Wednesday September 5, 2012

NEW YORK

National Football League teams work all year to try and get to a Super Bowl. The broadcasters and technicians of CBS Sports feel the same way.

That's because CBS will be the broadcaster for Super Bowl XLVII in February.

"I'm not going to say I don't think about that. I think there's a lot to it," said Phil Simms, the former Giants quarterback and the No. 1 analyst for CBS. "You know you're just trying to work almost like a team and it's going to end up with the biggest game of all. It's exciting."

CBS begins its 53rd year of covering the NFL on Sunday. The local feature game will feature the defending AFC champion New England Patriots hosting the Tennessee Titans. It's the first of 11 CBS appearances for the Patriots.

Simms and Jim Nantz will again make up the No. 1 broadcast team of the network. They will also be broadcasting CBS's 18th Super Bowl game.

"Every NFL season is exciting. That first Sunday when we come on at noon with the pregame show and the kickoffs at two minutes after one, there's nothing more exciting than that," said Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports and the executive producer of The NFL on CBS.

McManus, who met with reporters at a CBS Sports media day event at the network's headquarters, is excited about the prospect of setting a ratings record - which each of the last three games have done.

Three years ago, CBS broadcast the New Orleans-Indianapolis Super Bowl game, which was seen by 106.


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5 million viewers. Two years ago, Fox televised Green Bay-Pittsburgh with 111 million estimated viewers. Last year's NBC broadcast of the Patriots-Giants had 111.3 million estimated viewers. All three broadcasts set viewer records.

"Knowing that your team is going to be producing the most-watched show of the year and potentially the most watched show in [television] history, it's a different level of excitement and anticipation," said McManus. "You build toward it during the entire year. The story lines you follow through the year and in the playoffs come to fruition at the Super Bowl."

Simms has been the top analyst at CBS since joining the network in 1998. Prior to that, Simms spent three years doing NFL games on NBC.

The former New York Giants quarterback will be in Nashville with Nantz on Sunday for the Patriots-Titans game. Expect this team to handle most of the Patriots' big games.

CBS has only released its broadcast crews for the first four weeks, with the Pats appearing twice. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will be broadcasting New England at Buffalo on Sept. 30.

While Simms is excited about the prospect of the 2012 season culminating in a CBS broadcast from New Orleans in February, he said he won't prepare any differently than he does for any other season.

"It's hard to explain, but I wake up Monday morning after a game on Sunday and I'm sweating because here we go," Simms said. "Probably my easiest days of the week are Friday and Saturday, when I'm at the site, just trying to get the final preparations.

"Monday through Thursday are pretty brutal. I do a lot of stuff- talk a lot about football - so I like to watch as much as I can to get as much info as I can."

Simms is not an analyst who uses the Internet very much. He is strictly a film and video guy when it comes to preparing for games. He admits that reading stories and blogs don't do him much good.

Social media, however, does do CBS good. McManus said that CBS broadcasters use social media, like Twitter, frequently. McManus, however, does not want Twitter and the other social media to infringe on the network's main job. Don't expect to have Nantz and Simms using Twitter or other social media during games. That's not their job.

"We're cognizant of the news that's broken on Twitter on a regular basis. We're taking advantage of it. Our talent tweets aggressively and regularly. We're trying to take advantage of all the social media," said McManus. "I really want to try and draw the line in terms of any overpowering of our main job, which is to produce football, basketball, golf and the major sports that we cover."

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.