NFL’s Toon Commentator Goes Long Online

If you need further proof of the ubiquitous nature of animation, look to the world of sports where even the NFL now has a popular animated personality. Thurston Long, a 3D cartoon commentator for CBS Sports’ NFL Today, is rapidly gaining a cult following among football fans and is now a star on the web as well.

NFL Today’s satirical animated feature, "Outside the Huddle," has computer-generated comedic anchor Long lampooning professional football players, coaches and other celebrities during the pre-game show each Sunday. The segment, which started out as an experiment in the second week of the season, is produced by CBS Sports and face2face animation inc., Scripted Improv Media (producers of the nationally syndicated daily radio comedy series, The Daily Service) and sports-focused TV post-production house Synergistix Media.

If you miss "Outside the Huddle" on Sunday, you can now catch it online at www.SportsLine.com. CBS Sports president Sean McManus comments, "Once we had a true hit in Thurston Long, we wanted to leverage the CBS Sports franchise to deliver him to multiple networks, as many of our fans are watching television and following other scores on the Internet simultaneously. We’re pleased that we have a production team that can seamlessly create segments for both NFL Today and www.Sportsline.com.

"Outside the Huddle" is able to offer fans a good amount of topical animation each week because of the express pipeline developed at face2face (www.f2f-inc.com). The New Jersey-based animation production company has delivered entertainment and advertising content for national television and major web sites for such leading media companies as AOL, CBS, HBO, and MTV. The company was founded in 2000 as a Lucent Technologies venture, capitalizing on core technologies developed at Bell Labs.