NBC will unveil a second SkyCam for Sunday night's Super Bowl rematch between the Patriots and Falcons at Gillette Stadium that will provide views from on high.
The original SkyCam used for games flies anywhere from 12 feet to 40 feet above the playing field. The high SkyCam goes from 40 to 80 feet and probably will wind up mostly right in between that height.
"It gives you a bird's-eye view of whatever it is you are trying to show," says Fred Gaudelli, executive producer for "Sunday Night Football. "I try to give that camera assignments based on game situations, down and distance."
This is a perfect time to debut the camera, and not just because of the classic finish these two teams provided back in February. Gaudelli is intrigued by the blocking schemes Atlanta uses and believes the high SkyCam will offer unprecedented looks at that offensive line's work.
"We can get a great look at the wide-zone scheme of blocking, how each of the linemen work in tandem, how they work like a synchronized swim team," he says.
"In passing situations, we will probably put it on Julio Jones and see the coverage New England is deploying. We then will flip it for Gronk or Brandin Cooks, do some defensive isolations. You get a great look to see how the safety reacts to the quarterback."
One application of the second SkyCam that could not only enhance the viewing experience but help with officiating is at the goal line. In last week's Giants' win over Denver, when the extra camera wasn't yet available, there was a controversial call regarding whether the Broncos' C.J. Anderson scored (see below).
"In a short-yardage situation, it will be right over the line of scrimmage," Gaudelli says of the higher SkyCam. "We have so many catches on the goal line, had that C.J. Anderson shot last week and couldn't see the ball; this is another opportunity and hopefully it gives a better view if the ball breaks the goal line."
Gaudelli can envision it working well for other sports, but believes football is the ideal sport for two SkyCams. He plans to use the higher camera later in the season and certainly in the playoffs and for the Super Bowl.
"It is a very cool angle," he notes, "and I think it is perfectly suited.
I SCORED: Broncos running back C.J. Anderson thought he nosed the ball over the goal line on Denver's failed fourth-and-1 play against the Giants last week, and TV replays appeared to show he had a point.
The officials ruled otherwise.
"They said they couldn't see it," said Anderson, who accepted the blame. "If I just made it clear cut and get in the end zone and touch the back of the white line, the referee would raise his hands."
The goal-line stand proved crucial in New York's 23-10 upset.
"Next time I won't make it so close," Anderson said. "Next time I get to that, I'll definitely make it clear cut and be in the end zone to celebrate with my teammates. I'm touching the back of the white line, 110 yards, I'll be in there. Ten yards, I'm in there."
DWIGHT CLARK DAY: The San Francisco 49ers will honor Dwight Clark at halftime of a game against the team he made his famous "Catch" against.
More than 30 alumni, including Joe Montana, are expected to be on hand for "Dwight Clark Day." The Niners will show video tributes to Clark during the game and honor him at halftime.
Clark played for San Francisco from 1979-87, helping the franchise win its first two Super Bowl titles. He is most famous for "The Catch," his leaping grab in the back of the end zone of a 6-yard TD in the final minute of a 28-27 win over Dallas in the 1981 NFC title game that launched the 49ers dynasty.
Clark announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
WAITING FOR ROSS:The Bengals expected to add receiver John Ross' record-setting speed to their playbook this season. So far, he's touched the ball one time in five games.
The ninth overall pick hasn't been able to stay healthy. He set a combine record by running 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and had shoulder surgery that limited him well into training camp. He twisted his left knee in the final preseason game, causing him to sit out the season opener.
In the second game against Houston, he got the ball on a reverse and fumbled after a 12-yard gain. He also aggravated the knee and hasn't been able to practice fully.
"I'm just going to continue working through it," Ross said. "That's really all I can do at this point."
The Bengals aren't inclined to put him in for a play or two. Instead, they want him to catch up from all the missed time.
"They don't want to have guys come in for these certain things or anything," Ross said. "It was more `learn everything and once you do, you'll get more (chances).'"
HOME-AWAY UPDATE:Through six weeks and one game, the Raiders wild victory over the Chiefs on Thursday night, NFL results have been split 46-46 for home and road teams. Considering that weather rarely has been an issue in those games, that's an impressive figure for visitors.
The NFC South has the best road record, 7-3, followed by the AFC East at 7-5. The NFC West (5-8) and AFC South (4-7) are worst. The AFC West is 6-5, the AFC North and NFC East are 6-6, while the NFC North is 5-6.
Unbeaten away from home? The Rams, whose home game Sunday is in London, Carolina and New England. All are 3-0.
Winless on the road are Cleveland and San Francisco, which haven't won anywhere, plus Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.
Oh yeah, also Denver, which has the strangest road mark: The Broncos have lost on their only trip, at Buffalo. They've played four home matches and had a bye, which means they now have three straight away games, visiting the Chargers, Chiefs and Eagles. Denver also plays four of its last six on the road.
Unbeaten at home are Green Bay (3-0), Buffalo, Philadelphia and Seattle, all 2-0. Winless at home are the Niners and Browns, of course, plus the Chargers (0-3) and Giants (0-2).