It seems so primitive now. CBS used only 11 cameras for its coverage of Super Bowl I in 1967. The pregame show was a mere 30 minutes.
"The event has gotten bigger and bigger," said McManus, who now carries the title of chairman of CBS Sports.
"The pressure gets more intense with each one of these I do," McManus said. "Social media plays into that. There is immediate feedback, and a lot of it is negative. Everyone is paying attention to your announcers, your coverage of the game. If there is a controversial play, like there was in the AFC Championship Game, they want to know CBS has the definitive crystal-clear look."
The pressure is there because the reward is so great. Being the Super Bowl network means virtually the entire country will be watching CBS on Sunday.
"It's the biggest show on TV," McManus said. "Nothing approaches the rating we will generate for the game. There's a lot of pressure but also a great opportunity and incredible showcase for the entire CBS corporation."
For the first time ever on any network at a live sporting event, CBS' virtual plan includes the use of a live, wireless handheld camera showing augmented reality graphics and up-close camera tracking on the field. This will allow the camera to get closer to these virtual graphics in a way that gives viewers different perspectives and angles including never-before-seen field level views of these graphics.
CBS will utilize four cameras (including the SkyCam) with live augmented reality graphics, plus an additional 10 cameras with trackable first down line technology. In all, CBS says there will be 14 cameras creating virtual graphic elements "that are completely manufactured and will seamlessly blend in to the real environment of the broadcast."
Also, in another first, CBS will use multiple 8K cameras with a unique engineering solution to provide viewers with even more dramatic close-up views of the action from the end zone, including possible game-changing plays along the goal lines and end lines.
Yet at the end of the day for all technology and hoopla, McManus says it still comes down to televising a football game.
"You try to put all the hype and bigness behind you when you kick off the game," McManus said. "It's a football game. As we saw in the AFC Championship Game, if your crew is ready and you've done all the preparation you can, you can come up with a terrific broadcast."
"I took that advice not only in the literal sense, but be ready because you never know what's going to happen," Nantz said. "You never know if the next snap is going to be the play that is going be the game-changer or be one of the iconic plays in the history of the Super Bowl."
NFL Network will have an 8 1/2-hour edition of NFL GameDay Morning beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Yes, 8 1/2 hours. That's what you do when you have NFL in your title.
Among the highlights:
-- Players Only: Warner, Michael Irvin, McGinest, Steve Smith Sr. and Michael Robinson discuss what it's like playing in your first Super Bowl.
-- And not sure about this feature, but the press release says, "Rich Eisen takes on nine-time Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt in the 40-yard dash." Will Eisen be in a car?