National Football League
Behind the Scenes with FOX NFL Crew at Super Bowl LVII
National Football League

Behind the Scenes with FOX NFL Crew at Super Bowl LVII

Updated Feb. 9, 2023 3:38 p.m. ET

By Richie Zyontz
FOX NFL Lead Producer

Editor's Note: Richie Zyontz has been an NFL producer for FOX since 1994 and the lead producer for the last 20 seasons. He has more than 40 years of experience covering the league and has produced six Super Bowls. Throughout the 2022 NFL season, he will provide an inside look as FOX's new No. 1 NFL team makes its journey toward Super Bowl LVII.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The last time I laid eyes on State Farm Stadium was during a sleepy, steamy weekend in August. FOX was televising a preseason game between the Ravens and the Cardinals — a mere footnote to a long season eventually winding its way back to the same location for Super Bowl LVII.

Upon arriving for work Monday, it felt like an entirely different place.


Last-minute preparations were ongoing for Sundays clash between the Chiefs and Eagles (6:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App).

The NFL and FOX were putting their final touches on their various sets and facilities. Security checkpoints were already in place, snaking workers and visitors through a maze of barricades and scanners. Our television compound was unrecognizable compared to the game last summer. 

Whereas four trucks were required to broadcast that August tilt, this behemoth of an event requires 12.

Many unrecognizable faces were milling about. Perhaps that's because FOX needed 1,000 credentials for its combined pregame and game crews. By comparison, at the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia, the number was 400. A regular-season game would require around 130. 

All of this speaks to the magnitude of the event. We're working with more people, more equipment — more of everything.

Related: Greg Olsen's key matchup in Super Bowl LVII

Let's go through the camera setup as an example. For a regular-season game, the A-Game on FOX would feature 21 manned cameras. That number increased to 26 for the conference championship game. For the Super Bowl, we have 44. 

Why? Last time I checked, each team could still only have 11 players on the field at one time.

In my mind, the answer lies in preparing for the "what if" situations.

These usually involve the goal lines, the sidelines and the lines in the back of the end zones — the areas of the field where the most critical plays often occur. 

To anticipate those "what ifs," we've added six cameras dedicated to all those boundary lines. Hopefully, that will protect us — but even the best-laid plans can go awry due to unexpected obstructions, ruining what you expected to be a perfect shot. 

Two cameras have been added to strictly shoot each team's sideline. This will provide bench reactions and allow us to respond more quickly to observations we get off-air from Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi.

Best of all, we won't need to swing cameras away from game action to get these shots.

Finally, robotic cameras have been installed on the crossbars of each goalpost.

These will mostly follow slot receivers, those who line up more toward the middle of the field. Occasionally, this angle can provide unique looks at field goals — both made and missed.

Whether any of these add-ons factor into the actual game coverage remains to be seen. But planning for "what ifs" is a large part of the Super Bowl thought process. 

You always feel you're playing defense — it's just the nature of the beast. 

One of my goals heading into a Super Bowl is finding normalcy amid the chaos. How can we as a group maintain a regular state of mind while navigating our way through a very irregular week? 

Arriving in town a week before a game isn't standard practice. As busy as we are attending team practices and meeting with players and coaches, director Rich Russo and I are equally busy with a steady stream of meetings with the NFL, going over the game-day schedule with a fine-tooth comb.

Still ahead for us is the Friday run-through at the stadium where all the pre-kick activities (for the 40 minutes prior to kickoff) are rehearsed. Among these are the national anthem, the coin toss and team introductions. 

We always select a local high-school football team to stand in, not only helping with intros, but simulating a game to help Russo get some reps with his camera crew. It's always a great thrill for the kids and a big help for us. This year, that school is Desert Vista High School in Phoenix.

It's an interesting dynamic — the excitement we all feel about covering the game, combined with the exhaustion that creeps in during a seemingly endless week. 

Some of us have gone through the Super Bowl experience multiple times. Others, like Greg Olsen, Kevin Burkhardt and Rinaldi, are doing so for the first time. Regardless, my goal is to convey a sense of calmness and confidence. 

So far, so good! (That’s what the crew tells me, anyway.)

On Monday, with Super Bowl LVII in our rearview mirror, I'll provide a look back at how the big game unfolded. For now, the "what ifs" await! 

ARCHIVES: Look back at the season-long journey for the FOX NFL Crew:


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