Scorning Super Bowl Media Day circus misses the Mardi Gras point


Scorning Super Bowl Media Day circus misses the Mardi Gras point

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.

[MORE: Impact of Calvin Johnson exit likely to echo throughout NFC North]

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins


Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.