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Steelers home game vs. Titans to have 'Madden' feel on TV

Chris Adamski
| Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 2:33 p.m.
Steelers fans cheer as Antonio Brown is introduced before a game against the Bengals Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers fans cheer as Antonio Brown is introduced before a game against the Bengals Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at Heinz Field.

For the generation that grew up playing "Madden," next week's Steelers game should look quite familiar.

NBC announced Thursday that it will use the Nov. 16 Steelers home game against the Tennessee Titans to utilize its "dual" SkyCam system to present a new primary-viewing angle for its coverage.

Television viewers have become familiar with the SkyCam angle for about a decade, but its use typically was limited only to replays or establishing shots before the snap. With ratings down league-wide this season, NBC apparently believes trying to make it a broadcast's primary viewing angle – one that video gamers have used for decades on the popular "Madden NFL" series – is worth the experiment.

SkyCam hangs seemingly from the sky, supported by cables hanging from corners of the stadium. Though it was mostly used sparingly, viewers responded positively when it was used over a long stretch of game play for the first time late last month. During a Falcons-Patriots game in New England on Oct. 22, fog rolled into Gillette Stadium late in the first half. As a result, after halftime SkyCam provided the primary feed for viewers.

"After pivoting out of necessity to SkyCam in the New England fog, we've been aggressively planning and testing with the intent of utilizing the system for a full game," NBC executive NFL coverage producer Fred Gaudelli said in a release. "Younger generations of NFL fans have grown accustomed to watching football from this angle through their love of video games. This telecast will have a look and feel akin to that experience."

NBC will maintain its more traditional camera angles and pledges to use them "when situations dictate."

"(B)ut the primary viewing experience of the game will come from the SkyCam angle," Gaudelli said. "Thursday Night Football has always been about technical innovation and new technologies, and this production will fit perfectly with that."

The Steelers-Titans game, which is scheduled to kick off at 8:25 p.m., features two AFC teams currently in first place. It will also be televised by NFL Network and live-streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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