Eye in the Sky

Broadcasting from above the gridiron ever since the 1960 Orange Bowl, Goodyear’s blimp stretches 192 feet long, boasts 12,840 pounds of mass, and is filled with almost enough helium to make James Earl Jones sound like a pussy (202,700 cubic feet, to be exact). Here’s how it will bring you Monday Night Football.
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Broadcasting from above the gridiron ever since the 1960 Orange Bowl, Goodyear’s blimp stretches 192 feet long, boasts 12,840 pounds of mass, and is filled with almost enough helium to make James Earl Jones sound like a pussy (202,700 cubic feet, to be exact). Here’s how it will bring you Monday Night Football.

MONSTER HITS   |   CHAMPIONSHIP DEFENSE   |   EYE IN THE SKY


EYE IN THE SKY

1. Equipment
The passenger seats are swapped out for TV monitors, camera controls, and the camera itself—over half a million dollars of gear. “The camera, zoom lens, and stabilization equipment are all mounted into a 100-pound ball that can pan, tilt, and spin 360 degrees,” says Goodyear flyboy Jim Maloney.

2. Long View
From 1,500 feet above the tackles, the camera’s 36:1 zoom lens can zero in on a single player. “Usually we’re zoomed in on the whole team just before the snap,” Maloney says. “Then, if it’s handed off to a player, the cameraman will zoom in more and follow him as he runs across the field.”

3. Delivery
The camera’s high-definition picture is compressed and fired down via micro­wave to antennas sitting in the sta­dium. The signal is never encoded for security. If you had the same microwave demodulator that Goodyear uses, you could pirate the blimp’s sinal. Shhhh! The brand name is Duma.