By Scott Kaplan
The sideline of an NFL football game is the greatest seat in the house.
Over the 17-week regular season, I will provide my brand of sideline commentary for CBS Sports TV and Westwood One Sports Radio.
This video and photo series is from the Patriots-Chargers “Sunday Night Football” game in San Diego on Dec. 7. I was roaming the field for Westwood One as the eyes and ears of the broadcast, with Kevin Kugler on play-by-play, and the Hall of Famer, James Lofton providing color commentary.
Once I have a credential, an all-access pass to get right in the middle of the action, I shoot videos and pictures to take you places the broadcast typically cannot.
Most of my colleagues prefer the sideline; I have the need to work my way into center of it all.
This pic was taken by my producer, Roy, as I prepare to deliver my pre-game hit. I was talking about how New England spent its week in San Diego, and how its fans were taking over Qualcomm Stadium. Along with the desperate situation both teams were in.
This first video I posted on Instagram @scottkaplan is something I had never seen.
All NFL QB’s have their own pre-game rituals, yet I don’t recall seeing Tom Brady do this.
Perhaps this is Brady’s pre-game routine, yet I have never witnessed it. And it is unique to Brady.
This video was shot randomly, because I never know for sure where I will be on the field, and what I might see from the front row. The game is about to start, NBC is waiting to get the shot of Brady leading the Pats onto the field of enemy territory. It’s a dramatic football moment, with the Pats coming off a loss in Green Bay, the Chargers having never beat a Brady-led Patriots team and it’s Sunday night, with America watching the biggest star in the game.
Brady is clearly the leader of his team, and watch, he doesn’t need to say a word. Everything has been said, but he is breathing fire in front of his team.
When the game is over, there’s always a mad scramble to quickly secure a live post-game interview. TV gets first crack at who it wants. NBC’s Michelle Tafoya and I stand with the team’s media relations representatives as she puts in her list. I look at what she wants, and then I take the biggest star I can get.
Michelle wants Brady, obviously, and Julian Edelman, who had a 69-yard TD reception that blew the game open.
I want Darrelle Revis, who shut down Keenan Allen, SD’s most dangerous wide receiver.
I don’t know Revis well, but I played college ball with his uncle, Sean Gilbert. He’s now a candidate to become the president of the NFLPA. Darrell, like his uncle, played collegiately at PITT, and there is a nice brotherhood amongst guys who played at the same school, even in different eras.
There is mayhem on the field as the clock hits zero as all players race to midfield to say their congratulations. My goal is to snag the player before he reaches the hash marks, so I can get the interview. The bigger the profile of the player, the harder that is to do.
CLICK HERE for the two-minute, post-game interview.