SkyCam doesn’t seem necessary
PITTSBURGH — The buzz after the Steelers’ Thursday night win over Tennessee wasn’t the season-high 40 points.
Instead, the talk was about the SkyCam view the NFL Network and NBC provided.
Basically the camera hovers above the actual playing field and offers a view that’s vertical rather than the traditional horizontal.
It takes some getting used to, and affects depth perception. We’re used to watching the ball move left to right (or vice versa) and see the yard markers that way. Minus that perspective, it’s hard to tell how deep a running back is at the start of a play and whether he made the first down marker.
The NFL is getting nervous about its failing numbers among younger viewers, and this was a nod to addressing that issue. They emphasized tha SkyCam provided the same kind of perspective a generation has seen while playing the wildly successful series of Madden video games.
At this point, SkyCam probably has more value for replays. It lets viewers see the play unfold, and allows the game analyst to point out blocks that might be less visible from the traditional perspective.
Nobody needed the in-game tutorial about how the process works and the salutes to the techicians who set up and operated the system.
Football is complicated enough without expecting viewers to care about the process that delivers the pictures they see.
Jon Morosi of mlb.com reported last week that the Pirates have an interest in bringing back Neil Walker, who is a free agent.
If Jung Ho Kang isn’t cleared to return to the United States — and there’s no indication he will be — the Pirates need a third baseman.
But is that Walker? He came through the minor leagues as a third baseman, but that was a long time ago. He’s played just 19 games at third in the major leagues.
That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence he can handle the position defensively at age 32.
Walker has missed about a third of each of the last two seasons because of injuries. He’s had chronic back problems, which required surgery in 2016.
He can still hit. At this point in his career, he’s probably about to transition into a slightly younger version of David Freese. His offense and power potential will probably allow him to command about $10 million per year for two seasons, maybe three.
It’s hard to see the Pirates making that kind of commitment in an offseason where payroll is likely to remain the same or be reduced.
Walker returning to the Pirates could happen, but it isn’t likely. It doesn’t seem possible at all unless there’s a corresponding move to drop another significant contract.
How does the NFL wind up with contrarian owners who would make perfect Batman villains?
It used to be Al Davis with his ornate glasses frame and greasy hair. Now Jerry Jones has taken on that role, featuring the face lift that’s a llittle too tight and a possible hairpiece.
Throw in the greedy me-first attitude, and they would be perfect foils for the Caped Crusader.
Four cracks at a possible game-winning touchdown from inside the 2-yard line as time runs out.
Failure times four.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2016 Pitt football season in a nutshell.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org