Embrace it. That was Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith advice to his fellows players last year for the annual orgy of inane questions (and questioners) that Super Bowl Media Day has become. "It's a little headache for us but you come out here and have some fun," Smith said. "You get some wacky questions, some off the wall stuff. But you go with the flow. It's part of the job."
Indeed, it is, and it's also the lone occasion where traditional NFL media mix with beauty queens from Mexican television, Peruvian bloggers, and reporter wannabes from the Leno and Letterman shows. The NFL announced this week that more than 4,500 working credentials had been issued for this year's Super Bowl in Miami, including media from 22 countries. Some of the more interesting non-traditional outlets: The Golf Channel, ET and the Funny or Die Web site. They'll all be at Sun Life Stadium today -- indoors, on the club level, due to the rain -- for what one salty NFL writer called an "immense cluster-****."
The Colts are scheduled to go from 10-11 a.m., and the Saints will follow from noon-1 p.m. Rarely does breaking news occur from these sessions but we'll be here in the event it does, as well as capture all the flavor and nonsense from the NFL's most excessive publicity event not named Chad Ochocinco:
PHOTOS FROM SUPER BOWL XLIV MEDIA DAY
1:48 p.m.: Well, it's over, and we check back in with Don Banks to wrap up a spectacularly uneventful day.: "It was a really by-the-book, say-the-right things kind of Super Bowl Media Day. I don't know if being indoors curtailed some of the bizarro world antics but it certainly seemed like it did."
1:30 p.m. SI's Jim Trotter just got into a quick back-and-forth with a reader on Twitter. "@AlfieCrow @SI_JimTrotter c'mon, Caldwell was handed the keys to a Ferrari." Responded Trotter: "I'm sorry, but do Ferraris drive themselves?"
1:26 p.m. I just called Mariucci's questions of Smith "mind-numbing," prompting colleague Jimmy Traina to ask if I would write that in this blog.
1:23 p.m. Mariucci just let us know the Saints defensive end Will Smith was not the Will Smith from The Fresh Price of Bel-Air. Thanks, Steve.
1:21 p.m.: The NFL Network has given Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey about six minutes of air time, which was about four minutes too many.
1:16 p.m.: At this point, I think the most important question that can be asked is this: What time is Lost on?
1:13 p.m.: Saints wide receiver Marques Colston on the most ridiculous question he's been asked: "Someone just asked me who my favorite Kardashian sister was. I wouldn't know how to answer that one."1:05 p.m.: Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma: "I think we made tremendous progress, especially in the turnover department. I think that was the biggest stat for us as far as improving from last year. Last year we might have been middle of the pack or the bottom of the pack. This year we were first or second, the top tier in the league. We feel like we see a direct correlation to us creating turnovers, getting the offense the ball back and putting the points on the board and winning games."
1:01 p.m. In the spirit of today's Academy Award nominations, here are the Top 5 nominees for the most ridiculous people ever to attend Super Bowl Media Day:1. Downtown Julie Brown2. Gilbert Godfried3. Tom Arnold 4. David Blaine5. Deion Sanders
12:57 p.m.: Bush said Fox's (and former Giant) Michael Strahan gave him advice on how not to get caught up with the distractions of Super Bowl week.
12:54 p.m.: Deion Sanders just blasted the press around Bush and pronounced, "This is a real question." He then asked Bush, "How big is this game for you personally?Thanks, Mike Wallace.
12:44 p.m.: Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Freeney: "We're planning on that he's playing." On what the Super Bowl means to the people in New Orleans: "It means so much. I know season-ticket holders that have had tickets for 42 years. For so many of them just to have waited so long, and to have been through so many tough times in order to get to this point, and not only them but what people have gone through in New Orleans post-Katrina, it is so much more a game to us. It's a feeling that we have the opportunity to give them so much hope and lift their spirits and give them something they deserve."
12:38 p.m. A media mob has formed in front of Reggie Bush's podium.
12:31 p.m.: Tweets Ochocinco: "Please mainstream media don't be mad at me for doing the job you guys have failed to do correctly, giving the fans what they really want." (I'd argue plenty of media have given boring tweets like this one, Chad.)
12:28 p.m.: The Saints are now posing for a team picture on the Sun Life Stadium field.
12:25 p.m.: The Houston Chronicle'sRichard Justice tweets: "Ross the intern is also here. Someone should tell him his shtick was funny about four years ago. Now? Not so much."
12:10 p.m.: Banks reports that he did not see Colts general manager Bill Polian today at Media Day. Surmises that he might be running around with Bryant McKinnie. (Banks soon to be banned from the city of Indianapolis.)
12:08 p.m.: One of my favorite Media Day lines comes from Banks who three years ago wrote: "The clown quotient in the reporting ranks seems to be at an all-time low. Well, that's not entirely true. I did see Chris Berman giving interviews." I believe Banks is now officially banned from the city of Bristol, Ct.
12:00 p.m.: The Saints media session will begin in 30 minutes.
11:52 a.m.: Chris Cooley said he had a conversation with Redskin coach Mike Shanahan recently and reports Shanahan is "really excited about being the head coach of the Washington Redskins." That's the easily the most amusing thing I've heard during Super Bowl day given Washington's roster.
11:41 a.m.: SI.com's Don Banks checks in on the phone from Media Day: "I thought it was the tamest Super Bowl Media Day in my 19 Super Bowls. It could be that the move indoors, while a fairly strong Florida sun blazed outside, has kind of mellowed everyone out. But some of it is the Colts and their team persona which is pretty much all business all the time. But it was painfully shy of much theater of the absurd, and I thought pretty shy of headlines all the way around." Banks spent the first 10 minutes next to Freeney's podium and says Freeney did not seem optimistic about playing. "Freeney said if I'm not playing, we should be all right, which kind of tells you his mindset." Freeney disclosed that he has owned an oxygen chamber for the past two years. Most importantly, Banks says he has not seen anyone wearing a wedding gown. 11.18 a.m.: Fox Sports' Jay Glazer just tweeted this: " Brunch 2day, S Payton sent G Williams jar of peanut butter, crackers, & a glass of sand to keep his mouth shut." Guess that ends any additional talk from Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams about his defense giving Manning a few "remember me" hits.
11:17 a.m.: Freeney is leaving his podium. Slowly. In flip flops.
11:16 a.m.: Newark Star-Ledger sports columnist Steve Politi tweets: "The Colts are boring. Where's Rex Ryan to liven things up when you need him?"
11:10 a.m.: Peyton Manning said he "has no reaction"to the Saints chatter about getting to the quarterback.Asked about NFL players' safety, Manning said the league "is trying to protect the players and their lives after football. Is it a dangerous sport? Absolutely. 100 percent. But I think the league is trying to do everything it can to keep the players as safe as possible."
11:04 a.m.: So I see The Blind Side was nominated today for an Academy Award as best picture. (Nice flick, but a little light for a Best Picture nomination, no?) Speaking of entertainment, we've seen little of the nonsense from Super Bowl Media Days past: No reporters wearing wedding dresses, and no marriage proposals. At least as of now.
10:56 a.m.: Like what I'm hearing from Colts center Jeff Saturday. Smart and thoughtful answers. "Even if we don't win, I can tell you where Peyton Manning will rank among quarterbacks," Saturday said. "The top of the list." Comcast Sportsnet reporter Tom Curran tweets that Saturday said of backup quarterback Curtis Painter: "He's a good guy. Me and [fellow offensive lineman Ryan] Deim sit behind him in meetings and flick at his head." Worth noting here is the Colts allowed 13 sacks this season -- the fewest in the NFL.
10:53 a.m.: Colts coach Jim Caldwell is asked if he has any regrets not going for the perfect season. "None whatsoever," he said. "Our goal was to get here, where we are today." Caldwell said that Freeney is a "quick healer" so "don't count him out just yet."
10:44 a.m.: Palm Beach Post NFL reporter Edgar Thompson tweets that Freeney was using an oxygen chamber for his ankle. The ankle is a Grade 3 sprain with a torn ligament. There's not as many media around the Colts other defensive end Robert Mathis, who is now being buttered up by Mariucci. Mathis said he can play on both sides, depending on what happens with Freeney. Of his defensive line coach, John Teerlinck, Mathis said he "eat, sleeps and dreams sacks."
10:42 a.m. : Colts wideout Pierre Garcon is wearing a bandana on his head with the flag of his native Haiti.
10:40 a.m.: Colts wideout Reggie Wayne on the South Beach scene: "Miami is always going to be Miami. But you'll be a bigger rock star if you win this game." Wayne said he asked Freeney how his ankle felt andFreeney told him "it's coming along."10:33 a.m.: Redskins tight end Chris Cooley reports on Twitter that a security guard at Sun Life Stadium "doesn't give a s$%% about Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco and we can tell him that." Cooley, Ravens running back Ray Rice and Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett are all working with Ochocinco as part of the his "Ochocinco News Network." They will be live-tweeting from Media Day today.
10:31 a.m.:Manning is trying to become the 11th player in NFL history to win the MVP and Super Bowl in the same season. He's got a big crowd around him. "The Saints may come out and play something entirely different than what we've seen," Manning said. "This is an an unfamiliar opponent.This is a team with a lot of players I have not played against. So the more you can get familiar with these guys, the more comfortable you feel."
10:22 a.m.: And we're off. NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci just said 34-year-old Peyton Manning is still a kid. (Glad this guy's not covering the X-Games.) Deion asked Freeney how his ankle is. "It's day to day," said Freeney. "Hopefully, by toward the end of the week it starts to get better." As for how long he can go, Freeney said that decision will be made Friday or Saturday. Freeney said he will definitely have pain and is trying to get the swelling down. "It's kind of early, it just happened last week," Freeney said. "We still have some recovery to go." Looking at Freeney's ankle, it looks pretty swollen. NFL Network's Warren Sapp just went bold on Freeney: "He's done."
10:12 a.m.: Super Bowl Media Day is usually held on the playing field but today its indoors on the concourse level of Sun Life Stadium because of yesterday's rain. The NFL Network's Rich Eisen looks as if he's broadcasting from the fifth floor of a Holiday Inn and he's going to have to fill for another 15 minutes because things have been pushed back 30 minutes today. There's already a deep throng to speak with Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, and the throng is led by Deion Sanders, who will likely talk more than Freeney.