Holiday Thoughts

Silent Night

I recently remembered an NFL game quite a few years ago between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.  (Note:  I had to look up the date, and was surprised to find out it was Dec. 20, 1980-by pure coincidence, this marks the 30th anniversary…)  Normally, this wouldn’t have stood out in memory, but this particular game was a little bit different.  It was called the “silent game,” because NBC had decided on an experiment of using no announcers through the entire broadcast.  All you got were the sounds of plays, the crowd, referee’s whistles, tackling, etc.  No commentary on the action.  You were left to make your own interpretations and it forced a focus on some of the more subtle (or just appreciate the more obvious) aspects of the game, since so much of that was usually intertwined with audio commentary.  It ended up being much like attending a game in person, but without a stadium announcer and only occasional flashes of data and scores on the screen.  I remember thinking that, in a way, it was kind of refreshing… but, obviously, the idea never took hold.  It’s hard to imagine that happening today, with so much riding on the personalities and “expert” analysis of the action, during the game itself and in the accompanying coverage. Read more