Producing The Packers: Behind The Scenes
Thursday Night Football on CBS is a production that's treated like the Super Bowl. Millions of people are watching and making it the best broadcast possible takes a lot of work.
\"We have to make it so people at home, not just here in the United States but around the world watching the game, are going to invest three to three-and-a-half hours of their time to watch our broadcast. So we have to make it interesting, but sometimes you're only as good as what goes on down on the field,\" Lance Barrow, Coordinating Producer for THE NFL ON CBS says.
Just like the Packers, CBS starts preparing early. A crew checked out Lambeau Field over the summer to plan for the sets and the production crew starts studying a week before the game.
\"We'll study tapes. We'll read articles. We'll read online. We'll meet with the players. We'll meet with the coaches,\" Barrow explained.
There are 350 people who make the broadcasts happen and about 40 cameras around the stadium making sure people watching at home get the best shots.
While the production team prepares, the on-air crew is busy too. Tracy Wolfson, Lead Sideline Reporter for CBS Sports, spends at least three days studying up on the teams and getting at least one nugget of information on every player. Wolfson arrives at the stadium one day before the game and hits the field five hours before for pre-game reports.
\"It's almost like hurry up, let's kick off already. You get those butterflies in your stomach and you just want it to start already and then finally you kick off and it's all reactionary,\" Wolfson says.
Come game time, she's the eyes and ears on the field. She says her goal is getting the stories the announcers can't get in the booth.
\"You have to be mindful. You have to really watch what's taking place behind both benches, the facial expressions on the players, what's taking place on the field and what the guys are talking about up in the booth as well. You need to be able to feed off them,\" Wolfson explains.
She won't admit to being so close you can smell the sweat, but she does feel it from time to time!
\"You can feel the sweat when you're doing an interview and after it's on your hand,\" she says while laughing.
Back in one of the eight production trucks that travel from city to city, the crew makes the action come to life in your living room. As the cameras zoom high above the field and the lights shine bright, the team brings you each play of the game along with interesting extras.
The stadium and city they're in play a role too. In fact, Barrow says a story packed with Packers and Cheeseheads is one of the best.
\"There's just something special about coming here and it being a prime time game under the lights. Nothing gets better than being here at Lambeau,\" he says.