Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roll The Video

Back when TigerBlog was responsible for producing the football media guide each year, he used to tell himself that he would write update five player bios a day in March and April, so it wouldn't be such an arduous chore when the deadline time approached.

And, of course, in all those years, TB never once actually did that.

The football media guide was the primary chore for TB at this time of the summer for eight different summers. Once the Ivy League adopted its media day in Connecticut each summer (an event that no longer exists), TB had to get it done in time for that event - or suffer the unimaginable shame of being the only school not to have one done.

As far as TigerBlog remembers, no school ever showed up at the media day without its guide, though there were all kinds of occasions where the guides were finished with literally minutes to spare.

In Princeton's case, TB more than once had to get one box of printed guides from the printer on the drive to Connecticut, because he had cut it too close.

Back then, it took about three weeks to print a guide like the football guide, which was usually 144 pages. It'd be a week to get a proof print, and then two more to get it printed, bound and shipped.

Today, such a process could be completed in three days, rather than weeks - or even less.

Of course, it was important to get the football guide done so TB could start on the basketball guide, because if football season started before the basketball guide was mostly done, that was another nightmare.

TigerBlog thought back to those days as he watched Part II of the video of Princeton head coach Bob Surace and his former teammate, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, as they chatted outside Caldwell Fieldhouse.

The move to eliminate media guides - at least as recruiting tools - had many elements to it, especially:

* money - it cost thousands of dollars to print a football guide and tens of thousands to print all the guides that Princeton used to print

* arms race - schools, especially the major BCS conference ones, were producing 500-, 600-page guides that were hard-cover, all in the name of showing recruits the commitment they had to the sport

As a result, rules were passed that limited how may pages could be in a guide and then ultimately made it against NCAA policy to send them to recruits. Once that happened, the guides became true "media" guides.

From TB's perspective, the No. 1 reason to stop doing guides was that they had little value. All the information was available online, as opposed to the version that was printed and then became obsolete once the first play of the new season happened.

TB remembers diligently filling out opponents sections for guides, until it dawned on him that nobody would care how many returning starters the Week 7 opponent had or who its assistant coaches were.

As video technology increases somewhat hourly and makes it easier and easier to view - and produce - clips like the one of Surace and Garrett have much greater appeal to the audience that guides used to serve, with the possible exception of long-time media types.

Were you a recruit, would you rather see a picture of Jason Garrett in a book that you probably can't find five minutes after you get it, or be able to see a video of Garrett and Surace? In TB's mind, it's not even a debate.

One thing TigerBlog would love to do is get as many Princeton athletic icons on video as possible.

The video last year of 100-year-old Jack Bales was outstanding, and it also turned out to be invaluable, as Bales passed away last month.

It would be great to put together a big archive of similar videos, though the hard part is getting the subjects when they're spread out literally around the world.

When Princeton first went down the video path, TigerBlog had every confidence that it was the right decision and that it would be hugely successful.

In fact, he hadn't been that confident in one of his opinions since back when he said that minor league baseball would never work in Trenton.

Hey, at least this time, he was right.


Anonymous said...

If not for the media guide, how would people have known about Princeton's innovative multiple-tightend set back in 2001?

Anonymous said...

Which was the last season Princeton produced a football media guide? Did all the various media guides get discontinued the same year or was it a gradual fade to black?

Princeton OAC said...

This would be the third year that Princeton has not done a football media guide, or a media guide in any sport.