Super Bowl Media Day

2011 February 1
tags: ,
by Don Hammack

Today is annually one of the strangest days on the sports calendar. The Super Bowl is America’s biggest event, and it has spawned a day that’s part-working press room, part-attention whore center stage and part-public relations machine belching engine room.

Imagine the field of a football stadium, more specifically the sidelines area, littered with little raised podiums. The sharks (i.e., unwashed reporting masses) mill about amongst them, waiting for the chum (i.e., unwashed, unshaved players) to be delivered for feeding time. The scoreboard clock gets 60 minutes put on it and then turned on, and reporters who routinely bash coaches for late-game decisions get their own exercise in clock management.

Instead of defenses, though, reporters deal with the attention whores. You know, the too cute kids from Nickelodeon who have left precocious so far in the rear-view mirror Punky Brewster thinks they’re embarrasing. The Spanish-language uberbabes who make the testoterone-overloaded players and the desperate-and-lonely reporters drool.

There are questions. The serious. The not-so-serious. The absurd. The hometown-angle. The controversial. The predict-the-score. Just about every answer given all week long is now transcribed, even dropped into your e-mail box these days from what I hear. That means you get the quotes for your stories, and all your friends’ stories. I can’t even imagine sifting through all that, although it’s better than having to transcribe it yourself. (And, I’m sure, it’s better for the North Texas court reporters union, too.)

The reporters deal with their two-minute warning, then the clock hits zero and the players shuffle out, escaping the straggling questions while the referees (read: NFL media relations folks) wave off the play. Then, the next team comes in and it all repeats. Questions. Obnoxiousness. Cliches. Oh, the cliches.

There will be a million stories on the Web, in the country’s newspapers, on SportsCenter and elsewhere about the shenanigans. There will be a million stories about, you know, the actual game. You may actually read/watch/consume a half-million before Sunday. You may just consume a half-million calories/beers on Sunday. You may do both. Just remember that there are things that happened on that field in Arlington, Texas, that have very little to do with a silly football game.

The NFL public relations machine belches on. And I keep consuming from it.

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