10 Takeaways from Super Bowl Opening Night
10 Takeaways from Super Bowl Opening Night
HOUSTON -- Super Bowl Media Day* isn’t a feces-show by accident; it tries so, so hard to be one.
Awkward on-stage moments, perplexing celebrity appearances, strange questions, a seemingly unnecessary musical guest and the confusing placement of a pit of people in front of an empty stage made Monday’s production as odd as one might have expected. From a quality standpoint, it is the definition of not-prime-time television, so its placement in prime time only adds to the weirdness.
Media Day* isn’t really about football; it’s about shenanigans. Yet there were also some some nuggets to emerge from the various media sessions that took place involving the Patriots and Falcons Monday night. Here are 10 takeaways from the event, Super Bowl-related or, as was often the case, otherwise.
*I’ve decided to just stop calling it Opening Night because it’s two years into the name change and I feel like it just hasn’t stuck.
We can confirm the Patriots are not America’s team.
When the captains and head coaches of each team were brought onto the stage for something involving youth football, the Falcons received large cheers. Those cheers quickly changed to boos as the Pats came out.
Earlier, Matt Ryan was asked about having the entire country rooting for the Falcons. He politely danced around it.
NO SUGAR MEANS NO SUGAR
Here’s a sign that Tom Brady isn’t taking this trip as a vacation: He isn’t cheating on his diet.
Players at podiums have to sit and talk for an hour, and given how loud it was at Minute Maid Park, it would make sense that speaking that much in that environment would make one parched.
Fortunately, the podiums were sponsored by Gatorade, with bottles of the sports drink right there for the speaker’s convenience. Gatorade probably won’t be happy with Tom Brady after Monday.
Brady does not put white sugar in his body. Sugar is the second ingredient in Gatorade, so when Brady needed a drink, he politely asked between questions if there was water anywhere. Brady proceeded to sip bottled water, which had the label ripped off before it was brought to him.
PFT COMMENTER, BILL BELICHICK AND DANNY WOODHEAD
If you've spent enough time following sports radio and/or web journalism, there are few people funnier than Barstool Sports’ PFT Commenter, who channels all of the dumb cliches from sports fans, lazy radio hosts and clueless message board tough guys. He uses this persona on the hilarious “Pardon My Take" podcast and in his Monday Morning BM columns for Barstool.
PFT Commenter’s favorite player is Danny Woodhead because of the former Patriot’s level of grit. Late in Bill Belichick's press conference Monday, PFT Commenter asked Belichick to sign the free agent running back in the offseason, vowing to not cut his hair until Woodhead wins a Super Bowl. You can probably guess Belichick’s level of amusement.
“I’ll let you make your own decisions there,” Belichick responded.
Woodhead was on “Pardon My Take” last year, with PFT Commenter and Big Cat trying to trick Woodhead into expressing interest in a return to New England.
MATT RYAN MIGHT BE A LIAR
There didn’t seem to be any malice behind it, but for some reason Matt Ryan told what looked to be an obvious lie. Asked by an entertainment reporter what his favorite Lady Gaga song was, Ryan said he couldn’t name a song from the halftime performer.
This shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s just strange. “Just Dance” came out in his early 20s. He definitely heard that song countless times. Same with “Bad Romance” and countless others. Why would you lie about that?
X-AMBASSADORS ARE THE PLAY-AT-A-SPORTS-THING BAND
Good-not-great-and-also-maybe-not-good pop rock band X Ambassadors performed between the Falcons’ and Patriots’ availability. Their presence seemed a little unnecessary, but some of the fans at the park seemed to like it.
What’s weird is that they only played two songs, then left, then came back an hour later when the Patriots were done and played a couple more songs.
This band performed at the NHL Awards last season, and that was weird too. There was a shot of Braden Holtby in the crowd during their performance and he looked furious.
BENNETT WOULD LIKELY SKIP WHITE HOUSE
This was an interesting exchange during Martellus Bennett’s availability:
Reporter: “If you win the Super Bowl, will you go to the White House given the political climate?”
Bennett: “I don’t know. I’ve got to win a Super Bowl, but most likely no.”
Reporter: “Why would you not do that?”
Bennett: “Because I don’t support the guy that’s in the house.”
SANU, PATS WEREN'T CLOSE
Between his skill set and Rutgers pedigree, receiver Mohamed Sanu figured to be an ideal Patriots player when he hit the free agent market last offseason.
The Patriots were indeed interested, but Sanu ended up in Atlanta on a five-year, $32.5 million contract, with the Pats turning their attention to Chris Hogan.
Sanu was asked Monday how much contact he had with the Patriots as a free agent.
“Really not that much,” Sanu said. “I mean, there’s always a possibility, but I just knew where I wanted to be. I’m glad where I’m at.”
This part was exceptionally weird: At one point, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, who is a strong reporter, brought both starting quarterbacks out to the stage at the same time and interviewed them both about why like one another. It was billed as being the first such interview in Super Bowl history. Again, exceptionally weird.
If there’s anything that the interview did accomplish, it’s that it proved Brady and Ryan have something in common since both clearly did not want to be there.
WELCOME BACK TO GOOD BURGER
How Keenan Thompson ended up having a big career while Kel Mitchell turned into the television version of JC Chasez will always confuse me. Anyway, Kel was at Media Day* working for Nickelodeon. He was dressed as Ed, his character from "Good Burger." That movie came out in 1997. Here we are now.
BRADY POSITIVE ABOUT HIS POSITIVITY
Tom Brady had a go-to for when he was asked a question he didn’t like: He was just trying to be positive.
That’s what he said when a reporter asked if he would personally like to invite Roger Goodell to go to a game at Gillette Stadium. He did the same when asked about Donald Trump.
"I’m just a positive person," Brady said. "I just want the best for everybody."