College basketball is back, which should prompt all of us to pen a nice thank you card to Fox Sports for bringing back "Roundball Rock", John Tesh's exhilarating instrumental piece that brought the NBA on NBC to and from commercial breaks.
Keeping the nostalgics going, here a few other fun innovations and features to spice up our sports broadcasts again.
Fox's NHL Robots
The NHL on Fox's brief but memorable tenure is perhaps best known for the infamous "glow puck", yet not all of the 90's antics going on at the network were negative. Perhaps foreshadowing their use of football-loving Terminator Cleatus, Fox would often bookend its hockey coverage with Transformers-esque robots that would routinely alternate blows throughout the game, depending on who was winning. After all, people do seem to love shelling out their $10.50 to watch the Michael Bay-helmed explosion-fests...why not give the people what they want for free in their NFL, MLB, or college hoops coverage?
Fox's Unique Themes
Everybody loves the NFL on Fox theme, with the general consensus being that it has the perfect dramatics and gravitas for a football setting. However, since 2010, Fox has used the theme as a universal tone for all of its sports coverage. Roundball Rock has been primarily used in college basketball on the network (and trickled to FS1 games as well), but the football theme has nonetheless eschewed classic MLB and NASCAR themes (the former is still used on FSN regional broadcasts). It has even been heard during golf coverage, which is perhaps the last place to play it. Corporate synergy is understandable, but it's time to see the unique themes return, if only as a backup setting.
Monday Night Football's Exploding Helmets
This one might be a bit difficult to navigate, considering the continuous issues with injuries suffered due to helmet-to-helmet hits, but it's almost every kid's dream to see. Heck, who wouldn't be pumped up for a big game after a display like that? Monday Night Football has been eager, almost a little desperate, to retain some of its former glory. Nostalgia is a great selling point, so it'd be fun to see a staple of the 1980s and 90s made its way to the new century/decade.
Wednesday Night Rivalry
There's no denying that the NHL may be stuck in last (at least in the United States) when it comes to the "Big Four" North American sports. Thus, it needs as many big events as it can get, which probably led to the advent of outdoor games outside Winter Classic. Wednesday Night Rivalry was a great concept, the monotony of a winter hump day broken by a gritty showdown. Unfortunately, the concept got lost when "Washington Capitals vs. Anyone" was more or less considered a rivalry, and the concept has since been retooled as a general "Wednesday Night Hockey" experience. Returning to the rivalry concept and sticking with it would be a nice way for the NHL to raise their profile.
The AAF's Cameras In the Replay Booth
Who's to say failures of the past can give way to the graphic innovations of the future? The original XFL, for example, saw its legacy live beyond its single season when other sports began adapting the SkyCam and the in-game interview to their own broadcasts. There's a chance for the doomed Alliance of American Football to have a similar impact. Say what you will about the poorly run league, their openness with the replay system, which allowed viewers to see the conversation between the officials and the video booth, was second-to-none. In this era where almost EVERY play is looked at upstairs, such transparency would be highly welcomed from fans and observers at both the pro and college level.