January 28, 2014 Last Updated 11:16 am

Official Super Bowl Program comes to the App Store as an interactive magazine

Joe Zeff Design reworks all 288 pages of print program produced by H.O. Zimman to create interactive magazine app using Adobe DPS

This is Super Bowl week, the teams are in town, and today is Media Day. From here on out, until game time on Sunday, it will be wall-to-wall coverage.

For those going to game, don’t forget to bundle up, New Jersey is not Florida, you know. And don’t forget to buy yourself a souvenir: the Official Game Program. When I attended the Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl many years ago – Giants beat the Broncos – the program was still only a couple bucks, I believe. One wonders what it costs today.

AppProgCoverBut for a mere $1.99 you can have this year’s program in an interactive magazine app – plus download digital versions of older programs, as well.

Super Bowl XLVIII – NFL Official Program, from NFL Enterprises, is now available in the App Store. The app actually dates back to January 2011 when it first appeared. I don’t remember much about that first version of the app, though it may have been created by ScrollMotion.

This year the print version is 288 pages in length and was produced by H.O. Zimman, the custom publisher from Lynn, Massachusetts.

The digital version was designed by Joe Zeff Design – which is usually all you need to hear to know that it will be worth downloading. Joe Zeff Design has produced many excellent apps using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite including Notre Dame Athletics.

I haven’t seen the print version of the program, of course, but I can’t imagine how it could be better than what JZD has created for tablets.

“The print and digital programs serve different audiences. The print program is a keepsake; the digital program is an experience,” Joe Zeff told TNM.

“About eighty-five percent of the content is identical, but presented very differently. We enhanced the cover by creating a short video from archival photographs and adding a soundtrack from NFL Films. When you land on the Super Bowl XLVIII cover, the music continues playing while the skyline subtly animates, with drifting clouds and blinking lights.”

“We added quite a bit of interactive content to the app — animated starting lineups and stadium diagrams, week-by-week scores and statistics, more than 30 videos, a children’s game, a feature that lets you photograph yourself in a Broncos or Seahawks helmet, and an Engage section with real-time Twitter and Instagram feeds. We quietly added the real-time temperature to a page with game information, seeing that the weather is such a factor in this year’s game,” Zeff said.

The interactive version contains so many interesting features and effects that one would be wise to look at the app itself – and the video above is short so as to not incur the wrath of the NFL. In addition to the iPad app, the Android and Amazon version should be live today. A version for the Microsoft Surface launched yesterday, as well.

“This is Adobe’s first app using its rebuilt Android viewer, and one of the first DPS apps to appear on the Microsoft Surface tablet,” Zeff said. “It’s a very exciting opportunity, and we’re thrilled with the way that everything came together.”

It is interesting to see the progression of ideas and abilities shown in this app when compared to the excellent, but much simpler app Above & Beyond: George Steinmetz, the app that got everyone’s attention back in April of 2011. That app was meant to showcase aerial photography, so the design lets the photographs speak for themselves – though there were plenty of great features built into the app, as well.

An interactive magazine about the Super Bowl, though, offers the ability to feature video and other media that is perfect for tablets. But game programs such as that for the Super Bowl are not produced the week before the event. Much of the work has to be done far in advance, before anyone even knows who will be playing.

“We started working on templates right after Christmas, based on previous years’ programs,” Zeff said.

“We started receiving content from the publisher around January 3 and had about half of the app was completed prior to the conference championship games. The other half of the app couldn’t be finished until we knew who was playing in the Super Bowl. We had three days to flow in the proper content before the app was sent to Apple for review.”

At $1.99 this is an incredible bargain for tablet owners who happen to be football fans. Older programs going back to Super Bowl XXXIX can be downloaded within the app, as well – priced at $0.99 a piece. Last year’s program is available free of charge for some reason. As a 49er fan I can only guess that someone wants to throw salt in my still fresh wounds. But any publisher should do a comparison of this year’s interactive program with last year program presented as a replica edition.

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