Deadspin "correspondent" AJ Daulerio is filing dispatches from the Super Bowl all week. Here's the story of his brief time at Media Day.
Today is the official kick off of Media Day Shitshow at the Miami Convention Center, where the world's greatest sports journalists and media gnats convene and attempt to cover this blessed Super Bowl Event. Unlike last year at the Ren Center in Detroit, this year's event is extremely restrictive. In Detroit, even if you didn't have a pass, you could at least walk around the facility and get a glimpse of some of the media giants doing what they do best; like, say, Dan Patrick eating a sandwich. Not at the Miami Convention Center. All though I stood in line and handed over my identification and presented myself as a member of Gawker Media, the Convention center had no record of my credential.
Finally, a managerly type fellow named Jonathan Zimmer came out with my id and broke the bad news to me that there was no listing for Gawker Media. All of the applications had to be approved by the end of November, he said. "Did your boss tell you he received a confirmation letter?" I assured him that Nick Denton, head of Gawker Media, is such a rabid sports fan that he couldn't have possibly forgotten to apply. But, of course, he did. Because Deadspin would not be able to offer its patented accessless, favorless, discretionless coverage with actual media passes.
All of the credentialed media is corralled into a giant, warehouse-sized conference room where they mill about and do their various reporterly duties and radio programs. The closest you can get to the event is by standing outside a doorway and watching the blue carpeted Media Paradise from afar. But you cannot step over the blue carpet. Not at all. More about this oddly rigid policy after the jump.
As I wandered around the facility ducking in empty rooms slated for reporters Westwood One, CBS, it was apparent that this is still probably one of the most boring events to ever cover in your entire life. The journalists that were cloistered in these little rooms tethered to their laptops and seemed to be harried and not having a very good time. Because they aren't. They are grinding away and, unlike, say, myself, they actually have to have a coherency and validity to their work.
But why couldn't I be a part of their crew? After about 20 minutes of just wandering around, asking various security guards where Radio Row was, where I could buy a soda, where I could see some celebrities, it was obvious that the only way to all of these things was on the blue carpet. As I stood at the foot of the blue carpet, I was being watched by tiny security woman who must've been at least 60. Even though I kept inquiring about the possibility of me stepping foot onto the carpet to run over to the other side of the facility to get a soda, she wouldn't budge.
"Sir, even I couldn't step foot on this carpet without this pass? Now, would you please step back?"
I pulled out my camera to snap photos of some recognizable people: "Hey, Lynn Swann! Can I take your photo?" "Hey, Howard Eskin! I'm a big fan! How about a photo for the boys back in Philly?" All of this was done, of course, behind the line, off of the blue carpet and with enough of a derangement that it troubled the tiny security guard woman and Lynn Swann who looked genuinely annoyed to be stopped for a photo.
All of the way back in the corner I saw Jimmy Johnson's glimmering white hair in the distance. "Hey, that's Jimmy Johnson!", I yelled to the security lady, who didn't appreciate the fact that I was yelling and only standing three feet away from her and inching over the blue line.
"Sir, please step back. I don't want to have to ask you to leave."
"But that's Jimmy Johnson! He's my favorite! And all I really want is a soda. I'll give you $10 if you just let me run over to the other side to get a soda!"
"Sir, I wouldn't do it for $10,000, now please step back over the line."
As more and more people wandered in and out, flashing their badges, it became more and more frustrating to me that I wouldn't be able to join in the fun. Why can't I go sit on Sidney Rosenberg's lap? Why can't I exchange pleasantries with Howie Long?
"Look, I'll just be 10 seconds. Just let me get a soda, " I said as I crossed 10 feet over the line onto the blue carpet.
"Sir, please don't do this to me. Please. Get over the line! Get over the line!"
She gripped the walkie talkie attached to her lapel.
"But it's Jimmy Johnson! Can I get a soda?!"
A gray haired man who resembled Frasier's father walked over.
"Is everything okay here?"
The woman informed the gentleman that I was trying to get onto the carpet without a pass.
"Sir, you can't come here without credentials."
I pleaded some more.
"But it's Jimmy Johnson! How much does it cost to get in here? Please? I just want a soda?"
He eyeballed me. He caressed his walkie talkie like a gunslinger.
I stepped forward.
"Just gimme 10 seconds to get a soda..."
He pressed the button.
"Security! I need Security down here right away."
With that, I was whisked off the blue carpet, back in the hallway, and then shown the door.
Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow.