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.

Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night


Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night

The Green Bay Packers managed to pull off a dramatic comeback victory on Monday night, defeating the Detroit Lions 23-22 on a last-second field goal from Mason Crosby. But after the game, it wasn't Aaron Rodgers usual clutch ways that people were talking about, it was the officiating crew, who had two controversial hands to the face penalty calls against the Lions that all but killed any momentum they had going. 

As you can see in the clip above, both hands to the face calls seemed questionable at best, and downright ludicrous at worst. What makes the calls so tough is the timing. The first hands to the face penalty on Lions DE Trey Flowers came after he sacked Rodgers on third-and-10 and the penalty both took away the sack and provided the Pack with an automatic first down. Later in the drive, Rodgers dropped in a great 35-yard touchdown pass to bring Green Bay within two points 

The second questionable hands to the face call came on third-and-4 and it was the most costly call of the game. The Packers received another automatic first down and ran down the clock—Detroit was out of timeouts—to set up the eventual game-winning, walk-off field goal from Crosby. 

And it didn't take long for many people, everyone from former NFL greats to NFL reporters, to chime in on social media with their thoughts on the officiating that seemingly cost Detroit a crucial win. 

With the Green Bay win, the Lions moved to last-place in the NFC North, while the Bears now sit 2.5 games back of first place heading into their Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers pulled off another incredible (or maybe controversial) victory over the Detroit Lions in Monday night's NFC North slugfest, 23-22, to advance to 5-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

It was the worst possible outcome for the Chicago Bears, who could've used a little help from the Lions to keep pace with Green Bay entering Week 7.

Instead, the Bears (3-2) are now 2.5 games behind the Packers ahead of their showdown with the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Soldier Field.

It could be worse for Chicago. Detroit's loss drops their record to 2-2-1 on the season and moves them into the division's cellar. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings had arguably their strongest showing of the season in their 38-20 victory over the Eagles and improved to 4-2 on the year. Their four wins slot them ahead of the Bears for second place in the North even though Chicago currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Here are the NFC North standings heading into Week 7:

1) Packers (5-1)
2) Vikings (4-2)
3) Bears (3-2)
4) Lions (2-2-1)