New York—With the forecast calling for an average February night (The Weather Channel currently predicts a 26 degree night with 10% chance of snow on Super Bowl Sunday), it appears for the time being that Fox and NFL have dodged a potentially ugly weather situation.
But those who know how fickle East Coast weather can be understand that forecasts can change at a moment's notice and any potential effect the cold weather will have a big part in Fox's coverage. "It's just another storyline," Fox Sports president & COO Eric Shanks told reporters on Tuesday.
"Whether you're a football fan or not, you can understand it," Shanks continued. "Everybody talks about the weather." He said the ones who will be affected the most by the cold weather will be the officials, since they don't get the luxury of standing next to heaters on the sidelines that the players will have Sunday night.
While Shanks says Fox is prepared for any weather scenario, he admitted that seeing CBS' coverage during last year's 34-minute blackout at the New Orleans Superdome helped him make sure Fox would be ready for more than just bad weather.
"That was our fire drill," Shanks told B&C. He said that the Fox broadcast team has a plan in place on how to handle a potential power outage, one of them is making sure their "core facilities" are able to be self powered if needed. "It's not often that you get an exact scenario you can look back on."
"We have a plan," he said. "As long as we can executive that plan and everything doesn't go completely sideways we feel pretty confident."
Count Shanks among those who had no problem with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's controversial postgame interview with Erin Andrews following Seattle's win in the NFC Championship Game. "It's rare that you get to see that raw emotion and I think it was refreshing." He did say however, that he agreed with the network's decision to cut off the interview early.
If Sherman gives another memorable postgame interview on Sunday night, it won't be Andrews holding the mic, however. Shanks said fellow sideline reporter Pam Oliver will work the Seahawks sideline while Andrews will be on the Broncos' side.
Shanks explained that the assignments were determined before the Jan. 19 NFC Championship game, noting that Oliver (who is the sideline reporter for Fox's top broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman) has always worked NFC sidelines for their Super Bowls.