Critical Section

Bolts shock Colts

Sunday,  01/04/09  10:29 AM

I must report: My friend Yogi and I watched the Chargers beat the Colts yesterday, in the playoffs, in overtime, from the front row on the 45 yard line.

Qualcomm panorama
panoramic view of Qualcomm stadium - click to enbiggen
note the lack of people between us and the field :)

I forgive the Charger girls for obstructing our view

self-portrait, w Yogi (neighbor, ophthalmologic surgeon, and football fan :)

Yeah, baby! We win on a touchdown in overtime… what could be better?
you can probably still hear the crowd, they were THAT loud

I don't see many football games live, but this was a great game.  Both teams played well, it was a see-saw battle all the way with plenty of drama, and you had the league MVP (Peyton Manning) matched against the league's top rated quarterback (Philip Rivers).  It came down to a last minute field goal to put the game into overtime, and then a final scoring drive to win.

The game also featured great punting; the Charger's Mike Scifres put on a punting clinic.  He averaged 52.7 yards for his six punts; all six were inside the 20, and four were downed inside the 10.  One 67 yarder cleared the returner's head by thirty feet before landing inside the five and spinning back like a nine-iron.  And with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, he stuck a 51 yarder right into the coffin corner, pinning the Colts at the one.

I rewatched the game on my Tivo this morning - 30-second-skipping through the boring parts - and I have a few observations about seeing a game live vs. watching it on Tivo. 

  • First, the game is much faster on Tivo, and not just because of 30-second-skipping.  Somehow when you're at the game, it all makes sense, but on TV stuff "just happens".  On TV when it's third down, the nickel package is in, but live you watch the guys assemble at the sideline and run into the game.  You watch the long snapper practice before a punt.  You watch the backup quarterback warm up when the starter is sacked hard.  You watch the coach pacing, then make a decision.  You even watch the camera people shift positions... and then watch their view of the game on the big screen scoreboard.  And of course the commercial timeouts on a change-of-possession seem to last forever when you're in the stadium; even watching the Charger girls dance (always worth doing) seemed to take a long time.
  • Second, the announcers are really on top of the game (Al Michaels and John Madden).  Live it is hard to pick out players, jersey numbers, yard markers, etc., but on TV boom they have all the names and figures *now*.  I know they have spotters and statisticians, but the whole thing works pretty seamlessly.  And having already seen the game live, listening to Al and John gave me a better appreciation of how well they see what is going to happen before it happens.
  • Third, crowd noise is a real thing.  On TV they can talk about crown noise, and you can hear it in the background (and with HD and 5.1 you can even hear it surrounding you), but in the middle of a stadium 70,000 screaming fans are LOUD.  You have a physical reaction to that kind of noise, it really does matter.

Anyway it doesn't get much better - my "how did I get here" moment of the year, so far :)

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