Subdued Super Bowl media day still zoo
MIAMI -- With the threat of rain affecting the football field, thousands of media members crowded into the club level of Sun Life Stadium for Super Bowl XLIV media day Tuesday afternoon.
Dwight Freeney's ankle. Peyton Manning's legacy. Drew Brees' determination.
All came up for discussion but no real news came out of the hour-long session for each team. None of the participants wanted to create controversy and become bulletin-board banter.
So what's the point of media day?
It's the last real opportunity for levity for the players, coaches and even the media -- or people posing as media -- leading up to Sunday's game.
The Colts were 22 minutes late for their session. But they had a good reason.
"We were down there taking group pictures and stuff. I brought my camera, and I got a good shot of me and coach Jim Caldwell," Colts reserve wide receiver Hank Baskett said. "Listen, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I'm not going to miss a thing."
Detroit News columnist Jerry Green has covered all 44 Super Bowls and preferred the media days of old.
"It's a zoo now. Look at all this," Green says, pointing to women in butterfly outfits and guys dancing around crazily. "In the old days, you could sit with Vince Lombardi in his room and get as much time as you want. That's a good idea. To make my job easier, how about asking the players to come to my room?"
Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry said media day has turned into a spectacle so media can get noticed, not something for the players.
"Before, we humor writers could come to these things and just rip on the serious journalists," he said. "Now, you have all these people who are trying to be funny show up here."
Unlike years past, there were fewer celebrities and fewer entertainment companies talking with the athletes. Not sure whether it's because of the two teams involved or the lack of outlandish characters.
ESPN.com correspondent Chad Ochocinco said, "It's because everyone on both sides want to be politically correct."
One area of fun was when "Entertainment Tonight" set up a booth and had athletes for both teams perform in "Super Bowl Idol," doing karaoke to Beyonce's "Single Lady." ET even got former American Idol contestant Kim Caldwell to help loosen up the players.
"This is a lot of fun," she said. "I'm not a big football fan but this media day is crazy."
Offensive guard Jaimie Thomas won for the Colts, and tight end Tyler Lorenzen won for the Saints.
"I'm just trying to soak it all in," said Thomas, who was given a crystal microphone as an award. "I'm going to put this on my mother's mantel so she can laugh at my lip-syncing."
When it came to making predictions, most of the people didn't want to take sides. Oh, except for Ross, the intern from "The Jay Leno Show."
"I like the New Orleans Saints because they have a lot going for them," he said. "Then again, I like the Colts because I look good in blue."
And Ross, what about having the media day inside?
"It's better for your skin anyway," he said.
Lynn Hoppes is senior director for Page 2 and Commentary for espn.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org