Game's fast pace forces TV crews to stay on the ball

November 27, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

Think quick.

That's what most coordinating producers tell their announcers, cameramen and related personnel before a football game, but ESPN2's Mo Davenport is driving the point home with a little more emphasis before today's Grey Cup.

Davenport said the faster pace of the Canadian Football League forces everyone associated with the telecast to think and react more quickly, because there just isn't enough time to ponder.

"You can't do as many things production-wise. In the NFL, with 30 seconds or so between plays, you can get a first look or a second look or even a third look [on replays]," said Davenport.

"In the CFL, you get the play, and you'll usually get one replay -- and it has to be a good one. It's a quantity issue. Hopefully, we'll have the most important replays."

They'll certainly have enough physical resources on hand to get the good replays.

The network will split the feed of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., which Davenport said will devote 16 cameras or more to chronicle the contest, and ESPN2 will add another five hand-held cameras to be deployed at field level for its pre-game, halftime and post-game shows.

By comparison, the 21 or so cameras that are available to ESPN2 today are considerably more than the 12 Fox usually uses for its lead game each Sunday, and even more than will be used for the Super Bowl.

Davenport, who is largely responsible for establishing the game's story line, said the telecast will be light on explanations of the differences between the NFL and the older but less familiar CFL.

"We're not going to have a bunch of first-timers [viewers]," said Davenport. "We'll give them a sense of the strategy involved through the eyes of our announcers."

The announcers for today's game will include color analyst Mike Mayock, play-by-play man Gus Johnson, who formerly worked at Washington's Channel 5, and guest announcers Doug Flutie, quarterback of the Calgary Stampeders, and Chris Cuthbert, longtime announcer for TSN, Canada's ESPN equivalent.

Mayock, who arrived in Vancouver late Friday after announcing the Youngstown State-Alcorn State NCAA Division I-AA playoff game, said the teams that have reached today's final are there for a reason.

"It's ironic that all year, all we heard was about passing in the league, but who are the two teams that are playing for the Grey Cup? The two teams that ran the ball most effectively," said Mayock.

Mayock, a defensive back who suffered a broken ankle in the only game he played in with the Toronto Argonauts in 1981 before catching on for two years with the New York Giants, said Baltimore may encounter some problems coping with the noise in the domed B.C. Place, a building Davenport likened to Syracuse University's Carrier Dome.

"I was talking with the Calgary players, and they felt it would have been a big advantage for them having played at B.C. Place.," said Mayock. "They had to spend a lot of their practice time working on silent counts to get around the noise. They [the CFLs] are not used to those type of crowds and that kind of sound."

Mayock wouldn't go so far as to pick a winner, but he clearly likes what he has seen with Baltimore.

"We had Baltimore the first two weeks we were on, and we all agreed that they would get better and better," he said. "I think they are peaking at absolutely the right time."

Mayock said Baltimore quarterback Tracy Ham and slotback Chris Armstrong are "special," but he said the team's biggest edge is its coach, Don Matthews.

"He's the only coach of an American-based team that got it right. He didn't get trapped into thinking that because the American players are better, to just go out and get a bunch of American players," said Mayock. "He's been there, he's been in this league and he made the wise decision of going out and hiring coaches that were familiar with the league."

MEDIA PICKS

2Name .. .. .. .. Affiliation .. .. .. . .. .Pick

Dave Supleve .. .Winnipeg Free Press ..... .Baltimore, 32-26

Scott Taylor .. .Winnipeg Free Press ..... .Baltimore, 34-18

Geoff Currier ...CKRM-Radio, Regina, Sask. .B.C., 29-24

Brian Duff .. ...CFCW-Radio, Edmonton .. ...B.C., 30-27

Ian Hamilton .. .Regina Leader-Post .. .. ..Baltimore, 34-27

Wayne Scanlan ...Ottawa Citizen .. .. .. ...Baltimore, 32-29

Darrell Davis ...Regina Leader-Post .. .. ..Baltimore, 35-18

Don Brennan .. ..Ottawa Sun .. .. .. .. ....B.C., 32-31

Ed Tait .. .. ...Winnipeg Sun .. .. .. .. ..B.C., 32-26

Pat Doyle .. .. .Winnipeg Sun .. .. .. .. ..B.C., 32-26

Howard Berger ...The Fan Radio, Toronto ....Baltimore, 32-21

Mike Ingram .. ..Blitz Magazin, Germany .. .B.C., 38-31

Steve Armitage ..CBC-TV, Vancouver .. .. ...Baltimore, 33-24

Cam Cole .. .. ..Edmonton Journal .. .. .. .Baltimore, 33-24

Rick Cluff .. ...CBC-Radio, Toronto .. .. ..B.C., 35-33

Ken Fidlin .. ...Toronto Sun .. .. .. .. ...Baltimore, 35-34

Jeff Dickins .. .Hamilton Spectator .. .. ..B.C., 32-30

Larry Tucker .. .Calgary Sun .. .. .. .. ...Baltimore, 34-26

Robin Brown .. ..CBC-Radio, Winnipeg .. .. .Baltimore, 35-28

Brian Dance .. ..CBC-Radio, Vancouver .. ...B.C., 37-36

Terry Jones .. ..Edmonton Sun .. .. .. .. ..B.C., 30-24

Rick Matsumoto ..Toronto Sun .. .. .. .. ...B.C., 27-24

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