The 32nd Annual Sports Emmy Awards were held tonight in New York City and if NFL programming is missing next season it will be dark coming off a sensational Emmy Awards as NFL-related programming dominated the awards. And the dominance was about more than awards as the emotional highpoint of the evening was a constant stream of support for Steve Sabol of NFL Films, who is currently undergoing treatments for a brain tumor.
The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award went to the US Open Tennis Championships in 3D and CBS Sports. Ken Aagaard, CBS Sports EVP of Engineering, Operations, and Production, said that, if his late friend George Wensel were on hand, he would have been in awe of this year’s nominees and their respective accomplishments.
“Thanks to NEP and the genius of Vince Pace and his experts,” added Aagaard of a win that he also credited to CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, the US Open production team, Panasonic, the engineering staff, and DIRECTV.
A new award this year was presented for Outstanding Playoff Coverage and it went to CBS Sports for NCAA Basketball coverage.
“What an honor to be up here for CBS Sports as it has been 19 years since the tournament has been recognized in this fashion and it is the heart and soul of CBS Sports,” said Harold Bryant, CBS Sports, executive producer.
CBS Sports continued its night of excellence by grabbing the Emmy for Outstanding Technical Team Remote for Golf on CBS.
As for on-air talent, the drama of the XXI Winter Olympics helped give Mike Emrick a well deserved Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play during his calls for the men’s hockey medal rounds. Other on-air personality awards were presented to Cris Collinsworth for Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Event Analyst and Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN took home the Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst, for his work on College GameDay. The final award of the evening was for Outstanding Sports Personality Studio Host, presented to Bob Costas for his work at NBC and the MLB Network.
The Lifetime Achievement Award to Al Michaels was another highlight of the evening.
“I have been at the right place at the right time unbelievably often,” said Michaels, pointing to Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, and Jim McKay as mentors and idols whom he now shares the award with.
Michaels, during his Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech, said that Emrick’s award was long over due before diving into his own career highlights.
Lake Placid tops the list of professional right places, right times (meeting his future wife Linda in the 10th grade tops the entire list). “They were doling out the assignments and asking who was going to do hockey,” recalled Michaels. He got the assignment because he had called one hockey game: one more than legends like Howard Cosell, Jack Whitaker, and others.
“Our philosophy every week is go out and do the best football game you’ve ever done,” he said of his current crew at NBC Sunday Night Football. “I just feel like I’m surrounded by the greats.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was on hand for Michaels’s induction. “No one has contributed anymore to the growth of our game since you have been involved for the past 25 yards,” said Jones. “And if it’s on Sunday Night Football, I know there will be one professional in front of millions of people who will do it as well as it can be done. And that’s Al Michaels.”
Cris Collinsworth, Michaels’s partner, said that Michaels enjoys life and has been a part of so many great broadcast teams but, “for my money when Al Michaels and John Madden worked together, it was a symphony …and something that should be studied for the ages.”
When he was asked to replace Madden, he was ready to balk until he learned that Michaels seems to be committed to doing nothing but making his partner look great.
“He is a guy that believes in the team above and beyond all else,” he added. “And you have not lived until you have heard Al singing Katie Perry during a commercial break.”
The complete list of winners are:
Outstanding Studio Show Weekly: College Game Day ESPN
Outstanding Live Event Audio: NASCAR on Fox
The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award: CBS Sports and US Open Tennis Championships in 3D
Outstanding Production Design/Art Direction: NFL on CBS, Super Bowl XLIV
Outstanding Short Feature: NFL on CBS, Wynton Marsalis, “43 Years” for Super Bowl XLIV
Outstanding Editing: HBO for “24/7, Jimmie Johnson, Race to Daytona”
Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement, Institutional: Fox Sports, MLB All-Star Game, “Sand”
Outstanding Technical Team, Studio: NBC, XXI Olympic Winter Games
Outstanding Graphics Design: A tie honoring both ESPN (for Sport Science) and NBC for the XXI Olympic Winter Games
Outstanding Sports Documentary: HBO/NFL Films for “Lombardi”
Outstanding New Approaches, Sports Programming: NBCOlympics.com and NBCLearn.com for XXI Olympic Winter Games
Outstanding Playoff Coverage: CBS Sports, NCAA Basketball
Outstanding Camera Work: HBO for “Hard Knocks, NFL Training Camp With the New York Jets”
Outstanding Edited Sports Special: HBO, “Road to the NHL Winter Classic”
Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics: Another tie: ESPN and ABC, for 2010 FIFA World Cup, and CBS, for “NFL on CBS,” Super Bowl XLIV
Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement, Episodic: Fox Sports for NFL, “It’s Good To Have a Ring”
Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play: Mike Emrick, NBC
Outstanding new Approaches, Sports Event Coverage: “NFL Sunday Ticket Experience” on DIRECTV
Outstanding Open/Tease: NBC for XXI Olympic Winter Games
Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound: HBO and NFL Films, “Hard Knocks”
Outstanding Sports Personality, Sports Event Analyst: Cris Collinsworth, NBC
The Dick Schaap Writing Award: ESPN/ABC for 2010 FIFA World Cup
Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst: Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN
Outstanding New Approaches Sports Programming, Short Format: NBCOlympics.com for the XXI Olympic Winter Games
Outstanding Studio Show: MLB Network for “MLB Tonight”
Outstanding Technical Team Remote: Golf on CBS
Outstanding Long Feature: ESPN2 and “E:60” for “Survival 1”
Outstanding Edited Sports Series/Anthology: HBO for “Hard Knocks”
Outstanding Live Sports Series: NBC for “NBC Sunday Night Football”
Outstanding Sports Journalism: HBO for “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, the Missing Link”
Outstanding Live Event Turnaround: NFL Network for “Sound FX”
Outstanding Live Sports Special: ABC for 2010 FIFA World Cup final Spain vs. Netherlands
Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host: Bob Costas for his work for NBC and MLB Network