The Cinematography Of Sports

Daniel Eagan demonstrates how different sports were shot throughout film history:

Football became increasingly more popular in the 1950s and 1960s, in part because of how it was broadcast on television. Just like they did with baseball, sports directors learned to turn football games into narratives. As CBS director Sandy Grossman put it, "The reason [the gridiron] is easier to cover is because every play is a separate story. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end, and then there’s 20 or 30 seconds to retell it or react to it."

Now just about every player on the field can be isolated during a play, allowing the director to build a story line from different takes. Slow motion enables viewers to see precisely where a play succeeds or fails.