San Jose, Cali. — Thousands of the 5,5000 media members credentialed for Super Bowl 50 packed the SAP Center in San Jose, CA Monday night to take part in the NFL’s wackiest, wildest, and weirdest annual tradition.
Moving Super Bowl media day to prime-time and re-branding it “Opening Night” only seemed to intensify the yearly spectacle. Ten Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers coaches and both teams’ head coaches, strode onto the event floor WWE style, strutting across a catwalk designed to look like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
From there, media from all kinds of television, print, radio, and web outlets, some dressed up as Super Heroes, or donning head to toe orange spandex suits, swarmed to try and ask the one question that will be replayed across the country until game day. Questions ranged from silly to serious.
For the Broncos, Von Miller was asked about his favorite superhero. “Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen,” Miller said.
Five-time MVP Peyton Manning compared himself to Toby Keith lyrics. On the other hand, Manning also faced questions about the NFL’s impending investigation into the Al-Jazeera America documentary alleging he took human growth hormone to recover from neck surgery in 2011.
“I welcome the investigation,” Manning said. “I know what it will find: a big, fat nothing.”
Manning was asked about the possibility that Super Bowl 50 will be his final NFL game. “I don’t know the answer to that," he said.
On his comments to Bill Belichick about this being his “last rodeo,” Manning deflected the same way he has for his entire 18-year NFL career: with humor.
“You missed the point,” Manning quipped. “I am going to be participating in rodeos after this game. I’ve got my lasso and everything.”
On the podium, Manning seemed as relaxed as he ever has during his time in Denver. He joked with the media throughout his time with the press. The 39-year-old quarterback, who is often criticized for his lack of mobility, joked about his 12-yard scramble against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
“Because of the 12-yard run on Sunday, I think there is a good chance Carolina is going to put a spy on me.”
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera spent the opening of his media session discussing his Hispanic heritage. He is the second Latino head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl.
Quarterback Cam Newton, the soon-to-be NFL MVP, answered questions about his style and his race. Earlier in the week, Newton was quoted as saying “I want everything that comes with the game. The money, the fame, I want to be greedy. I am greedy.”
Both the Panthers and Broncos who spoke to the press seemed relaxed. However, it remains difficult to shake the feeling that this young, brash, but ultra-talented Carolina team isn’t entirely focused on the game that is going to be played on Sunday.
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