NBC’s third Super Bowl since returning to the NFL in 2006 was one of the best games in history. Going down to the wire, NBC was fortunate to be able to have Super Bowl decided in the final seconds on an interception by Malcolm Butler at the goal line. Thanks to the game being close at the end, it’s likely that NBC will at least break a viewership record and possibly a ratings record when all the dust has settled.
As far as the announcing was concerned, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were on top of their games. Both men were on top of trends, able to first guess plays and criticize when necessary. At the moment when the interception occurred, Collinsworth questioned the play call, “I cannot believe the call. You’ve got Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. You’ve got a guy who’s been borderline unstoppable in this part of the field. I can’t believe the call.”
Just before halftime as Seattle was to score the tying touchdown, both Michaels and Collinsworth questioned the decision to go for one more play rather than kick a field goal especially with the Seahawks getting the ball back to start the second half. But Collinsworth did suggest Russell Wilson throw a high pass to Chris Matthews which he did.
Michaels and Collinsworth were their usual selves working well off each other throughout the broadcast.
As far as the production was concerned, NBC had a good night, but there were some problems:
– In the second quarter, Rob Gronkowski scored a touchdown, but NBC cut away from his patented spike too quickly, although it did show it on replay.
– There was the moment in the 3rd quarter after a Seattle touchdown where the Peacock opted not to show Doug Baldwin’s TD celebration that was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
– During the postgame, someone from the production truck, possibly producer Fred Gaudelli was heard while Carolyn Manno was interviewing Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
– There was also the moment Dan Patrick mistakenly asked Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski about winning the Super Bowl a second time when he hadn’t been on a championship team before.
While there were some issues, there were some good moments of the broadcast as well:
– Michaels started off with “The balls have been weighed and measured. I guarantee it.”
– NBC had clear replays of Chris Matthews’ catch in the 2nd quarter.
– When Jermaine Kearse made a miraculous catch to put the Seahawks in position for the potential game-winning score, NBC quickly called up a replay of the David Tyree catch from Super Bowl XLVI and Collinsworth mentioned how the Patriots lost on fluky catches in their last two Big Games.
– In the pregame, there was the Tara & Johnny Show which shined so much, they almost stole the show away from Bob Costas and Dan Patrick.
– And the annual interview with President Obama conducted by Today co-host Savannah Guthrie looked more like a morning show cooking segment as it took place in the White House kitchen rather than a formal setting.
Overall, NBC had a B+ broadcast. It stepped up when it had to, but there were some elements that were lacking. Still, the Peacock had a good night and a broadcast it can be proud of.
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