Super Bowl Media Day: An orgy of hype

Once inside the stadium, I quickly realized that any thoughtful or substantial questions I had conjured up for this or that player were moot. Even mid-profile players were surrounded by people and devices; they answered rapid-fire queries about the Steelers[ complicated pass rush scheme and all manner of pigskin-centric stuff.


The stars — Warner, Roethlisberger, Ward, Fitzgerald, the head coaches — sat at podiums press conference-style. Ward seemed to be really enjoying himself; Roesthlisberger chuckled constantly, especially at some of the silly questions. James Harrison, Steelers linebacker and NFL Defensive Player of the Year, looked as if he'd rather be getting a root canal. At one point, he said loudly, "I've got 20 minutes and 30 seconds left." (He might as well have added "of this shit.")


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The reserve players sat in a cluster in the lower part of the bleachers. Occasionally, a writer came over and asked a few questions. This became my tack. Steelers backup tight end Matt Spaeth was sitting by himself for quite some time, so I sidled up to him.


"I understand you're obligated to answer a few questions," I said to him. "but I'm not really interested in a lot of game analysis."


"Good," Spaeth replied. "Neither am I."


We talked for about 15 minutes. He was an interesting guy in his second year in the league. Look for a subsequent blog post that gets deeper into our talk.


So ... I survived Super Bowl Media Day. About the best I can say is that I'm glad I did it — just this once. Keep an eye on Daily Loaf over the next few days for new dispatches about my run-in with the a hype machine like no other.

Talk about your fish out of water.

Take a veteran alt-weekly journalist and thrust him into Super Bowl Media Day. Loaded down with a video camera, a digital audio recorder and a digital still camera (oh, and a notebook, made of paper), the one-man-media-gang that was me joined a sea of others for more than two hours today at Raymond James Stadium.

A zoo. There had to be more than 2,000 media types herding around one side of the stadium, documenting the finer points of Larry Fitzgerald's hair, Hines Ward's diet, Troy Polamalu's spirituality (and hair), Mike Tomlin's hunger for winning, Ben Roethlisberger's admiration for Kurt Warner (and vice versa), and more X's-and-O's 101 than one could stand.

The journalists on hand ranged from ESPN star Chris Berman — tall, rotund and sweaty in the pushing-90 heat — who had his pick of any interview he wanted, for as long as he wanted, to Eastern Europeans with marginal command of English and smiling Japanese who actually thought the players were delighted by their questions; from pseudo-celebrity chick models posing for cameras, thrusting their hips toward players and asking fashion questions, to my favorite: a raging queen in a No. 13 Cardinals jersey who carried a pink football and actually had Pittsburgh placekicker Jeff Reed drop to a knee and hold the ball so he could (try to) kick it.

Speaking of Reed — he gets mad kudos for grabbing attention. He had his dyed-blond hair spiked up as if there were flames coming out of his head. This alone, apparently, was enough to draw a throng of cameras, recorders and notebooks around him. Otherwise, who would've really cared — he's a FUCKIN' KICKER. Seriously, though, I do give Reed props for playing along with the queenie boy.

To get into Super Bowl Media Day on a Day Pass (as opposed to being fully credentialed for the Super Bowl), you have to make a request and get someone in the NFL office to grant it, fill out a complicated series of online forms, show up at the Media Accreditation Office on the grounds of International Mall, wait DMV-style while they process your pass, drive to the stadium, flash your pass and park. Then you go through an exhaustive series of security checks that makes getting to an airside seem like picking up a six pack at 7-Eleven. (To their credit, the dozens and dozens of security folks were extremely polite and friendly.)

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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