- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford flubs daylight saving time advice: ‘Turn your clocks back’
- Americans don’t support sending U.S. troops to Ukraine
- Florida lawmakers move to wipe corrupt ‘Boss Hogg’ town from map
- N.C. math whiz to unveil secret of March Madness picks
- An appealing offer: Chiquita merges with Fyffes to make world’s largest banana firm
- Amnesty International says Syria guilty of war crimes for food blockade
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: ‘We are going to crush them’
- Adam Lanza’s dad: He would’ve killed me ‘in a heartbeat’
- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
SNYDER: Super Bowl Media Day has a bit of everything except news
The NFL has been derided as the "No Fun League" since at least 1985, when Billy "White Shoes" Johnson was penalized twice for his signature touchdown dance. But in another sense, 1985 is when NFL fun reached a new level that's still growing, sparked by the Chicago Bears, William "Refrigerator" Perry and the Super Bowl Shuffle.
Whether you credit them or blame them, "Da Bears" helped make Super Bowl Media Day the spectacle it has become.
They were crossover stars in sports' biggest crossover event, making Mike Ditka, Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and Perry icons in pop culture as well as NFL circles. Ditka starred on "Saturday Night Live," Payton appeared on the cover of Time and Perry graced the cover of Rolling Stone. Meanwhile, McMahon was showing his behind — mooning a media helicopter at practice — and defying the rules on headbands.
It was only a matter of time before ESPN decided Media Day would make for great programming (or least kill some time). MTV, Entertainment Tonight, Nickelodeon and a bunch of other networks followed suit, all trying to get their own piece of America's undeclared national holiday.
The NFL, always willing to tighten its stranglehold as the country's No. 1 passion, has welcomed all comers. Two thousand credentials were issued for Tuesday's Media Day at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium. The bigger surprise — since the league never saw a dollar it didn't crave — is that tickets were sold for the first time. More than 7,000 fans thought it was a worthwhile expenditure of time and money (one hour each for the New England Patriots and New York Giants, separated by a one-hour intermission, for $25).
These confabs rarely deliver any real news outside of who took honors for the craziest outfit, dumbest question and silliest prop. The players have been schooled to make their answers as innocuous as possible, free from anything that's remotely inflammatory, controversial or worthy of the bulletin board.
For instance, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked if he wanted a Super Bowl rematch as much as the Patriots fan. "There has been a great rivalry between Boston and New York for a long time," he said, according to an NFL transcript. "When I got to the team, it was always Red Sox-Yankees. We've had some pretty meaningful games against the Giants over the past few years, so I don't think anyone is disappointed that it's the Giants."
(Yawn. That's nothing like the bravado he exhibited Sunday at a pep rally, when he told 25,000 Patriots fans that he hoped "we have a lot more people at our party next weekend." To those who said the New York media made too much of the comment, I have a simple question: What party? Unless there are plans for a bash even if they lose, Brady was referencing their victory celebration. Had he said "a party" instead of "our party," he would've avoided the dustup).
Media Day isn't about football as much as the league's season-ending event, which everyone attests is more than just a game. Many veteran sports journalists don't care for the proceedings, forced to go elbow-to-elbow with "reporters" who never cover the NFL.
"Will you have the power of the divine beast, the dragon, on Sunday?" one character asked Brady.
"Whatever the hell that means, I hope so," Brady said.
Someone else wanted to know what advice Brady gets from his supermodel wife, Gisele.
"Throw the ball quickly," he said. "She doesn't like it when I get hit very often."
It's all harmless and some of it is funny. In an era that's saturated with coverage via cable and cyberspace, there's no shortage of outlets that will dissect, say, the Giants' receivers vs. the Patriots' secondary, or the Patriots' offensive line vs. the Giants' pass rush. After Tuesday's circus, the questions return to normal in the run-up to Sunday.
So while Media Day has minimal value to hardcore football fans and journalists, it's another entry point for the casual fans who make the NFL such a juggernaut. The day is a nod to the fact that the nation's top 10 all-time most-watched TV programs (based on number of viewers) are Super Bowls, as are eight of the 15 most-watched TV programs based on audience rating.
The league might be a little overzealous in handling on-field celebrations, socks of varying lengths and shoes of varying colors.
But when it comes to the Tuesday before the Super Bowl, the NFL allows us to put some fun in football.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at email@example.com.
- SNYDER: With John Wall’s return, Wizards’ blueprint beginning to unfold
- SNYDER: RG3, Junior Seau evidence of NFL’s negligent culture
- SNYDER: Alabama’s excellence built to last under Saban
- SNYDER: Russell Wilson beats RG3 at his own game
- SNYDER: Terp tested: Turgeon has team ready to take on ACC
Latest Blog Entries
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- As Crimea falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
- CURL: Today's GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Adam Lanza's dad: He would've killed me 'in a heartbeat'
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again