Miami Herald (Sunday)

From Swift to Romo, 10 Super Bowl media notes

- BY BARRY JACKSON bjackson@miamiheral­ Barry Jackson: 305-376-3491, @flasportsb­uzz

Ten media notes heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl, which will be called by Jim Nantz and

Tony Romo on CBS:

Though it might seem

A like more, pop icon Taylor Swift has appeared on camera under a minute, on average, on CBS’ Kansas City Chiefs broadcasts.

As soon as Swift started attending Chiefs games in support of her boyfriend, tight end Travis Kelce, CBS executives discussed how often to show her.

“It’s a discussion that goes on since the beginning of the season,” Jim Rickhoff, the producer on CBS’ lead announcing team, said last week in a Zoom session with reporters. “We try to do it organicall­y. Sometimes we try to establish her once. I think in one of the first games she was at, he had 150 yards in the second quarter. I planned to show her four or five times the whole game; we ended up showing her six times in that quarter. Second half, we showed her once.

“I have it lean into what’s going on on the field. We have struck the right balance there. We don’t overdo it. We put her on, on average of about 32 to 40 seconds a game. We are never missing game action when she’s on.”

CBS Sports chairman

Sean McManus said: “I’m sure there are people, especially a lot of younger fans, who wish we would show her more, and maybe some older fans who like us to show her less. But I think we’ve done it in a way that hasn’t been intrusive at all.”

Rickhoff said the pop star’s presence “has brought a lot of different viewers to football.”

There’s strong anecdotal evidence that some of her fans have watched games they otherwise wouldn’t watch, merely to capture that quick screen shot of Swift.

According to CBS, football viewership among girls ages 12-17 jumped 53 percent this season. And according to a study by LendingTre­e, 24 percent of Gen-Zers and 20 percent of millennial­s say they’re more interested in football this year because of Swift’s relationsh­ip with Kelce.

Why has Romo at least


twice referred to Swift as Kelce’s wife, even though they’re not married?

“It’s a joke,” he said. “Someone did that to me back in the day. Sometimes the humor doesn’t go over as well. It’s more fun to joke with people sometimes.”

Romo has gone from


the “greatest new analyst in recent sports TV history” when he began his career on CBS’ lead team in 2017 to perhaps the most criticized lead analyst, at least on social media.

In our view, some of the criticism is nitpicking; Romo still offers some strategic pearls that put him a tier above the majority of the 18 or so analysts working NFL games on a national stage.

But we wish Romo had the discipline to edit out lines that are obvious and speak more selectivel­y. At times, he needs to let the telecast breathe.

Asked last week about the growing criticism of his work, Romo said: “It’s the normal arc of someone’s career. A lot of people are rooting against Patrick Mahomes because he’s been there. They want to see someone new. It’s not abnormal.”

He also said people who like particular announcers are less likely to say it, and repeat it, on social media. There’s some truth to that.

“There are far more people who come up and love our broadcast and you can feel that in life,” Romo said, though I’m assuming few with direct access to him would approach him to tell him that his work is substandar­d. “They’ve said they love us. You are going to have the negative aspects come in from time to

time and those things are normal.”

This is the part of the


column where we tell you the neat technical stuff and you breeze right through it:

CBS will use 165 cameras and 48 super slow-motion cameras. The network will use enhanced 4K zoom, which should create better replays, with higher resolution. CBS will use three sky cams, a trolley cam, three drones and two fly cams.

What’s more, CBS is


inserting cameras into the uprights, something it’s calling the “Doink Camera.”

CBS says that will allow it to show “unpreceden­ted angles of field goals and extra points.”

As CBS sports executive vice president Harold Bryant said: “The ‘Doink Camera’ isn’t just to hit the upright. If there’s a field goal that’s even tight and we’ve got to look at it, we’ve got three different angles on each upright, just so we can see it in three different positions.”

CBS also will have cameras in the end zone pylons, creating angles on the goal line and down the sidelines.

The live Nickelodeo­n


broadcast of the game will feature NBC’s Noah Eagle

and CBS’ Nate Burleson

and the usual cast of the network’s popular animated characters.

“What our viewers will see are the animated AR characters right next to the live Noah and Nate,” Jason Cohen — CBS’ vice president/remote technical operations — told sportsvide­, “and it’s going to appear to our viewers that we have the best seat in the house across at the 50-yard line. The set is full of AR capabiliti­es mixed with green-screen capabiliti­es.”

McManus said the Nickelodeo­n presentati­on “broadens the reach of the Super Bowl.” He said viewers have told him previous

Nick presentati­ons have marked “the first time I’ve watched football with my young son or daughter.”

“The vast majority of people will still watch the traditiona­l broadcast on CBS,” he said. “If we can convert young people into being young fans, because they can watch a really cool alternate telecast, everyone benefits, including the

NFL. I’ve seen the graphics being done, and it’s going to blow everyone away.”

I’m eager to see “You


Are Looking Live: The Show That Changed Sports Television” on CBS at 1 p.m. Sunday; the documentar­y chronicles the history of the pioneering “NFL Today” studio show that began with Brent Musburger, Irv Cross and Phyllis George, with Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder joining a year later. It’s the longest running pregame show in television history.

The four hosts — Musburger, Jim Nantz, Greg Gumbel and current host

James Brown — were among those interviewe­d.

“I think that everyone who has hosted a studio show owes a great deal of gratitude to him,” Nantz said of Musburger, now 84. “Brent set the standard.”

Quick notes on CBS’ 2

A to 6 p.m. pregame show: Burleson interviews Chiefs QB Mahomes, J.J. Watt (who was very impressive as a rookie studio analyst) interviews 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey; Bill Cowher interviews Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Phil Simms interviews 49ers coach

Kyle Shanahan.

Other CBS features include a look at halftime performer Usher and “the history of the Black entertaine­r” and a look at former Raiders’ owner Al Davis’ legacy . ... CBS will have two sets — its main one with Brown, Simms, Cowher, Boomer Esiason, Burleson and Watt; and an in-stadium pregame studio team of Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Jason McCourty . ... President

Joe Biden decided to skip a pre-Super Bowl interview for the second year in a row.

The sport has never

A been more popular; NFL playoffs have been seen by more viewers than any previous postseason.

The three rounds of games averaged 38.5 million viewers across CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC/ESPN and Peacock. That’s a jump from 35.3 million last year, and up from 36.3 million in 2022. The previous record: 37.5 million in 2016.

Dolphins defensive


tackle Christian Wilkins

will be a part of Sky Sports’ coverage of the Super Bowl, airing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

ESPN’s Chris Fowler, Dan Orlovsky and Louis Riddick will be calling the Super Bowl for ESPN Australia and New Zealand.

Incidental­ly, Orlovsky and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo — who appears on Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” on Wednesdays — had an odd incident this week.

After Orlovsky participat­ed in a passing drill at the Pro Bowl, Radio Hall of Fame member Russo said: “You were impressed? I could do this! This is not that difficult. I can do this. Hand me the ball. I’ll throw the football that far. This is ridiculous. He was a scrub in the NFL. This doesn’t make up for that.”

The scrub line was (understand­ably) too much for Orlovsky, who appeared in 26 NFL games (with 12 starts) through seven seasons and was the all-time passing yards leader at Connecticu­t.

“May be a HOFer but this is classless,” Orlovsky said of Russo’s comment in a post on X.

Russo then apologized to Orlovsky on Russo’s radio show.

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Taylor Swift
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Tony Romo

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