Review of NBC’s Coverage of Super XLIX

In NBC’s third Super Bowl since returning to the NFL in 2006, the Peacock had the opportunity to showcase its production and broadcasting booth, both of which are the among the best in the business.

Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were both on top of trends and first-guessed on plays. And during the big play which sealed the New England Patriots Evil Empire win over the Seattle Seahawks, Collinsworth was very quick to criticize the pass from Russell Wilson that was picked by Malcolm Butler. Collinsworth was correctly incredulous that Marshawn Lynch did not get the opportunity to run the ball into the end zone to win the game for the Seahawks.

In the waning seconds of the first half when the Seahawks went for a touchdown instead of a field goal, Collinsworth questioned the idea of going for a pass play rather than three points and while the call worked for Seattle at that time, Michaels and Collinsworth both went over the scenario that going for three while also getting the ball back to start the second half would be better. Collinsworth did suggest throwing the ball high to wide receiver Chris Matthews which is exactly what Wilson did.

As far as the pictures were concerned, NBC had a very good night with replays and angles. NBC was on top of clear replays of key plays such as a Matthews catch that led to a Seattle score.

Also, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw his second interception, NBC cameras had a field angle camera behind him which clearly showed the pick.

Finally as a miraculous catch was made by Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse to put the Seahawks in a position to win, NBC called up the David Tyree catch from Super Bowl XLI and Collinsworth mentioned how the Patriots were snakebitten by fluky catches that ended their championship bids in XLI and XLVI.

Overall, NBC had a good night with a few exceptions. During the trophy ceremony, Dan Patrick asked Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski about winning the Super Bowl again, but this was Gronk’s first championship which he quickly pointed out to DP. And during an interview with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, it appeared that producer Fred Gaudelli could be heard clearly while reporter Carolyn Manno was asking questions.

In addition, NBC did not show a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the end zone against the Seahawks in the third quarter.

Those demerits are more mosquito bites in what was a fantastic game.

With the game being close and leading to an exciting finish, it would not be surprising if Super Bowl XLIX broke last year’s viewing record of 112.2 million viewers. With bad weather in the Midwest, if the viewership reaches above 115 million for the game and approaching 120 million for the halftime, that would be just about on par for the trends for the Super Bowl. We’ll find out soon enough.

And for NBC, they get an solid B+ for the broadcast.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.