(Editor's note: Deadspin.com's Will Leitch will be in Arizona through Super Bowl Sunday, writing exclusive columns for Sporting News.)
Today was Media Day at the Super Bowl. If thereâ€™s one thing all the coverage of Media Day had in common, it was a certain bewildered, bemused befuddlement.
Peter King from Sports Illustrated said it was "pretty nutty." ESPN, in generally excellent coverage from their Hashmarks blog, goofed on that lady who was wearing the wedding dress. Vinnie Iyer, from this here blog, a far more dutiful reporter than your author, had a full rundown of the wackiness. They all had a jolly, "look at those crazy kids" attitude about the whole thing.
Allow me to posit a considerably less bemused, jolly principle: Media Day is pretty much the most vapid thing Iâ€™ve ever seen in my life. And I make bathroom jokes and post dopey pictures of people getting hit the groin for a living.
First, a note about those "wacky" reporters. By now, everyoneâ€™s seen the woman who was wearing a wedding dress. Her schtick was to walk around to various players and ask them to marry her. It is to the athletesâ€™ credit that they played along with her rather than, say, immediately agree and cart her off to the nearest chapel. (Couldnâ€™t Deion Sanders officiate? Heâ€™s a minister or something, isnâ€™t he?) This maneuver would have called upon improvisational skills I suspect the woman did not possess. It would have exposed her dopey gambit as the recycled, tired Media Day puffle it really is.
I noticed two men, from a network of indeterminate origin, standing over in a corner holding a camera. Well, one man was holding the camera filming, and the other had a puppet on each hand, controlling them as they talked to each other. You couldnâ€™t find a real, live football player within 10 feet of either of them. I couldnâ€™t help but wonder: â€œYou guys couldnâ€™t have done this at home?â€
The problem was not that these people were there; the problem is that theyâ€™re replaying jokes from five years ago. At this point, you can predict exactly which "wild" interviewers are going to be there weeks before. Barely dressed â€œnewswoman?â€ Check. Guy dressed up in outrageous costume? Check. Hand puppet people? Check. Check, check, check.
I understand that Media Day is supposed to be ridiculous; itâ€™s pretty much tradition by now. But whatâ€™s most depressing is that Media Day is a logical extension of the way this has all been going. A team full of players walk into a big room, are asked repetitive questions for an hour, do their best to answer without saying anything controversial and then head back to the locker room so they can concentrate on the job of knocking other large men to the ground. How is this different than any other NFL press conference? The question is not why the puppets and wedding dresses were there; the question is why everybody else showed up. Ever been in front of Mannâ€™s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles on a weekday afternoon? Thatâ€™s what Media Day was like, with fewer drug dealers and people dressed up like Cher. (For now.)
As I made my way into the stadium, not sure what I was in for, I noticed the intense security at the front gate. They even had a police dog sniff my bag, a practice that would have disturbed me a lot more 10 years ago than it does now. Then, once the dogâ€™s job was done, I watched him trot over to a lamp and, with much concentration, defecate. (Impressively, I feel obliged to add.) That was the most real, truthful moment I saw during Media Day. They should have given that dog a credential.â†µ
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