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No Fun League

For the first time since January 2, 2000 I was on the sideline of a National Football League game this afternoon, when I covered the Lions-Seahawks game at Ford Field. A lot has changed since that Packers-Cardinals game at Lambeau Field all those years ago. Notably, those of us who work in local news can no longer shoot video of the game. I cannot think of any bigger chunk of bullshit the NFL could have come up with.

The NFL feels we don't need to shoot our own video since all of the games are televised and this season they have gone to the added effort of sending us five minutes of highlights of each game on a satelite feed. That's sure nice of them, but I'd rather shoot the damn video myself. Highlights of today's game included all of the big plays, but sadly they did not include any crowd noise. Furthermore, I trust myself. I don't trust other shooters to get the video for me. There are photogs operating at a pretty high level who just plain suck, such as whoever shot the UNH-Northwestern game highlights I saw on Sportscenter Saturday. That guy was getting schooled on one play after another and it's only a matter of time before the NFL crews miss a big play that I would have been all over. Already today the field level feed included the game winning field goal shot from the opposite end-zone. Any decent shooter always shoots the offense moving towards the camera, not away from it.

And then there's Barry Stokes. The Lions Offensive Lineman is from Davison, MI (just east of Flint) and started his first game in the Honolulu Blue and Silver today, so of course if I were shooting I would have gotten several isolation shots of him. The NFL doesn't care that Stokes is from Davison, so of course there are no iso shots on the Field Level feed and FOX doesn't care so they didn't get iso's to broadcast.

So where was I while not shooting football? I was in the TV Lounge, the spartan are set up for photogs waiting for something to do. Set conventiently next to the ramp leading down to the field, the lounge is built out of warm, comforting concrete. The three tables surounded by hard, uncomfortable chairs offer plenty of room, while the vaguely rectangular carpet remnant offers a certain coziness. And photogs can get in the mood for some football thanks to all the spare lockers shoved into the TV lounge to be stored. And while in the TV Lounge, you can keep up on all the NFL action on one of two televisions, one of which is actually in color. And be sure to take advantage of the complimentary meal, available from the two-minute warning of the first half to about halfway through the third quarter.

So yeah, a lot's changed since I last covered an NFL game, and not for the better.


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