With every passing year, the Super Bowl seems to set yet another ratings record. Last year's game counted 114.4 million viewers in the U.S., trumping the 112.2 million record from the big game in 2014.

When the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos clash at Sunday's Super Bowl 50 live from San Francisco's Levi's Stadium, things shouldn't be any different.

All the more reason why CBS Sports needs to run flawlessly - thankfully the network is in good hands with Executive Vice President Ken Aagaard, who will be overseeing his 20th Super Bowl.

CBS Sports already helped Tech Times to compile a complete Super Bowl 50 Technology By The Numbers piece, including mentions of 70 game cameras being used and, for the first time in Super Bowl history, cameras being embedded into the pylons standing in the end zone.

Now Aagaard joins us to talk about the pains to which the network has gone to execute the perfect broadcast: the pylon cameras and how Sony gave CBS a 1-of-1 4K camera prototype to use for the game, anticipating technical issues, the NFL-Surface debacle, and the unbelievable location where one camera will be strategically placed.

On Beginning To Describe The Magnitude Of Broadcasting A Super Bowl:

Every year, it's the biggest audience of all time in broadcasting. Going into it, yeah, there's a lot of pressure on all of us, but having said that, we really don't feel the pressure as it relates to getting it done. We've been fortunate this year that we at CBS Sports produced Thursday Night Football, again, which was a big show that traveled every week with multiple people and cameras that were less than the Super Bowl, but not significantly.

So, because of that, we found ourselves in a situation that we come into the Super Bowl this year more prepared than we've ever been because we've had more practice with it all season long. So, that's a big plus for us. When you get into your studio shows, which are a lot bigger, [traveling] ... plus, in addition, we have shows all year long.

It's all the ancillary broadcast elements that make the magnitude of the event bigger. CBS News is coming by, all of our affiliates are here, we are working with the Late Show — Stephen Colbert's show — which follows the show immediately, as well as The Late Late Show.

When you take the company as a whole and we the sports guys are the epicenter of all that ... that really increases the scope of what we're trying to pull off.

Pylon Camera Angles Adding To The Broadcast

The pylon cameras we introduced at the beginning of Thursday Night Football, and we had four at the beginning of every game. Starting last week, with the AFC championship game, which was one of the largest ratings of all time in Denver, for the first time, we put out four [cameras] in each end zone. Each pylon has two cameras, so it's a total of eight pylons with two cameras, so that means we have 16 angles that are looking down the goal line, side lines and back line of the goal.

We have the whole goal-line covered in every play. So, if we have that play in the corner of the end zone, it's another great angle for us. We've had some great angles for Thursday Night Football and a couple of good ones in Denver for the AFC championship. For the Super Bowl, this is the first time we're doing that and we're really excited about the view we're going to get from the pylons.

Possible Use Of RFID Tracking Chips For On-Air Graphics:

We've been doing next-gen stats, using all the sensors that are on the players. We did that all Thursday Night Football long [in the 2015 NFL season] and on our 'A' NFL game [on Sundays] as well. We used it in the game in London, we used it in the AFC game in Denver, so we are tracking those players and getting that data provided to us by the NFL.

Are we going to show you the speed of a wide receiver? I can't tell you that because we're going to try to show you what's germane to the game at the time. If the speed of a particular wide receiver or defensive back is something that's interesting, then, yeah, we'll try to show that.

We know the teams now. We know the Denver Broncos and we know the Carolina Panthers, we know the better players and have a good idea for what they're going to do and what they're not going to do. Our guys will try to build things that will be prepared to be able to react to how the play goes, but you don't ever know how the plays are going to go. But yes, we will have some next-gen stats that will air in the game.

On The Possibility Of Game-Worn Cameras On Players And Coaches:

We've experimented with that and there are some really slick, elegant systems that are being used that can be placed in helmets or masks, but at this point, we're still experimenting with it. It's not the kind of thing that the NFL wants to allow us to do yet. The technology is there, but the idea of doing it hasn't been accepted as yet.

New Innovations For Super Bowl 50:

We're always doing that. The pylon cameras are a good example. Behind the scenes, we've added some really cool microphones. We built new parab dishes for audio effects. We're continually trying to push the envelope. We have a 360 camera system. We used it a couple of times in Dallas, but hopefully, we'll add some new wrinkles to it — put some graphic insertions into the 360 playback, which would actually kind of give us a vertical graphic pane that could show whether the ball crossed the first-down line. That's an example of how we're taking technology that we used before and are going to make it even better.

Sony gave us a new prototype 4K camera. It's a part of their 4,000 series. There's only one on Earth. We used it in the Divisional [game] in Denver, in the AFC championship and now we're going to put it in the Super Bowl on our reverse cart. It's on our primary camera reverse side, so it's looking back at the play going the other way, so it's used only as a replay.

It's basically eight times the frame rate of a [traditional camera]. The resolution we get off of that camera ... that camera is so new, they haven't even named it. It's so cool that when we play it back, our tape operator has the ability to zoom in and the resolution stays, so when you see it, you don't even realize how good the camera is because it's like, 'Oh my God, the camera guy was really smart.' But yes, we're always trying to push the envelope, especially when it comes to the Super Bowl.

But one of the problems when it comes to a Super Bowl is you don't want to necessarily be introducing everything new that ends up getting our production guys in a situation where you're not used to it. We're giving them so much equipment. You got to be careful. You don't want to give them too much.

Dealing With Unexpected Technology Mishaps:

This is my 20th Super Bowl and I could tell you right now that something will go wrong. It always does. I say to my guys all the time — 'We're playing with equipment and we're playing with people. People make mistakes and equipment fails.' That's just the way it is.

So, what our job is, is to make sure the recovery is there. If we have an outage of a camera, of a feed, anything longer than one second is too long for me. I just want to make sure that we go through our little war games all year, talking about what if. Now, if it's a simple camera [failure], you cut around it, do without it, try to fix it and come back. If it's something a bit more major, then the idea is to try to be able to recover and fix it. But with the fact that we got over 100 cameras and I don't know how many channels of playback we have, we're not going to lose everything, so you work around whatever you got.

With a big event like the Super Bowl, we lose a camera here or a tape replay here or graphic device there and you'll never even know that it was a problem. I'll have all the right guys in the back fixing it and moving on. It's live TV and that's what makes it different and exciting. It's how we react. That's how I judge my people.

On CBS Reported Microsoft Surface Failure in the AFC Title Game; Microsoft's Blog Denying A Tech Issue With The Tablets:

That's not an issue for me to discuss because I know it's all about rights issues. We're all kind of coming together, as it relates to dealing with everybody from Apple to Microsoft to Google to whatever. [Working with tech companies is] going to happen more and more. So, we're going to be working together more and more. We did an NFL game in London that just aired on Google. We produced it. That is going to happen more and more and as the rights dictate it, we're ready to go.

Conceiving The Idea Of Placing A Camera On Top Of The Needle At The Great American Amusement Park Neighboring Levi's Stadium:

We're not allowed during the game to fly a blimp because the NFL and FAA clears the airspace. That's happened for years during Super Bowls just from a security point of view. So, I'm always looking for shots that I could have that are permanent, that's looking back at the stadium.

So, when I did our first survey, I looked up and saw that Needle and said, 'Well, I'm putting a camera there.' I've had guys working on this for months. We're doing shows starting Monday at Super Bowl City and I had to figure out how I could get that camera from that Needle back to those guys, so they could show what's going on and what's being built.

But I had to do it in an affordable manner, so we had to figure out how to get it delivered by an IP signal, so yes, it has taken a lot of work and a lot of effort. Then, during the game, it's a shot we can go to. You need something that's going to put a sense of place and that's why we'll have that shot. Watch us.

— Ken Aagaard as told by Mark Lelinwalla

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