New Orleans – ESPN’s Sports Nation, the section of their website that takes a poll on a current topic in sports and shows state by state numbers based on the answers across the country, asked “Which is more Entertaining: Super Bowl Media day or the Pro Bowl?”. After 83,000+ responses, Media Day won 71 to 29 per cent. 49 states selected Media Day with only (you guessed it) Hawaii being the lone outlier and that with the Pro Bowl winning 51 to 49 per cent. One could argue that watching paint dry is more entertaining than the Pro Bowl (I cover the NFL and I don’t even know who won it), but until you experience a Super Bowl Media day first hand do you see what a spectacle this is.
Frank Gore runs a 4.58 and is known league wide for his work ethic was visibly tired at the end of his hour today.
“This is exhausting,” said the running back.
If you’re a sports fan and follow media in sport at all you will notice a peppering of who’s who in sport reporting mixed in with the hordes of media, folks in costume, fans who traveled down here, team, league, and union officials, all milling about with players in uniform. All your favorite cast of characters from shows like Around the Horn or the local blogs/vlogs you might follow are smattered in with a roving Deion Sanders, A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend (the most interesting of the many uninteresting things about the BCS title game this year), Stuart Scott posing for photos, and former players who appear to be a having a flashy suit competition. The marquee players and the head coach have their own booths, while the rest of players walk around, some get into the spirit of things even taking over the media outlets equipment to interview each other while others stand around like high school freshmen at homecoming awkwardly hoping someone will ask them to dance.
The average sports writer is a docile beast. There is no shortage of golf shirts gracelessly tucked into khakis with running shoes that have only been used for running when their owner is late for their next flight. This group huddles onto busses and into the media room to speculate, pontificate, argue, and drink coffee. They have poor complexion and bad posture. They pound away, hunched over laptops and smartphones, and provide you with angles and insights so that you can follow your favorite team or sport the way that you do. Be thankful for them.
The largest assembly these writers and other members of the media gathered today around the booth occupied by Ray Lewis. He’s big news, in case you haven’t heard. The terms “last ride”, “spiritual leader”, and now – strangely – “Deer Antler Spray”, have been flying around the Superdome all afternoon. I’ll have more on Lewis and this non controversy, controversy soon; I just have to have some negatively charged water first.
What Ray Lewis is to most to this group that surrounds him is a good quote. He is engaging and controversial, widely respected and polarizing. He is everything we like in the NFL. Everyone seems to have an opinion on him, where he ranks in linebacker history, his trouble in Atlanta, his tears at Foxboro, everything. Ray equals ink and ink equals attention.