NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Jay-Z song “Run This Town” featuring Rihanna had been selected to open “Thursday Night Football” on CBS, but plans have changed in the wake of the Ray Rice scandal.
CBS Sports reported that officials decided instead to begin the pregame show with a report from CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell, who interviewed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday.
Additionally, dropped Don Cheadle’s narration over “Run This Town” was also dropped.
“It’s important to realize we are not overreacting to this story but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus told Michael Deitsch of Sports Illustrated on Thursday afternoon. “We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage. A lot of the production elements we wanted in the show are being eliminated because of time or tone.”
Meanwhile, Thursday Night Football was kicking off for the first time ever on CBS 2 on Thursday, Sept, 11. Alex Denis went behind-the-scenes with the CBS Sports television team responsible for bringing the game to your living room.
As Denis reported, there’s no room for error as the best in the business gather for the big game on CBS.
“There’s going to be the manpower, the technology, the equipment that’s tantamount to what we do when we put on a production the size of a Super Bowl,” Jim Nantz said.
The remote trailer, parked outside the stadium, brings all the action on game day. Inside the trailer, TV screens cover the walls, with hundreds of buttons controlling live pictures, music, video and effects.
Come game day, the crew runs through every planned second of the broadcast before it ever makes air.
Director Mike Arnold holds a meeting with the camera operators responsible for capturing the plays you see at home.
“The producer, Lance Barrow, is like the head coach and he formulates the game plan and I’m like the quarterback and I try to execute the game plan,” Arnold said.
But the preparation doesn’t stop there. The commentators have their own pregame rituals.
“I like to get to the stadium super early, about five hours before kickoff,” Nantz said.
“It’s really up to me to do the preparation. To watch games, figure out what teams are going to do,” Phil Simms said.
“Trying to get all the information from both teams, talking to the PR staff, watching and at the same time listening,” reported Tracy Wolfson said.
When the rehearsal ticks down to the final seconds, the crew resets.
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