Behind the Scenes with FOX NFL Crew: Truckin’ through L.A.

Published by Richie Zyontz
FOX NFL Senior Producer

Editor’s note: Richie Zyontz has been an NFL producer for FOX since 1994 and a lead producer for the last 20 seasons. He has over 40 years of experience covering the league and has made six Super Bowls. Throughout the 2022 NFL season, he will provide an inside look at how FOX’s new No. 1 NFL team makes the journey toward Super Bowl LVII.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Some people work in offices. others in their homes. Our workplace every Sunday is inside a truck.

It’s not a pickup or a U-Haul, but a semi-truck. But unlike the semis you see on every highway hauling furniture or vegetables, our truck carries millions of dollars worth of broadcast equipment.

The FOX Sports production can be turned into a mobile television studio in a matter of hours. (Photo courtesy of Richie Zyontz)

Our team of drivers usually arrive on Friday morning. They park the trucks either outside the stadium or in a designated loading area inside, next to the field.

It takes three to four hours to turn our big rig into a mobile television studio.

At first glance inside our truck, the 20-foot-wide wall of monitors, the many work stations with dozens of switches, buttons and speakers, and the futuristic table in front of our technical director , Colby beat you. Bourgeois. Prying eyes may also notice the refrigerator, coffee machine and unhealthy snacks, which are a staple of our business.

All those TV screens…

The search wall is strategically designed to accommodate the vision of the producer and director.

Director Rich Russo focuses on the monitors showing the output of his 20 cameras. They are marked with the number and name of the camera person. These numbers are not chosen randomly, but logically based on the area around the field.

As a producer, my eyes lock onto the 15 playback monitors identified by letters or colors. To make ourselves healthy, some are marked with Greek letters such as Delta and Gamma. For Super Bowls, we expand geographically with machines called Utah, Idaho and Montana. (My request for Uzbekistan never picked up steam.)

In addition, both Russo and I monitor the monitors that display the graphics. That’s exactly what the eyes do – I’ll save the ears for another week.

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One footnote about life in the truck: Besides junk food, another major industry is nicknames. Get into our truck, and you’ll hear names like Mookie, Gibby, Drano, Buzz, Chevy, Schlo and Crash. And believe me, they all get good food.

Cameraman Andy Mitchell provides all the action from position No. 9 in Sunday’s game between the Niners and Rams at SoFi Stadium. (Photo courtesy of Richie Zyontz)

Camera 9 and Videotape 0

For 25 years, Andy Mitchell has captured extraordinary images from his low-zone camera setup, No.

Mitchell’s low end zone position is perfect for delivering tight shots of the action. (Photo courtesy of Richie Zyontz)

Andy, the ever-cheerful Philadelphian (imagine that?), has a cinematographer’s eye for framing tight, dramatic shots. A reel of the best pictures of Andrew’s career could take hours to view.

Lars, a San Franciscan who recently moved to Ohio, has terrific instincts and judgment – someone I trust completely. Their work ethic and commitment is great. They only have nicknames.

Mitchell and playback operator Lars Pacheco have worked together for the past 25 years. (Photo courtesy of Richie Zyontz)

Good day for pictures

Regional games are special. The Rams and the 49ers don’t like each other. The excitement went up before the game, with some pushing and shoving going on throughout.

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Niners dominate in LA

Niners dominate in LA

Christian McCaffrey accounted for 183 total yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ victory over the rival Rams.

This intensity increases coverage. Mitchell and our entire camera crew documented the simmering atmospheres on the field and on the sideline.

In a game with many stars, one of them shone the brightest.

With tempers flaring all around, San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey kept his cool and stole the show by becoming the first player since 2005 to record a rushing, passing and receiving TD in the one game.

“Anytime you get in the end zone, it’s fun!”

"Anytime you get in the end zone, it's fun!"

Christian McCaffrey talks to Erin Andrews after becoming the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson to score a TD as a passer, receiver and runner.

Our field-grade cameras provided vivid, tight footage of McCaffrey throughout the evening. His all-around performance helped San Francisco roll to a 31-14 victory.

Now, our drivers saddle up the big rigs and head to Detroit next week for another divisional battle between the Packers and the Lions.

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