Patriots

Scattered Observations and Snapshots From the Circus Known as Super Bowl Media Day

PHOENIX — I’ve covered one Super Bowl before this one, which means I’ve been to more in my lifetime than the New York Jets.

It’s a blast for all of the reasons one would imagine, but covering the actual game — Patriots-Giants Gutpunch II in Indy three years ago — is one of the most extreme instances of sensory overload I’ve ever experienced.

Being in a stadium — especially one with a roof, such as Lucas Oil — felt like the equivalent of being zapped into an NFL video game. Actually, make that an NFL video game that included Madonna performing at halftime and a bunch of 40-something male sportswriters unable to mask their nostalgic teen-aged fawning. “Like A Virgin” resonated, man.

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The experience just doesn’t feel quite … I don’t know, authentic. The AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium feels like a football game. This is something that feels plugged in and over-amplified. Madden is an iconic video game presumably because it is a meticulously detailed replica of the true NFL gameday experience. But after covering that first Super Bowl, I began wondering if the paradigm had shifted and the NFL was now mimicking the game.

If the Super Bowl itself feels like that, then Media Day, which took place Tuesday morning at US Airways Center, was akin to watching every channel on your television at the same time. It’s a chaotic collision of silliness and accessibility; bump into someone and turn around, and you never know if it will be another reporter, a Patriots player who doesn’t have his own interview station, an entertainment correspondent shrink-wrapped into red-dress casing, a Nickelodeon character, or something else beyond the usual expectation.

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Media Day is good fun, but if the individual team sessions lasted a minute beyond their allotted hour, it would be a minute too much. A few observations from today’s scene…

Bill Belichick seems very relaxed, and that can only be interpreted as a good thing. He was downright engaging in discussing his friendship with that miniature Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi and even spilled the details on his favorite childhood stuffed animal, a monkey (I’d have guessed he’d have had a beloved stuffed replica of Paul Brown). I don’t think it has anything to do with Deflategate being on hiatus, if not over entirely. I think he sees something in the Seahawks — a team that doesn’t change much defensively — that he knows he can exploit. It kind of reminds me of how he always seems calm before playing and usually dismantling the Steelers…

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Media Day is where Johnny Weir can approach Rob Ninkovich and ask him how he tends to his beard, Ninkovich can give an engaging, detailed answer (no dye, oils it up sometimes) and it seems the most normal conversation in the world….

Brandon Browner talks like a professional wrestling heel trying to rile up a crowd. It’s great. His cadence and booming voice makes everything sound like a declaration, a boast or a threat. And sometimes it is a threat. Browner formally put Richard Sherman’s ailing elbow…

Danny Amendola has often seemed tense around the media, especially when he first got here. He’s still a fairly quiet guy, so it was interesting to hear him open up about his love of Houston sports teams, particularly Craig Biggio (“I liked him when he was a catcher before anyone else did”) and the ’90s Houston Rockets of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler (“When they would lose, it ruined my day.”)…

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I sympathize with Marshawn Lynch’s obvious anxiety in front of the media, but I don’t know why he’s become aggressively obnoxious about fulfilling even the minimum requirements. He makes for a pretty interesting anti-hero though, and challenging Roger Goodell on anything is all right in my book…

Had to chuckle at the obliviousness of the artist in a Peanuts jacket drawing a caricature of Gronk. The guy was completely unaware that Gronk himself is a caricature and thus cannot be caricatured without threatening the time/space continuum. For the record, the caricature looked more like Mike Vrabel than Gronk. The dude on the Pier at Old Orchard Beach does much better work. I’ll admit it: When I saw J.B Smoove, the comedian who did brilliant work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, I first thought, “Huh, wonder what Aqib Talib is doing here.”…

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Former Steeler Brett Keisel, who has gained some notoriety for wearing a beard that looks like it is made out of dead bees, walked around trying to extract entertaining interviews with various Patriots. He didn’t bother telling any of them that he picked the Seahawks to win the game during a video-board interview before the Patriots arrived. Has any early-2000s Steeler or St. Louis Ram ever picked the Patriots to win anything? Funny how their envy manifests itself in foolish predictions.

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