if they were very expensive) giving the in-house fans the best of both worlds. In the meantime, I'll settle for watching tonight's game -- with Peyton on air at least. Technological progress is often measured in very small yardage gains.


At Mon Oct 17, 03:40:00 PM, Anonymous D T Nelson said...

Braingirl, Purdue is on the way there. Not all the way yet, and not Bluetooth, but 802.11. Take your PDA the next time you go to Ross-Ade Stadium.

At Thu Oct 20, 02:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting! Looks like they're getting there -- but where's my first down marker?!


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