Super Bowl With a Smirk has found through the years that nothing says Super Bowl silliness and excess quite like the annual Media Day, which was held Tuesday at the Superdome as the 49ers and then the Ravens availed themselves to teeming, undulating hordes of yukking radio clowns asking intentionally inane questions. Several legitimate journalists were there as well, all of them trying to deftly bait players into guaranteeing a victory a la Joe Namath.
Journalist: “How confident are you guys?”
Player: “Well, um, I’d say real confident.”
Headline: JONES GUARANTEES WIN!
Occasionally, a player will say something somewhat noteworthy, such as the ghost of Randy Moss on Tuesday calling himself the greatest receiver ever. Banal quotes are the rule, though, as when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was asked for the key to winning Super Bowl XLVII and replied, “Us going out and executing.”
A much better quote would have been: “Us going out and executing Joe Flacco and Ray Rice in a predawn drone strike.”
Much of the excess is in the media covering Media Day, as with this Smirk item, and especially as with NFL Network’s 4 1/2 hours of live coverage of the event. (I remember the good old days when a now bitterly infringed-upon ESPN had the monopoly on absurdly excessive coverage during the Super Bowl Week buildup.)
The NFL now allows fans to also share in Media Day. For $25, you could sit in the stands and watch the circus play out. Astonishingly, about 6,000 fans did Tuesday.
Which reminds me what P.T. Barnum said: “There’s about 6,000 suckers born every minute.”• The new Sports Illustrated pictures on its cover a shirtless Ray Lewis, in the water, praying. (Or did that go without saying?) Inside, in an SI exclusive, the magazine reports that Lewis is among several athletes using unproven products from an Alabama company called SWATS (Sports With Alternatives to Steroids). One such product is deer antler extract that contains IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor), a substance banned by the NFL and other leagues. Lewis on Tuesday denied any PED use, referring to the story as “stupidity.” Controversy! Working headline: OH, DEER!
• A year from now, the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city will be held in New Jersey. Asked about that, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said, “I think it’s retarded. I probably shouldn’t say that. I think it’s stupid.”
• A Super Bowl Security Briefing is scheduled Wednesday at the media center to discuss security plans, crackdown on fake merchandise and so forth. This used to be called the Counterfeit Briefing, but confused journalists weren’t sure if it was real.
• The five-day NFL Experience, an 850,000 square-foot interactive theme park, opens Wednesday in the New Orleans Convention Center. The event offers fans a chance to experience what being an NFL player is really like, with attractions such as passing for accuracy, field-goal kicking and being arrested for carrying a weapon into a strip club.
• A news conference with Super parents Jack and Jackie Harbaugh is set for Wednesday at the media center. As previously reported exclusively by Smirk, the two head coaches’ mom and dad are expected to reveal which son they always loved more.
• The host committee’s Super Bowl Media Party was held Tuesday night as hundreds of journalists rode the Creole Queen Paddleboat to Mardi Gras World, sampled cuisine from 40 New Orleans restaurants, enjoyed live music from five bands and partook (copiously) of myriad open bars. Several journalists were overheard complaining that the perfect evening was severely inhibiting their innate desire to gripe about everything.
• Celebrities and upscale, A-list parties are a big part of Super Bowl Week, and a journalist might judge his importance by what soirees he gets into. For example, Smirk has just scored an exclusive invite to the party annually hosted by the brother of Tom Arnold’s former neighbor.
• Francis Scott Key wept as Super Bowl national anthem singer Alicia Keys said: “It is actually a brand new song in the style that I’ll deliver it.” Yes, you go, girl, because it isn’t about America, tradition or patriotism. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU!!
• Finally, the Korean singer Psy, of Gangnam Style fame, will star in a Super Bowl ad for pistachios. Super Bowl commercials are as popular as the game itself, according to a new poll of people who produce Super Bowl commercials.