For those who like the cable camera above the field as their vantage point for football broadcasts — it’s known as the “Madden” angle, from the video game — you had an unexpected treat on Thursday night.
There was lightning in the Charlotte area before the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off. It caused the NFL Network pregame crew to leave the set for a while.
And it affected the camera views for the start of the game. With 8:31 left in the first quarter, at about 8:40 p.m. Eastern time, officials suspended play due to weather. The game resumed at 9:07 p.m.
Only two cameras for start of Panthers-Bucs
Play-by-play announcer Joe Buck explained that because of “Fox safety standards,” there would be only two cameras at the start of the game (NFL Network broadcast the game but Fox’s crew produced it). The camera operators were not allowed to operate the cameras from the field, Buck said. There would be the cable cam behind the offense, and one other camera from high in the stadium, which was used between plays.
“We’re going into this game like it’s 1939,” Buck quipped. “We’ve got two cameras.”
There was talk of delaying the start of the game, but it started on time. It didn’t last long before fans and players were asked to leave the field.
A different angle for most plays
There was something quaint about having limited camera views for the start of the game. Usually we’re inundated with a dozen angles of everything.
“Our director, Rich Russo, he’s pretty much got the night off with two cameras,” color commentator Troy Aikman said.
The limited cameras might have affected a key play, however. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was stopped short on a fourth-down run. Panthers coach Ron Rivera challenged the call, but there were only two camera angles to review. The call stood. That was the last play before the delay.
“I hope both coaches were told we were working with two cameras,” Fox officiating expert Mike Pereira said. “Obviously you’re not going to get the down-the-line shot, and some of the other shots too.”
The viewpoint from behind the offense isn’t loved by all. It’s not traditional. But others enjoy seeing the game from that vantage point. It was used out of necessity for a 2017 Patriots game in the fog, and used in another nationally televised game that season after some feedback.
There was still football on Thursday night for a few minutes before weather took over. It just looked a little different than we’re used to.
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