Media circus gets Super-sized

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / February 2, 2011

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Since it opened, Cowboys Stadium — which even legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall said this week is Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s memorial to himself — has hosted all manner of events, from concerts to boxing matches, and even a swimming competition, for which a temporary pool was constructed.

On Sunday, Jones’s stadium will host its biggest event yet, Super Bowl XLV.

But yesterday, the circus was in town.

Over the years, Super Bowl media day has grown into a spectacle, an opportunity for characters to draw attention to themselves and away from the players and coaches who have earned the right to be part of the NFL’s biggest game.

As Patriots fans remember, Super Bowl XLII media day saw a woman dressed in wedding attire propose to Tom Brady.

With scantily clad women and men in costume, this year’s version didn’t disappoint, either.

TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz, who was the target of inappropriate behavior by the New York Jets earlier in the season, fielded interviews in a heavily sequined dress.

A man in a green-and-orange superhero outfit, complete with cape, conducted interviews for Nickelodeon, and children who were here as junior journalists asked questions as well.

Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco was here working, but also fielded questions, and coyly told Boston reporters that he isn’t flirting with the Patriots, despite his recent Twitter posts indicating he’d like to leave Cincinnati and relocate to Foxborough.

Los Angeles sports-radio personality Vic the Brick was in a head-to-toe leopard print with a fur coat topper and spiky wig.

One Spanish-language reporter had the most creative shtick, constructing his own cardboard interview booth, made to look like those the players were seated at, and had both Steelers and Packers players interview him.

Understandable, then, that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had one goal for his team’s session: “Just trying to get through 60 minutes without saying anything stupid.’’

It was advice given to him by Charles Woodson, the only Green Bay player with previous Super Bowl — and media day — experience.

Some of the players and coaches embrace the zaniness, with younger or bottom-of-the-roster guys happy to get a few minutes of attention, such as the trio of Steeler linemen who sang the national anthem for cameras.

Others, like Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton, claim to not like this part of game week.

“I just want to play football,’’ he said.

Hampton was entertaining, though. He said he wishes the Steelers were wearing their black jerseys on Sunday, because the white ones make his ample belly look bigger.

Hampton noted, however, that the last two times Pittsburgh wore white tops in the Super Bowl, it won.

Rodgers and his Pittsburgh counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, faced questions on topics they’d prefer would go away — Rodgers on whether he has stepped out from the sizable shadow of Green Bay legend Brett Favre, and Roethlisberger on the behavior that led to his four-game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this season.

Each held up well.

It is all part of the deal, particularly for the dozen or so players (and head coach) who are seated at risers and aren’t free to mill about and take in all that media day has to offer: question after question, many of them repetitive, about everything ranging from God to grooming practices to getting ready for Sunday’s game.

Because lest we forget, this is a work week for Pittsburgh and Green Bay. The circus cleared out yesterday. Today, the Steelers and Packers start the serious business of putting the finishing touches on their respective game plans.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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