Does anyone really take the Super Bowl Media Day seriously? Did they ever?
It’s hard to expect much from an event that is highlighted by attention-grabbing tactics like having the American Idol rejects force themselves into awkward interactions with NFL players. We end up with reporters reporting on the fact that there are lots of reporters there, making for quite a circus full of hype. It’s all strangely detached, like the reporters filing these reports don’t realize they’re adding to the hype by trying to de-hype the hype. Then a blogger goes and adds to the hyped-up hype by noting the spectacle of it all. And so on–it all gets pretty meta if you think about it at length.
Anyway, Bill Simmons had a funny photo essay from the day, and I’ll steal one of his pictures to give you an idea of the scene.
Michael Wilbon offers up a fairly typical ode to the zaniness:
And to think NFL officials were mortified 14 or 15 years ago when Downtown Julie Brown showed up in fishnets. The old men threatened to shut the whole thing down, they were so afraid of what media day might become.
What it’s become is one of the few days when professional football in America doesn’t take itself so seriously. Even if things get taken a little too far sometimes, it’s a dash of fun in the No Fun League.
Wilbon then goes on to devote his column to paying his respects to the Colts’ Marvin Harrison, who is undoubtedly one of the most boring players in the league.
In fact, the whole let’s-discuss-how-Marvin-Harrison-is-shy angle seems to have been the story of choice for several press outlets. Here’s the AP’s version. Here’s the same thing from Wednesday’s New York Times. Odd that so many reporters chose to focus on Harrison, who basically told them he wished they would go away and leave him be.
At bottom, noting the absurdity of the Media Day is all part of the way the press game is played these days. See here and here for additional examples. If people really wanted to get to the ostensible point of all this, which is to have a football game, they could argue in favor of having only one week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. But I think, despite the half-hearted protestations, people have a semi-perverse enjoyment of all this, and I do to. Nothing exceeds like excess, and the Media Day idiocy, along with the ridiculous halftime shows and commercials, has become a signature component of this fortnight that embodies the modern American media culture.
OK, enough of that earnestness. I’ll close with another Simmons photo, this one of the TV Azteca reporter, Ines Sainz, who earned mentions in the Wilbon column and several other reports.
You can see more of her work here.