But this week's game, which ended with the Pittsburgh Steelers beating the Tennessee Titans 40-17, tried out the "Madden Cam" -- or, as NBC actually calls it, the SkyCam.
It's exactly what it sounds like: NBC covered most of the game via a computer-controlled, stabilized, cable-suspended camera system, or to put it simply, two cameras gliding through the air above Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. The angles captured by the new system are similar to how the on-field quarterback views the game and remind many viewers of video-game play, especially the "Madden NFL" series, named for legendary coach John Madden.
"Younger generations of NFL fans have grown accustomed to watching football from this angle through their love of video games," Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of Thursday Night Football, said in a statement before the game. "This telecast will have a look and feel akin to that experience."
Game on, fans. Some loved it.
And yes, some thought the network fumbled by relying heavily on the new technique.
But maybe the best comment came from the official Twitter account for Madden NFL itself.
For now, the telecast was only an experiment, coming out of positive reviews for a week-seven game where fog over the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium forced NBC to tap SkyCam as the main viewing angle. But surely the network will be closely mining social-media reaction as it mulls future use. Ready, player one?
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