Broadcasting the Super Bowl

Broadcasting the Super Bowl
Photograph by Ryan Dorsett

NAME: Stephanie Druley | AGE: 44 | HOMETOWN: Houston | QUALIFICATIONS: Works as a senior coordinating producer for ESPN / Oversees all of the network’s NFL studio shows / Made the decision to base ESPN’s Super Bowl XLV coverage in Fort Worth instead of Dallas

• To use a sports analogy, I’m either the coach or the general manager. I’m involved in managing all the content for our shows, and I work with all the producers. Two weeks before the Super Bowl, a small group arrives and starts setting up offices, and then the big production trucks roll in. Logistically it’s a little crazy, because we bring in more than 350 people. For seven days it is wall-to-wall television.

• Fort Worth is Cowtown, and we want an iconic background for our broadcast that gives us a flavor of the area. But I don’t want people to walk away thinking that Texas is all about cowboys and hats and stuff like that, so we’ll try with our cameras to show a variety of different stuff. But it’s funny. Everybody who works with me here in Connecticut forgets that I’m a Texan, so when I was in Fort Worth, they were like, “Oh, you spoke their language.”

• Sunday is a very long day. I come in and check with the producers and see what needs to be buttoned up, but you’ve done so much preparation by that time that it’s really not frantic. Of course, it can get crazy if a story breaks. We were in San Diego in 2003 when one of the Raiders went missing in Tijuana.

• At this time of year, our mantra is “We’ll sleep in February.”

• We’re all addicted to our BlackBerrys, of course. There’s constant e-mailing and texting. But it’s a lot easier than it used to be. We used to carry pagers around. Remember what that was like? You’d get a page and have to return a phone call on a giant cell phone.

• I think this is my fourteenth Super Bowl, and my first one was in the Superdome, in 1997, which was also Brett Favre’s first Super Bowl. I stood in the end zone for the entire game. That was really, really cool.

• Postgame is a crazy show, because the highlights have to be cut very quickly. So there’s a little bit of stress in terms of getting that on TV. Then Tom Jackson and Chris Berman and Steve Young are on the field—they do some analysis, and you jump to some sound of the press conferences that are going on. When the Steelers won in 2009, Ben Roethlisberger jumped our set. He tackled Boomer on the air, so that was memorable.

• I’m blessed to have worked on as many games as I have. But there are times when I wonder what it would be like to sit at home and host a Super Bowl party.

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