By Dan Hiner
If you’re a diehard football fan, you probably have read stories or seen clips of NFL players answering questions during Super Bowl media day.
Over the past 25 years, the media day has changed from a legitimate series of press conferences to a media circus in which reporters and players try to put together wacky interviews.
From Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch sitting in front of the cameras saying “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski singing Katy Perry, fans have seen a wide array of hilarious moments that border on the idiotic behavior.
The NFL moved Super Bowl media day from Tuesday afternoon to prime time, the Monday before the Super Bowl. Some might see this as an attempt to draw even more unnecessary attention to the game, but others, including myself, see it as an attempt to encourage the antics players to draw more attention to themselves and the NFL.
The circus surrounding the Super Bowl is understandable. Football is America’s most popular sport, so for fans to look for insight into the most anticipated sporting event in the nation is expected, and viewers want to be entertained by the number of flamboyant personalities from both teams.
But should the countless “journalists” that attend media day be given the chance to ask the most irrelevant questions in the history of sports journalism or condone the behavior and report the shenanigans as if they were actually newsworthy?
As a man who’s been in his fair share of press conferences, there’s nothing more infuriating than some shmuck asking stupid questions to get a response that takes time away from my job, the time of the coaches and actual reporters that have to turn in stories on deadline.
Last time I checked, Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman showing up to a press conference wearing a luchador mask had nothing to do with football.
Unfortunately, the reporters try to show off their comedic side as well. Last night, Austrian sportscaster Phillip Hajszan showed up to the press conferences in a skiing outfit. In 2008, Ines Gomez Mont, a reporter from Mexico’s TV Azteca, came in a wedding dress and asked New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to marry her.
This could be the last time journalists get a chance to interview Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos’ quarterback and future Hall of Famer. It’s a shame that Manning’s potential retirement after the game, one of the biggest sports stories of the year, is buried underneath all nonsense.
In USA Today’s coverage of Super Bowl media day, videos of Manning’s responses to journalists asking about retiring wasn’t brought up until after Miss Universe danced with Panthers players, Norman’s mask and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton dabbing in the middle of an interview.
Manning’s retirement should be the main headline during Super Bowl media day, or at the very least something that’s actually relevant to the game.
USA Today, Bleacher Report and ESPN are major news organizations that endorse the behavior of the NFL and its players. These aren’t some small market television stations or a San Francisco daily newspaper that rarely get a chance to go to these events. Some news outlets send reporters to Super Bowl media day just to say they had someone there.
Every year I turn on the TV or look at my Twitter feed, and I feel like I die a little on the inside. As someone who wants to make a career out of reporting sports, the poor reporting choices by the professionals at the Super Bowl make me question how seriously they take their jobs when they travel to one of the biggest spectacles in the sporting world.