“That’s my quarterback…”   Terrell Owens sniffled, I giggled.

Was this really happening? Was this some kind of joke? I was monitoring the feed of a press conference and those were the two thoughts going through my head.

Turns out, it was really happening.  And what was more unbelievable, it was not a joke.

In sync with Owen’s outrageous antics on the field and scandalous ones out of the arena, it seemed the tears were mere props in a cleverly contrived act.  Crying in protection of his quarterback had to be another one of his pranks.  I was laughing because I was not going to fall for his latest joke.

Turns out, it was not a joke.

“You guys can point the finger at him. You can talk about the vacation. And if you do that it’s really unfair. It’s really unfair. That’s my teammate. That’s my quarterback. If you guys do that man it’s unfair. We lost as a team. We lost as a team.”

At that point we knew we had our sound bite. Not just any sound bite. Our golden sound bite. 

All the other post game audio I had already assembled prior to T.O’s emotional outburst did not matter anymore. The rundown was turned-upside.  The focus shifted over to the famous wide receiver crying at the podium.

Before the last sob was finished, I had the video and audio clip ready to go.  On the cue from the director, I played out my editing for all of America to see.  Moments after I witnessed the tearful confession, America did as well.

The sound bite went on to air during all of our night shows and continued to dominate the airways the next day.  It never lost steam during the following weeks; and currently, the infamous quote lives on through YouTube. 

Football fans remember this epic moment from T.O.

America saw his weepy words secondhand through their television sets.  I witnessed it exactly as it was happening. Like sound bites that have come before and ones that have yet to be spoken, I—along with a production team—determine what will and will not be heard by viewers. A press conference can last a few minutes or close to an hour. Much is said during that time that will never make airways. It’s just tiny snippets from the entire duration that is shown to the public. 

Choosing these snippets does not make me an expert, but it does allow for a fresh perspective. Because of my job, I watch all press conferences and sporting events with a clean slate. Everything I see is unedited. Untainted. Untouched.

Seeing clips end up on the cutting room floor, I think of all the great material that is never shared with the audience.  The same goes when I see interesting things in the background of game feeds.  Besides the game action, there is plenty of other background noise that catches my eye. Unedited. Untainted. Untouched.

These would also make great stories.