Scenes from Media Day: Deflategate Just Adds to the Circus

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterJanuary 27, 2015

USA Today

PHOENIX — The first noticeable difference with this Super Bowl media day from the approximately 20 others that I've covered was the abundance of potty jokes. And ball jokes. And balls in potty jokes. Sixth-grade humor was on full display.

There was, of course, the normal stupidity. There were the usual skin-tight wardrobes. The dude wearing a barrel and a cowboy hat. The costumed dorks. There was the prerequisite goofiness, the staple of buffoonery and megalomaniacs shouting stupid questions.

There was Marshawn Lynch, answering every question saying, "I'm here so I won't get fined."

So that was awesome. He did answer the questions with a nice smile, though.

He did answer one question differently: "I'm here so I won't get fined…boss."

Then Deion Sanders tried to interview Lynch, unsuccessfully. Boss. Lynch bolted after just under five minutes.

"Time!" he said. I actually laughed at that.

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PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks talks with NFL Network personality Deion Sanders at Super Bowl XLIX Media Day Fueled by Gatorade inside U.S. Airways Center on January 27, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

"Media day: the result of daddies not hugging their babies," tweeted ESPN's Michelle Beadle.

Wonderfully put.

So, yes, there was all of that. There is always all of that.

Oh, and the puppets. Can't forget the puppets.

I believe there was also a sketch artist. That was a first for me. Then again, media day is sort of like a crime scene. All of us getting paid to cover this are stealing money.

I mean, why would Lynch not want to talk to dudes wearing a tight costume or sporting a barrel? 

What turned this media day into middle school was Deflategate. The Patriots, from what I could tell, had to endure more than a few comments and jokes about balls. And few of the players were amused.

One questioner asked a backup Patriots player: "Can we see your balls?" He smiled and declined.

I heard several other Patriots players asked variations of the ball jokes/queries. One involved balls, a bathroom and a timer. Or something like that. 

Deflategate didn't nullify the knuckleheadedness of it all, but this media day did have slightly more edge to it. Though that's like saying the end crust of a loaf of plain bread is more rad than other pieces.

There was perhaps one interesting moment when Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner, asked repeatedly about his comments that he would target injured Seahawks, said Seattle corner Richard Sherman sent him a text that read, "LOL."

The player who seemed to like media day more than any other participant was Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, though he seems like the type of guy who'd be happy chasing squirrels. 

Matt York/Associated Press

The Patriots stayed on message the entire time, I believe. Brady thanked the troops and Bill Belichick said, repeatedly, he was on to Seattle. A CIA interrogator couldn't deter New England from its synchronicity.

Belichick did have a funny comment, though. He was asked by the daughter of Jerod Mayo what stuffed animals he likes. Belichick said a finger puppet. A monkey finger puppet. You read that correctly.

"I like a puppet you can put your fingers in and make it talk to you," he said.

That was the best NFL coach of all time talking finger puppets. Belichick also wore a nice pair of flip flops.

The Seahawks, Lynch notwithstanding, continued to be the most quotable team in Super Bowl history. Sherman dove more into the Robert Kraft-Roger Goodell relationship, asking, "How many other owners has [Goodell] hung out with, taken pictures with?" 

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Sherman was also asked to name which bachelorettes are left on the show The Bachelor. He later did the salsa with a nice young lady. So there's that.

Perhaps no one handles a podium better than Russell Wilson. He may be the most polished star player I've ever seen. No one, maybe in all of sports, is a better representative for his league. That showed at media day. Yes, there were cliches, but for whatever reason, when he used them, they didn't seem trite.

Michael Bennett from the Seahawks is also a pretty amazing talker. Bennett said Denzel Washington was the handsomest man in the world. Second? Michael Bennett.

Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, when asked about going against Darrelle Revis and visiting Revis Island, said, "I'm gonna bring my sunblock, my shades, my hat, and I'm going to go to Revis Island and see what I can do."

When it comes to the media, this event, obviously, has come a long way. How far it has come is amazing. As NFL executive Michael Signora tweeted, at the very first Super Bowl decades ago, many of the media interviews were actually conducted in the hotel rooms of the players.

That was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Today, there are thousands of people covering it. We were all packed in, crowded and jammed, like a ball boy in a bathroom with a bag full of footballs. 

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

A few more notes from the circus:

• At 8:12 a.m., hours before the teams arrived, the stadium was actually fairly quiet. There were the murmurs of a few dozen people chatting. Or testing microphones. The band arrived at 8:15. The four tubas trotted up the stairs to the top level. Looked like the trumpets got the better seats.

• As more media arrive, it's noticeable how many different languages are being spoken when the stadium is slightly quieter. There is Spanish and French and a very noticeable Bronx accent. That language, I believe, is called Bronxian.

• The Cardinals mascot, have to say, is very handsy. The mascot also has gigantic feet. This is the type of information you don't get elsewhere.

• Not long after the band arrived came a dude wearing a cape and mask with the letter "P" on his chest. This is apparently a character named Pick Boy from Nickelodeon television. Interestingly, Pick Boy looked like he had stuffed toilet paper in his crotch area. Didn't know this is how Nickelodeon rolled. Thus, with the arrival of Pick Boy, it was now official. Media day had begun. Bathroom jokes and all.

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.