Media Daze

Super Bowl Xli

January 31, 2007|By PETER SCHMUCK

Miami — Miami-- --It is Super Bowl Media Day, which is the mother of all news conferences, and there is a guy wearing a hand puppet trying to interview Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Somewhere in the television hereafter, Kukla, Fran and Ollie are smiling.

Pardon the obscure 1950s TV reference. It has been awhile since hand puppets were considered cutting-edge television, but everybody is looking for a way to stand out in the huge media horde that has descended on Dolphin Stadium on the third official day of Super Bowl Week.

In fact, there is so much going on in so many places, it's impossible to set the scene in any conventional way, so I'll have to go into total stream-of-consciousness mode to put the day into proper perspective:

7:35 a.m.: Woke up. Got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. Quickly realized Paul McCartney was halftime entertainer in the 2005 Super Bowl and tried to think of appropriate Prince lyric to start the day instead.

8:15 a.m.: Media buses leave Radisson Hotel (New slogan: "Valet Parking, $35 Per Day") for Dolphin Stadium. Partly cloudy, 60 degrees, traffic light, no audible gunfire.

9 a.m.: Buses arrive at Dolphin Stadium. Security tight. Looking forward to mandatory pat-down. At my age, any physical contact is appreciated.

9:15 a.m.: Pass marginal television personality Mo Rocca and five-man Tonight Show crew on the way up the ramp. Open question: In what alternative universe does this guy have an entourage?

9:20 a.m.: Crowd into upper concourse while Chicago Bears take team picture and prepare for media stampede. Coffee is served. I don't drink coffee. Nothing else is served. I think I'm going to faint.

10 a.m.: Bears media session begins. Top players each sit on individual platforms to answer questions for one hour. Rex Grossman, inexplicably, among top players.

10:03 a.m.: "It finally hit me ... this is real," says Grossman, clearly happy that something hit him that wasn't an opposing linebacker.

10:09 a.m.: Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier, who used to be at Fox 45 in Baltimore, gives ET's first phony Super Bowl award to Grossman, leading to this exchange:

Frazier: Rex, you were a Travel and Tourism major at Florida, so we're giving you the "Please Put Your Tray Tables in the Upright Position Award." We think you're a guy who could cross over into that business after your football career.

Grossman: I think I'll have to graduate first.

10:15 a.m.: New York Giants star Michael Strahan breaks into interview scrum to shout lame Best Damn Sports Show Period one-cool-player-to-another question to Brian Urlacher.

10:16 a.m.: Strahan blows off Fox reporter from Chicago. ("I'm not working for you. Get that microphone out of here. That's not cool.")

10:25 a.m.: Suddenly famous American Idol rejects Kenneth Swale and Jonathan Jayne walk past me, tailed by at least a dozen reporters. The two kids, one of whom is autistic and competes in the Special Olympics, were trashed unmercifully by Idol judge Simon Cowell on Fox's hit audition show, prompting complaints and putting the kids on the network talk show circuit. What a country.

10:40 a.m.: Still no Pick Boy. The caped crusader from Nickelodeon is a no-show for the second straight year after prancing into our hearts at the 2005 Super Bowl.

11 a.m.: Media brunch begins. South Beach Diet ends. About the only things available that don't contain carbohydrates are the seat cushions. To paraphrase Homer Simpson: Mmmm. Seat cushions.

11:15 a.m.: Run into WJFK talk show host Anita Marks. Flirt briefly. Somewhere, Roch Kubatko quietly fumes.

12:15 p.m.: Colts media session begins. Peyton Manning quickly dismisses media comparisons with God, Boston Red Sox.

12:17 p.m.: Man with hand puppet inches toward Tony Dungy podium. I quietly let out sigh of relief. No writer's block today.

12:33 p.m.: Run into Shannon Sharpe, who says he would have bet the farm on the Ravens if he had known in advance that they would hold the Colts to 15 points and no touchdowns. "And I don't even have a farm," he adds.

12:35 p.m.: Sirens go off and confetti showers field when unidentified reporter asks Dungy millionth "black head coach" question of the week.

12:50 p.m.: Media Day wrapping up. Time to head back to the buses. Can't wait to get back to the Radisson and see if my car is enjoying its $35 parking space.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

The Peter Schmuck Show airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

Bears vs. Colts, Dolphin Stadium, Miami, Sunday, 6:30 p.m., chs. 13, 9 Line: Colts by 7

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