Changing How Big Hits Are Broadcast

By Noah Davis Comment

The New York Times ran a features on Cris Collinsworth over the weekend. Alan Schwarz’s story focuses on the announcer’s growing disgust with big hits, but one quote stuck out.

Fred Gaudelli, the producer of Sunday Night Football, discussed how he and his crew have altered their replays because of the focus on big hits.

“We showed the Miller hit, but we weren’t celebrating, ‘Wow, what a great hit by Jameel McClain!'” he said. “We are all sensitized to what is going on now. Five years ago, we’d be saying: ‘What a hit! Wow! Let’s play this from five angles!’ Five years ago you would have had a much different way to characterize it and cover it.”

Would you even need to go back five years ago?Probably not. As awareness about head injuries increases in the fan community, it gets harder and harder to watch replays in which player’s get hurt or concussed. Even watching Michael Vick get creamed against Dallas Sunday night was painful, and he got right back up.

There is, obviously, a long way to go. Football is a sport at least partially defined by big hits. That’s part of the appeal. That isn’t going to change overnight. But it will happen slowly, and perhaps a bit faster if the networks that broadcast the games begin showing more restraint and consideration with the focus of their replays.