Yes, it used to be a joke, with Downtown Julie Brown and the MTV gang running unfettered through the madness.
I assume the myth about crazy, zany, big and brassy Media Day just took off from there because it's a lie. Media Day was so tame yesterday that I in fact ran down my entire list of "Things To Do" with little pain.
Scurrying to and fro, looking for coaches, players and administrators, I happened past a huddle with some old schmuck postulating in the middle of it.
And there was some guy named Mo Rocca. Never heard of him, but he caused a buzz. And someone else ran around with a hand puppet and made a general jerk of himself.
Was anyone else there?
"Gilbert Gottfried," says my roommate.
Oh, yeah. That twit. He stepped up to take James Farrior's place at the podium and was quickly whisked away by NFL security. On my way back up to the work room, I saw – actually heard – the twit blatting from a TV tuned to the NFL Network.
Now there's a culprit. The NFL Network both pleases and frightens me. It has brought the sounds of the game to life, and I'm eternally grateful. And the NFL Network's coverage of this event could've allowed me to stay home and get my work done from Pittsburgh, what with all of its cameras and microphones. But, alas, I fear the NFL Network is becoming too big. My theory is they want to cut down on the zaniness in order to keep it all for its own. Think of the profits!
Anyway, I advise not to buy into the knee-jerk reports promulgating this myth about the hype. It was nothing but a few jerks here and they're trying to revive sagging careers. Just keep an eye on that NFL Network. There's too much money to be made NOT to meld the MTV and Sportscenter generations.
-- Detroit never looks better than it does at 1 a.m. Just kidding, but that's when I pulled into town on Tuesday.
-- I expected a fiasco at the credential center, but it went smoothly. We waited all of five minutes and then boarded a bus that took us a few blocks to Ford Field. We were screened – again, quickly – and herded down to the field where the players, coaches and administrators awaited. Shockingly easy. Detroit's doing a great job so far.
-- I'm so used to the players that I'm never impressed by their company. But I'm always disarmed whenever a giant in my field comes around. Paul Zimmerman is a football writing stud. He and I interviewed James Farrior and Ken Whisenhunt together. Whisenhunt was impressed to be in Dr. Z's presence, too. Pure football, none of that nonsense that is passing as reporting these days. And speaking of no-nonsense, right before I could ask Kevin Spencer about the status of special-teams star James Harrison (he'll play), I was interrupted by another sportswriting warrior, Bob McGinn. He asked Spencer about local product Clint Kriewaldt, shook hands and was gone. Rick Gosselin's here, too. I stand in awe.
-- I have to laugh whenever a reporter asks a player how he can muster up the strength to deal with the hype surrounding Super Bowl week. Come on. They have to sit at a podium and answer questions for an hour, and then they have to sit at a table for a half hour the next day. Give us all a break. It's not pressure, and the hype is all in your head. Don't fall for the stereotype.
-- The Pittsburgh Steelers are the darlings here, no doubt about it. They drew the bigger crowd of reporters and the talking heads on TV are all picking them to win. This is giving the Seahawks more ammunition, a bigger chip on their shoulder if you will. But it doesn't matter. Sure, if they pull off the upset, that's all we'll hear about: the lack of respect. But when they get their butts handed to them, it won't even be mentioned. It's all about the game on the field, not the one in the media workroom.