By BOB LABRIOLA
Full Super Bowl Coverage TAMPA – Super Bowl Media Day goes like this:
On the Tuesday of Super Bowl week, each team is presented separately to all credentialed media at the site of the game for a 60-minute session. Every player and coach must be present and cooperative, and the time is kept on the scoreboard clock. When a team's session begins, the media is released to forage for whatever juicy nuggets or tidbits it can find during a process where the questioners typically outnumber the answerers 50:1.
Maybe there was a time when Media Day provided an opportunity to get players to talk about the upcoming opponent or other things relating to the game itself, but that time has long since passed. Now, Super Bowl Media Day is the journalistic version of a walk down Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It has to be seen to be believed.
There was the salsa-dancing competition staged by Kevin Frazier from Entertainment Tonight. Tyrone Carter and Bryant McFadden participated, and McFadden took home the prize, which was a Lombardi Trophy look-alike, with a miniature disco ball replacing the football.
There was Maria Menounos of Access Hollywood stopping all foot traffic not 10 feet from where James Harrison sat behind a microphone fielding questions. Actually, the only person who appeared to be paying attention to what Harrison was saying was Steelers rookie tackle Tony Hills, because, most of the minicams in the immediate area were trained on Maria Menounos.
Then again, maybe what Harrison was saying wasn't all that significant, because upon further review he was being interviewed by teammate Charlie Batch about his golf game.
Batch: "So, James, if you were playing in a four-ball, would your team every get a chance to use your shot?"
Harrison: "I'm a great putter."
Off to the side, close to the goal line opposite that big pirate ship in Raymond James Stadium, Ariko Iso was surrounded by cameras and microphones, while Kevin Colbert spoke to a single guy holding a miniature tape recorder.
That Iso is an assistant athletic trainer and Colbert the Director of Football Operations mattered not a lick, because the Japanese media contingent was more interested in someone from their country who spoke their language instead of the guy who headed up the drafts that assembled the players allowing the Steelers to be here in the first place. That's Super Bowl Media Day.
Super Bowl Media Day also is about someone like Nick Eason getting his chance to shine. Barring something unforeseen, Eason will play somewhere between eight and 15 snaps against the Cardinals, but on Media Day he was the star of Sporting News Radio, which was broadcasting live from the event. Eason had them in stitches.
As the scoreboard clock ticked toward 0:00 and the official end to the session, cameras flitted about trying to get the sound bite that might justify the expense report they'll be submitting to their bosses upon their return home.
Maybe that was why James Farrior was asked to give a shout-out to Austria. That's right, Austria. The country in Europe. And if there's anyone out there who doubts Farrior is a go-to guy, he gave the Austrian lady about 20 seconds worth right off the top of his head that likely was as good as anything else she came away with the whole day.
Super Bowl Media Day also is about irony.
One of the tricks used be many outlets is to get one player to interview another of his teammates, and one of those enlisted in this way was No. 1 pick Rashard Mendenhall. Remember that Mendenhall's rookie season was ruined by a broken shoulder landing him on the injured reserve list, and as he was walking past Mike Tomlin's podium, microphone in hand, Tomlin was saying in response to a question, "It's not about what you say. It's about what you do."
Definitely happenstance, but when it comes to making sense of a Super Bowl Media Day, it's as good as it gets.