The ESPN broadcast of Super Bowl “Media Day” from Santa Clara was ridiculous… .
Wasn’t it a kick?
Of COURSE it’s all absurd. That’s news? No. That's the idea.
All of this isn’t about the Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos or even the game itself. It’s about the whole: The Super Bowl is America’s Sports Mardi Gras, nothing less, and it is part of a very, very savvy program of product placement that any number of media members will decry as over the top, but which is amusing. Enjoy it.
[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]
The NFL doesn’t or refuses to get it in too many situations: concussions, the catch rule, player discipline, relocation, (add yours here). Here, just as with the Scouting Combine later this month in Indianapolis, it does. And in this regard, it has a better grasp of what the public wants than the media itself.
For purposes of perspective: Media Day has been a tradition on Tuesday of Super Bowl week. It is typically mid-morning, held in the stadium where the game will be played, and is covered in hindsight – some highlights here and there, reported via websites, newspapers and spots on sports reports.
On Monday it was instead a three-hour television event that did more than just pile up ad revenue.
Tickets for the event were available to the public for $27.50 and they sold out. Along that line, tickets for the public to sit in at player testing at the NFL Scouting Combine inside Lucas Oil Stadium sell out.
The reason is that people want to hear or see it for themselves. Not to capture that interest and channel it into revenue-production would be just stupid.
When I first started covering NFL Scouting Combines, those running the thing didn’t really want media around, and said so. For the longest time, max of a couple dozen reporters hung out all day and then some in a small hotel lobby, interviewing players coming back from workouts, hoping that someone among us knew who the player was, since there were no identifiers.
Now the Combine is a national event, with some of the workouts, 40-yard-dashes, etc. televised. The players are brought to and announced at podiums or tables, with 900-1,000 media working and every team’s coach and general manager spending time in front of questions.
What all of that and Media Day do is push reporters to come up with stories and information beyond the mass sessions. That’s not easy to do. Much like a game itself, folks have already seen most of the highlights.
Very little about Super Bowl Week is the real world. That’s kind of the idea, actually. Media Day has always been one of the hood ornaments for the week of wretched excess. This was just taking it to a wider audience. And you know Cam Newton wasn’t the only one digging all of that.