All due respect to the players and coaches who are taking part in the new-and-improved USFL’s inaugural weekend, but one of the most interesting aspects of these startup football leagues is often the introduction of technologies and unique production ideas that football audiences can enjoy and the NFL ultimately takes for themselves.

The original version of the XFL infamous introduced many football fans to the skycam and a broadcast that focuses on individual player personalities, both things the NFL ended up co-opting to a large degree.

The second XFL gave us some unique sideline access that harnessed the ability to tell stories within the game that didn’t seem possible before.

USFL 2.0 kicked off its first season on Saturday with a game between the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions. The gameplay was decent and the hard-fought battle was won in the final moments on a thrilling touchdown scramble. A very (much-needed) solid start to their season.

While fans and TV audiences get to know the teams, players, and coaches involved, the broadcast innovations are what’s going to make people take notice the most for now. And there was no aspect of the USFL broadcast that people noticed than the use of drone cameras during gameplay.

The drone camera definitely brings a unique perspective to a game broadcast, though it really does feel like it’s only a matter of time before it interferes with a play (no disrespect to the drone operators). While the very up close and personal view gives audiences some very refreshing angles and ways to enjoy the football action, it was not without some gripes as well, including the noise they produced.

While it has been done before, the usage of helmet cams also brought some unique perspectives to the game.

And again, while there might be some value in seeing things like this during the game, it’s perhaps not what football audiences want to see too often. There were reactions on both sides to this innovation as well.

Whatever you feel about these attempts to provide new and interesting broadcasting options for football games, much like the league itself, it’s an experiment happening in real-time. Like with the previous spring football leagues, we’re likely to see them tweak their broadcasts as they go based on what’s working, what’s too much, and what’s not enough.

Case in point, by Sunday, we were already seeing some different usages of both the drone and helmet cam and how they can help tell the story of a single play.

We’re gonna guess that the USFL is paying very close attention to social media this weekend to see what kind of reactions they’re getting for these broadcasting options, so keep the opinions coming.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to