With Super Bowl XLIII coming up, we're already thinking about what's in store for the next one, and the one after that. Besides replacing all the human players with robots, which might be the norm a quarter-century from now because of the inherent danger of the game in our obsessively safety-first society, there are plenty of innovations in store for the coming years. Click Continue, and see what we'll be looking for.
Everybody's a Director with Multicam
Move over, Super Bowl TV director Drew Esocoff (pictured above) — you're about to be replaced by ... the viewers? Remember that online streaming version of Sunday Night Football? Look for multiple camera angles streaming in higher resolution by Super Bowl XLV, HD multicam by XLVI and by Super Bowl L, a thousand cameras around the stadium rim, letting you execute your own camera moves and zooms. But for us, well, we'd still rather see the game directed by Drew.
Interactive Super Bowl ads make their debut in Canada this year, with Etc.tv trying out clickable ads on the Canadian RDS sports network. By next year, Boston-based Backchannelmedia says we'll see lots more Clickable TV on the Super Bowl. Click a button on your Internet-enabled TV's remote when you see a small icon on the screen, and Backchannelmedia stores an internet address on its website. That link can be sent to you via email or text message, or you can visit the site and click on the link at your leisure. As the service grows, almost everything you see on the screen will have clickability, so no on-screen icon will be necessary.
3D Super Bowl Broadcast?
Those 3D ads you'll see this year are just the beginning — and full NFL games in 3D are in the testing phase now — but by Super Bowl XLV we might see the entire game broadcast in 3D. The bad news? You'll probably still need to wear those dorky glasses to enjoy all three dimensions.
GPS/Laser Football Measurement?
Every few years, somebody comes up with an invention that aims to replace the time-honored idea of using chains to measure the first down distance. But one of these days, a laser and gyroscope-enabled first down system with a highly accurate GPS beacon inside the football might take over. Atlanta Falcons president and NFL Rules Committee co-chairman Rich McKay agrees. "I bet you there is some type of technology that comes along in the next five years that creates that change," he says. "I'm just not sure we have it yet."
NFL Loosens Up
Did you know that you can't show the Super Bowl on a screen larger than 55 inches in a "venue that does not regularly show sporting events?" Although this edict is aimed at churches, I guess that means those of you non-sports-fans lucky enough to possess a gorgeous 60-inch Pioneer Kuro plasma screen can't watch the game if you have a gang of revelers over. Look for that lame NFL decree to go by the wayside by the time Super Bowl XLV hits the airwaves, after someone breaks that rule, the NFL sues 'em, and then gets schooled in a real-world courtroom about the meaning of the words "Fair Use."