My one experience at Super Bowl Media Day came in January of '98, leading up to the Broncos-Packers Super Bowl XXXII. I turned to my right, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, saw actress Rebecca Romijn, and temporarily forgot why I was there in the first place. Which was fine, because the last thing you need to be thinking about at Super Bowl Media Day is football. That's the one time during Super Bowl week that few people talk about football. It's everything else. A mad crush of reporters, celebrities, comedians, and now, fans, who are invited in to witness the gluttony. And it's phenomenal.
MTV's Downtown Julie Brown may have been the first to push this event away from football and into the surreal a few years earlier, but bizarre moments have seemingly always been a part of this annual circus. Speaking of Denver, ten years earlier a Broncos beat writer was credited with asking Redskins quarterback Doug Williams "how long have you been a black quarterback" prior to Super Bowl XXII. The writer later told me that this wasn't exactly the way he meant it; it was more along the lines of "how long have people made an issue of you being a black quarterback?" But the story lives on, and historically, it was relevant that Williams was the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl, and of course, he became the first to win one as well, routing the Broncos in an MVP performance, one day after enduring a six-hour root canal, no less.
The most heartless and painfully direct question was thrown at Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett prior to Super Bowl XV, when a writer asked him "was it dead mother, blind father or blind mother, dead father?". Plunkett gracefully answered the question.
This year, much was made of Marshawn Lynch's short-lived performance at Media Day. The Seahawks running back has been fined in the past for not talking to reporters, so he took the podium, and repeated "I'm just here so I won't get fined" for five minutes, before bailing. I actually found it funny. The only thing funnier will be if and when he still gets fined.
But really, what else would you have him do? Talk about football?!