Why CBS is rooting for a kicker to hit the upright on Super Bowl Sunday

Two CBS Sports executives were watching from behind the uprights at last year’s Super Bowl when Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker lined up to attempt a 42-yard field goal late in the first quarter.

Jason Cohen and Mike Francis say they both had an epiphany after Butker’s kick drifted left and hit the goal post.

“We both looked at each other at the same time and said, ‘Oh my God!'” Cohen, CBS Sports’ vice president of Remote Technical Operations, said Thursday during a conference call with reporters.

Butker’s narrow miss was the inspiration for CBS' unveiling the “Doink Camera” on Feb. 11, when the 49ers meet the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII. The network is inserting six “Doink Cameras” inside the uprights at Allegiant Stadium, enabling its Super Bowl broadcast to capture unprecedented angles of field goals and extra points.

Cohen said the uprights in both end zones will have three “Doink Cameras” apiece, each facing the field at different angles. While the cameras have the ability to provide a unique perspective of more than just field goals and extra points, Cohen admitted that CBS wouldn’t mind seeing either Butker or San Francisco rookie kicker Jake Moody hit an upright.

“Obviously, if we get a doink, we’ll all be very excited and probably high-five each other in the truck,” Cohen said.

The process of securing the NFL’s permission to use the “Doink Cameras” began immediately after last year’s Super Bowl. CBS had to draw up engineering plans to prove to the league that the integrity of the goalposts wouldn’t be affected.

The network tested the “Doink Cameras” during an Aug. 19 preseason game between the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and during an October regular-season game at Allegiant Stadium. The results were encouraging enough for CBS to move forward with its plans to debut the “Doink Cameras” on Super Bowl Sunday.

Three cameras installed on each goal post will provide a unique perspective on Super Bowl Sunday. (Photo courtesy of CBS)
Three cameras installed on each goal post will provide a unique perspective on Super Bowl Sunday. (Photo courtesy of CBS)

Even though Butker was the impetus for the invention of the "Doink Camera," he is 33-for-35 on field-goal attempts this season and has yet to miss an extra point. Moody, who has botched a field-goal attempt in each of the 49ers’ two playoff victories, seems to be the more likely candidate to give CBS a chance to showcase its "Doink Cameras."

“It’s all about the storytelling,” said Harold Bryant, CBS Sports executive producer and EVP, production. “We’re not going to force in the elements. We’re going to find out what works to help tell the story of the game, the story of the moment.”

Yet when a reporter concluded his question by saying he was “rooting for one off the goal posts” next Sunday, Bryant was quick to agree.

Responded Bryant with a chuckle, “So are we.”