Just a quick post from Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day at Raymond James Stadium. I’ll have more later in the day, and of a football bent. But let’s get some of the clown acts out of the way.
The guy you see pictured is Ross Matthews. I’m not a Jay Leno guy, so I don’t watch The Tonight Show. I will when Conan O’Brien gets the gig this spring. But apparently, Leno has this guy who he calls “Ross the Intern,” and Ross covers movie premieres, awards shows, wherever he can ask absurd, comedic questions.
Ross was here today with a pink football. Ross is openly gay, you see.
Ross told Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Mike Gandy there are so many hand signals in football, and asked why there wasn’t one for “Half-off sale, one day only.”
“What kind of sales would be going on in a football game, seriously?” Gandy replied with a straight face.
That’s what I liked about the shenanigans here. Everyone knows Media Day brings out self-promoting goofballs, but the players didn’t seem to be content to play unwilling dupes, instead putting the goofballs on the spot.
When some creature from Spanish-speaking television network Telemundo named Karim Mendiburu challenged Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Nick Eason to dance to merengue music, Eason told him to produce the music.
Mendiburu did, and the 305-pound Eason danced with the man. In broad daylight. In front of a slew of other media. Without a trace of hesitation or embarrassment. Good for him.
Afterward, Mendiburu told the player “Now you’re prepared to win the championship.”
“What?” Eason replied. “That can’t help me win.”
I loved it, much as I loved Gandy’s retort to Ross the Intern about his dumb joke about a hand-signal for a half-off sale. They heard something foolish and pretended to take it seriously. They were funnier than the clowns.
The clowns sure did try hard, though. Maria Menounos of Access Hollywood — probably not the weeknight equivalent of “Face the Nation” — kept challenging players to name the judges on “American Idol,” or the names of the Jonas Brothers.
A Dallas radio station guy asked Arizona defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema, the rookie from the University of Iowa, if he could name the Roman numerals in Super Bowl 43. Iwebema immediately said “XLIII,” which was right, and the poor radio guy didn’t have much of a bit.
Not that he had one to start with.
The star players had their own booths on the edge of the Raymond James field, and it sounded like most of the questions they got were serious. Serious by sports standards, anyhow.
I’ll write about some of that for tonight’s Gazetteonline.com, Wednesday’s Gazette, and even the Hlog.
I’m off to the NBC press conference to hear the likes of John Madden, Bob Costas and Al Michaels.