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NFL celebrates 80th anniversary of first televised game

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  • By NFL.com
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Tuesday marked the 80th anniversary of the first televised NFL game, a regular-season matchup between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 22, 1939.

In front of 13,057 fans at Ebbets Field, home of the MLB's Brooklyn Dodgers at the time, the NFL's Dodgers beat the Eagles, 23-14. Ralph Kercheval hit three field goals, and Ace Parker's 47-yard TD pass to Perry Schwartz in the third quarter sealed the win for Brooklyn.

The stats from the game's box score are not so readily available, but those of the NBC broadcast crew are. There was just one announcer, Allen (Skip) Walz, and eight members of the production staff. The broadcast utilized two cameras and reached a worldwide audience of 1,000 viewers.

"I'd sit with my chin on the rail in the mezzanine, and the camera was over my shoulder," Walz told the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "I did my own spotting, and when the play moved up and down the field, on punts or kickoffs, I'd point to tell the cameraman what I'd be talking about.

"It was a cloudy day, when the sun crept behind the stadium there wasn't enough light for the cameras. The picture would get darker and darker, and eventually it would go completely blank, and we'd revert to a radio broadcast."

According to the Hall of Fame, the game began at 2:30 p.m. and ran for two hours, 33 minutes and 10 seconds. There were no commercial interruptions.

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