Gaudelli, the executive producer of this year’s Super Bowl for NBC Sports, is leading a crew of 106 cameras, 14 mobile units and more than 500 employees to bring fans coverage of Sunday’s game. It’s NBC’s fourth Super Bowl broadcast since winning back NFL television rights in 2006, and more than anything, Gaudelli hopes the game lives up to the suspense their three previous Super Bowl broadcasts offered.
“I’m just really excited about this one,” Gaudelli said ahead of Sunday’s broadcast, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on NBC10. “We have the two teams that were clearly the best this year in their respective conferences, and we’re all looking forward to a great game on Sunday.”
New to this year’s game will be the use of two SkyCams, a first for any network’s Super Bowl broadcast. The SkyCams, which are suspended on wires and set up behind the line of scrimmage, offer views similar to the popular “Madden” video game, and came into prominence earlier this season after fog obscured the view from other cameras during a Patriots-Falcons game.
“I think it gives the football purists what they want to see and the casual fan a shot that’s quote-unquote not boring like a coach’s film would be.” said Drew Esocoff, who will be directing NBC’s broadcast. “It really provides a great view of football action without being a gimmicky view.”
Fog bonus: They're forced to actually use the best camera angle! pic.twitter.com/mEm7Xi2EuJ
— Reuben Fischer-Baum (@ReubenFB) October 23, 2017
Esocoff also said NBC will utilize camera angles the network didn’t use during the season on Sunday Night Football broadcasts. That includes adding more ultra-slow-motion cameras and 20 pylon cameras, which the network plans to turn to only if the game action calls for it.
“They always end up being the cameras that really provide that definitive view on the big plays of the game,” Gaudelli said.
Viewers should also keep their eyes out for virtual versions of three Eagles players — quarterback Nick Foles, defensive lineman Fletcher Cox and defensive lineman Brandon Graham. The Eagles stars (along with Patriots players Tom Brady, James Harrison and Danny Amendola) were body scanned earlier this week so their 3D likenesses could be featured in-game alongside statistics and information designed for the broadcast.
As far as NFL protests go, no Eagles or Patriots players kneeled to protest racial injustice during the national anthem this season, so Gaudelli isn’t anticipating that to be an issue his crew will have to content with. More of a wildcard will be Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance, which follows a particularly political Grammy Awards show.
“We are aware of Justin Timberlake’s setlist as we have to be for rehearsals and to know what we need to do,” NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus said. He added that the NFL is ultimately responsible for the content during halftime. “I would not anticipate anything in that area. This is a musical performance, not an awards show.”
Like every year, there is a great deal of money spend on gambling surrounding the Super Bowl, including prop bets that seem to get more and more ridiculous each and every year. Despite that, Lazarus said the network won’t consider airing graphics related to point spreads or gambling terms until sports gambling is completely legalized across the country.
“My feeling is if you made a bet on the game you know the point spread,” added NBC’s play-by-play broadcaster Al Michaels. “Nobody’s going to have to show you a graphic to know what the spread is.”
NBC’s Super Bowl coverage by the numbers:
5: Number of ads NBC will run to promote the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea
6: Number of Super Bowls Fred Gaudelli and Drew Esocoff have produced together
10: Number of Super Bowls called by Al Michaels (second only to Pat Summerall, who called 11)
19: Number of Super Bowls NBC has broadcast (including this year’s game)
50: Miles of cable NBC ran in and out of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
100+: Hours of coverage from NBC Sports Boston and NBC Sports Philadelphia during Super Bowl week
106: Number of different cameras NBC will utilize during its broadcast
130: Number of microphones NBC brought to the Super Bowl
700: Number of hotel rooms booked by NBC in Minneapolis
1,500: Meals serves to crew members on gameday
$5 million: Cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad on Sunday
Future Super Bowl broadcasts
Super Bowl LIII (2019): CBS
Super Bowl LIV (2020): FOX
Super Bowl LV (2021): NBC
Super Bowl LVI (2022): CBS
Super Bowl LVII (2023): FOX