Scott Winer will attend and work his first Super Bowl in Atlanta on Sunday, and the assignment from CBS Sports could not be more poetic. Winer was born and raised in Atlanta, coming out in high school to some hurdles while growing up in the area.
Now he’ll be working as an openly gay man in the big game revered as the pinnacle of his profession.
“Doing a show like a Super Bowl is one of those things that in the back of your mind it’s what you work toward, but there’s also that part of you that wonders if it’s ever going to happen because it seems like such a lofty goal,” Winer said.
Winer, 34, has done it faster than most. In an industry dominated by talented veterans, Winer has earned a Super Bowl assignment at a relatively young age.
Working the Super Bowl in his hometown
The location of his first Super Bowl is particularly meaningful for Winer, who was born and raised his first 18 years in The ATL.
“When I came out in high school, it was a difficult time for me personally,” Winer said. “So I don’t think ever in my wildest dreams I would have ever imagined an opportunity to work a Super Bowl in my home city, under any circumstances.”
Coming out in his professional life has been much different. While some friends distanced themselves from Winer in high school when he came out, he has experienced nothing but acceptance from his co-workers in production.
“I don’t think I ever could have imagined working in an environment where there is such love and support from people I work with, from such a range of ages and experience levels,” Winer said. ”It really is surreal.”
Winer has been behind a camera and working production for most of his life. He said his first paid gig as a sports cameraman was in sixth grade when he recorded video for his very successful high school girls basketball team. In college, at the University of Kansas, he landed some gigs working Big XII competitions.
While Winer is always dressed for the job in drab, unobtrusive colors — grey and black in particular — he has a couple of very subtle signatures to his presence at the stadium.
It all revolves around what he calls the “Magoo,” a viewfinder shade with a magnifier built into it. It’s a contraption he build himself and that he carries with him to every game. On the side of the Magoo he has a triangle rainbow sticker, a small symbol to other LGBTQ people in production that they have a friend and supporter in him.
Winer also often wears Nike BeTrue shoes, which add a tiny rainbow splash to his attire. Being the only out gay cameraman he knows in his business, it’s important to Winer to be subtly visible where he can.
Hard work and support led to the Super Bowl
Winer credits his big break onto a CBS crew for this NFL season, and ultimately his Super Bowl assignment, to the head of his crew, director and long-time mentor Bob Fishman.
Fishman said Winer is already, at a relatively young age for the industry, one of the very best cameramen he works with.
“He listens and he understands what’s going on in the broadcast,” Fishman said. “He is the most-prepared camera person on my crew. He shows up with charts. He knows the numbers, he knows the players in the important positions.”
Fishman also pointed to Winer’s ability to do “the special little things.” For example, on a fourth down when the offense might “go for it” instead of kicking, Winer instinctively already knows he needs to get a shot showing the far first-down yardstick and how far the ball is away from it.
“He gets that before I even ask him,” Fishman said.
As the director of CBS’ No. 2 NFL crew, Fishman said many of his crew are working the Super Bowl as they add “a thousand cameras” for the game. While Winer has been working the “cart” this season (a mobile cart that places him above the action on the near side of the field), he said he’ll likely be in the near left corner for this game, working what’s called the “near left slash.”
Winer said working a Super Bowl has always been in his mind the “Super Bowl” of his industry. Now that he’s on the doorstep of doing just that, and doing it in his hometown, he is reflecting on people like Fishman who have given him a chance and helped get him here.
“I’ve been very fortunate to learn from some very generous and talented people who have been incredibly supportive not just of me personally, but also of my career. People who have taught me the right way to do things. The right way to interact with people, the right way to do the work. They’ve been incredible.”
You can follow Scott Winer on Instagram @littlescottie.