open mike is OK with Criner
By Steve Addy - LAS VEGAS
SUN - www.lasvegassun.com
NBA coaches and players complained about wireless microphones
and locker room cameras last season, the league chided their
overreaction, but pulled the plug for harmony's sake.
Criner doesn't understand all the fuss.
Vegas' new XFL coach wore a microphone for six years in NFL
Europe, and he isn't fazed that the WWF-created league plans
to wire everyone except the water boy when it debuts in February.
will be no such thing as a private moment on the field, not
with eyeball-sized cameras planted in helmets, open microphones
everywhere and all of it fodder for the real-time Internet broadcast.
great for the fans, and it honestly doesn't interfere with your
ability to coach," Criner said.
coaches as a group are unlikely proponents of such technology,
especially when it violates the supposed sanctity of their locker
room or sideline discussions. How long would it take for Buddy
Ryan to grind his microphone under his heel or drop-kick the
Coach-Cam into Row 15?
the XFL hopes to attract fans by taking them behind the scenes,
so Criner and his fellow coaches will have to embrace the high-tech
intrusion whether they like it or not.
want to take fans into the locker room at halftime," XFL
president Basil DeVito said. "We want them to hear what's
happening on the sidelines and in the huddle. If a guy drops
a pass, we want to hear what the quarterback says when he gets
back to the huddle."
cutting-edge idea, to be sure, but the NBA had trouble implementing
such a policy in the middle of last season.
Paul Westphal of Seattle and Butch Carter of Toronto were fined
$100,000 apiece when they refused to be miked for games on NBC.
The players union filed an unfair labor practice complaint with
the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the new TV policy
had to be collectively bargained. Rather than fight it, the
NBA pulled the plug and rescinded the fines.
the XFL, everybody will know the policy from the start.
don't have any problem with it," Criner said. "It's
something I'm quite accustomed to. We've done all that stuff
in Europe, with cameras on the quarterbacks and linebackers'
helmets. It doesn't bother me as a coach. The great thing is
it gives the fans insight and knowledge that they wouldn't get
perfect example came this season on May 21 when the Claymores
hosted Frankfurt. The game went into overtime at 24-24, and
in NFL Europe each team gets one possession before sudden death
scored first and kicked the conversion for a 31-24 lead, but
Scotland came right back with its own touchdown. That left Criner
with a decision: go for the point-after kick and take his chances
in sudden death, or try for a two-point conversion to win the
called timeout, and all of the deliberations went out live over
asked my defensive coordinator (Myrel Moore) if he felt we could
stop them (on the next possession)," Criner said. "He
said no. We also had some very tired guys and a few injury situations,
so I thought about it and decided to go for two."
fans saw and heard Claymores QB Kevin Daft call the play and
encourage his teammates, then his angry reaction after the play
broke down and he had to throw the ball away, giving Frankfurt
a 31-30 win on Scotland's field.
fans treated us like we won the game,"
Criner said. "It was because they got
to hear all of the considerations that went
into the decision. They felt like they were
a part of it. We lost the game, but the
fans seemed to like hearing why we went