Don't count Fox announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman among the ranks of Super Bowl spectators who are dreading the possibility of cold weather Sunday evening for Super Bowl XLVIII.
Buck and Aikman, who each will be calling their fourth Super Bowl, are excited about what the weather element will bring to the NFL's biggest showcase. Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews will be the sideline reporters.
“The fans in New Orleans and those other indoor stadiums have been great,” Aikman said in a recent conference call. “We've had big games in them. But I think there's something to be said for playing in the elements, whatever those might be.”
“A lot of the complaints come from people that are going to be put out from having to walk through the cold to get to a Super Bowl party,” Buck said. “And that really has nothing to do with what we're talking about. This is a football game. These guys don't play Arena Football.
“We had this incredible rating for this game that was played in Green Bay three weeks ago that was zero degrees with a minus-10 wind chill factor, and San Francisco, a team from California, went in there and beat Green Bay.”
Buck said the windows of the broadcast booth will be open Sunday to get a taste of what the fans and players are dealing with.
“The only thing I hope for is there's no ice,” Buck said. “If there's snow, then great. It will look pretty on your television.”
The Fox crew already has spent a lot of time discussing what to wear for the telecast.
“We're all little kids at heart and being layered up and finding different ways to stay warm is part of it and for the guys and gals who are on the crew,” Buck said.
Wind simulation technology
Fox is teaming up with Autodeck to provide technology that will allow viewers to see the tricky wind patterns at the game site, the New Jersey Meadowlands. The software provider and Fox plan to superimpose visual representations of wind direction directly over game play.
Fox Sports president Eric Shanks said: “We worked with the same people that did the wind forecasting and wind graphic overlays for the America's Cup sailing tournament, and we're going to have some of those same weather graphics in the stadium.”
Shanks said producers also experimenting with other technology.
“We're checking out some infrared cameras to see if body temperature or ball temperature or any story that an infrared camera would be able to show. Imagine on a touchdown, aside from regular cameras showing you if a foot was in or out, you actually have a glowing footprint after the player moves on with the footprint staying behind to show if he's in or out.”
Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl champion with Dallas, is expecting both starting quarterbacks to play well Sunday.
On Russell Wilson: “He's a dynamic player, mature beyond his years. You question whether or not this stage is maybe too big for him, and if you do, then you really don't know him and you haven't really spent any time listening to him because he's a pretty gifted athlete, but he's even more impressive as a guy.”
On Peyton Manning: “What he's done the last two years is amazing, and as a former player, knowing how demanding that position is, especially as you get into your mid-30s, him being 37, and here he has had arguably the best season of his career, but maybe ever at the position.”
The four-hour pregame show, 1-5 p.m., will include a tribute to Pat Summerall, one of America's most beloved broadcasters who died in April. Best known for his work first as an NFL analyst and then as a play-by-play announcer, his partnerships with Tom Brookshire and John Madden were well received by viewers. Fox also will highlight Summerall's on-field contributions as a member of the New York Giants in the 1950s.
Other features will include a tribute to Vince Lombardi, a Brooklyn native who guided the Green Bay Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowls. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, hosts the feature on Lombardi, a man of faith who considered joining the priesthood early in his life and was laid to rest at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
Fox again will pays tribute to America's active military troops and veterans with a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Among those taking part in the reading will be former OU star Adrian Peterson and former OSU star Thurman Thomas.
Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee will co-host the pregame show with analysts Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson.