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Media Day a super pain for players, press

Pestilence.

War.

Famine.

Death.

Media Day.

Had Revelation 5:1 been written in the Super Bowl Era the apocalypse would have had a fifth horseman.

And if Grantland Rice had lived to see Media Day he would have gotten as far as "Outlined against a blue-gray February sky . . . " before being trampled by a TV Azteca crew hot on the high heels of a muy caliente correspondent.

The hot Latinas, the child reporters, the cross-dressers, the dwarves, the Idol rejects are all part of the Grand Guignol, the freaks milling about among the impossibly jaded (journos) and the professionally constipated (players).

If Super Bowl Sunday is the most important day on the sporting calendar, Media Day is its equal and opposite event. A giant exercise in nothingness.

All the gags have been done to death, but no one worries about copyright infringement on Media Day. It is a tale plagiarized by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The tedious, torturous tradition has mutated from merely boring and unnecessary into a darkly depressing spectacle that would seem to bode ill for the future of humanity. It is the sports version of the interminable "Saw" series, where the players and writers alike look as if they'd happily dismember themselves if it meant they could leave the stadium.

When the assembled media climb aboard the buses that will ferry them out to Sun Life Stadium, nee Land Shark Stadium, nee Dolphin Stadium, nee Pro Player Stadium, nee Joe Robbie Stadium, they may wonder how they won the naming rights to this ordeal: "Media Day."

Has a cohort ever loathed a day named in its honor this much?

Most aboard those media buses will ride out to the stadium with the grim fatalism of Feech La Manna heading back to prison after Christopher Moltisanti had him stash those televisions.

Some will already have their angle.

New Orleans: rebirth, redemption . . . blah, blah, blah.

Peyton, Archie, a father, a son . . . Zzzzzz.

For many, the angle will be an ankle. If he's present, Dwight Freeney's podium will be mobbed, though it is inconceivable that he would provide any insight into his chances of playing.

Others will wait until they have been disgorged from the transpo and fed through the security queue -- a humane corralling that Temple Grandin would approve of -- before settling on their story.

But once the Charge of the Light Brigade is unleashed and the stampede begins, the scene is not conducive to good, original ideas. Bad ideas, however, come fast and furious.

Jim Caldwell: will he make it two-for-two for African-American coaches since Barack Obama was elected president?

Does Drew Brees view this as a revenge game against the brother of the guy the Chargers drafted then traded for the guy they chose to keep over Brees?

Will Pierre Garçon be the first player with a cedilla in his name to play in the Super Bowl? And isn't it ironic that a team representing a city with a famous French Quarter will be going up against such a French-sounding player? Geaux figure.

The desperate groping for a decent story idea is helped not at all by the sea of potential interviewees.

The players are as happy to be at Media Day as Paul Shirley on a relief mission to Haiti. And once they disappear into don't-turn-the-ball-over interview mode they will give up nothing.

"It's an honor . . . they're a great team . . . he's a great competitor . . . the utmost respect for . . . this was our goal all along . . . should be a great game."

Like magic, notebooks and tape recorders fill up but there's nothing in them.

Ironically, the only people enjoying themselves and getting what they came for are the novelty acts. (We wish we could still enjoy them as much as they enjoy themselves but it just feels so done.)

After each team weathers its allotted time in front of the horde they will get back to the business of preparing for the biggest day of their professional lives. The media will roll back to their hotels, wondering why they never manned up and took the LSATs after college.

If, after Media Day, you poll all the people who participated, you'll find its approval rating right around taxpayer-backed-bank-bailouts level. Only we won't be able to claim to have saved the global economic system.

The Super Bowl is an incredible event, a one-game, winner-take-all showdown in the greatest sport the world has ever known. It's an honor, a goose-bump-inducing thrill to cover it.

And even the long ramp-up to the game is not without its bright spots: talking football with guys like Peter King and Alex Marvez; watching the hardcore fans pour into town (moms and dads in Manning and Reggie Wayne jerseys); seeing players from non-Super Bowl teams arrive and realizing how excited they are about a game they're not playing in.

But there is one day that the media could happily do without, a day so miserable they named it after us.