Unlike previous Super Bowl Radio Rows, non-football celebrities have been in very short supply on Radio Row at Super Bowl XLVIII.
But finally — in the last hour of the last day — an honest-to-goodness real live celebrity showed up.
New York City is a city of icons. Whenever we got the chance, we took some time away from Radio Row at Super Bowl Media Headquarters to stroll the neighborhood.
The old hands tell us that in the early days of the Super Bowl, if you wanted to talk to a particular player, your best chance to do so consisted of showing up by the pool at the team hotel. That worked in those days because of the fact that the early Super Bowls were played in Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans. It also helped that the early Super Bowls were not yet the near national holidays that they are now.
All of that has changed. Some say that Super Bowl Sunday now eclipses Thanksgiving Day as the number one food day of the year. The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest annual event in America. Media attention has followed.
Thus the NFL created Media Day.
For two one hour sessions — one for each team — the NFL makes every player on both teams available to members of the media.
Because most Super Bowls are played in warm weather cities or in covered stadiums, Media Day usually takes place on the field at the Super Bowl host stadium. New York is not a warm weather city. MetLife Stadium across the Hudson River in New Jersey is not a covered stadium. Those two factors served to push Media Day indoors.
For Super Bowl XLVIII, the venue for Media Day was New Jersey’s Prudential Center, home of the NHL New Jersey Devils. At something close to a 50 to 1 ratio of media to players, an event that typically happens on a football field becomes very compressed when packed onto a covered hockey rink.
The number of members of the media and the distances that they travel to cover the Super Bowl is testimony to the magnitude of the NFL’s annual event.
Reporters and photographers come from all over the world to cover the Super Bowl. On the floor of the venue at Media Day, you hear almost every spoken language.
It is generally to the credit of the players and the coaches that they do their best to answer questions — whatever they are and from however far afield they come. By and large, the participants in the biggest game of year are cordial and friendly.
Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day is the third such event to admit members of the public. While the media bump into each other and jostle for position in front of players, fans sit in the stands and watch it all happen. As a part of the admission price, the NFL provides a special radio receiver that allows fans to select which player microphone to which they desire to listen.
As we have said many times, it’s easy to forget that there’s a football game scheduled for Sunday. Much of Media Day, some say most, has only a tenuous connection to an NFL football game.
But they will, in fact, play a football game on Sunday. One team — the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks — will walk away as the 48th Super Bowl champions.