Super Bowl Sub-Plot #4: Media Day!

There are several key storylines that will beaten into the ground by everyone who covers the Super Bowl over the next week. We will beat them down even further.

The purpose of Media Day used to be to give hard-working journalists a way to connect with all of the Super Bowl participants quickly and efficiently, so that they could cover all the angles of this chaotic event as easily as possible. Now the purpose of Media Day is to give the media a chance to talk about themselves, which for most reporters is the greatest story ever told.

These days reporters don't go to Media Day to report on the Super Bowl. They go to Media Day to report on Media Day. No one does any actual work and no one expects them to. In fact, here is the breakdown of people who attend the world's biggest press conference and what their goal is:

Real football journalists. These people already have access to the players they want. They've been covering them for six months so they can talk to them whenever they feel like it, but it doesn't matter because they don't have any new questions anyway. It's like the half day before a holiday—you have to go to work, but you don't have to work. Goal: Enjoy the day off and laugh at all the n00bs.

Non-sports (entertainment) journalists: This group is covering the Super Bowl as a cultural event. Their audience doesn't know or care about sports, so these are the folks who ask questions about haircuts and girlfriends and what players think of Angelina and Brad. (Someone seriously just asked Anquan Boldin about Kurt Warner's beard stubble. Amazing.) Goal: Celebrity fluff pieces

TV Talks Show Sidekicks: Triumph, Biff, half the Jimmy Kimmel writing staff, Jay Leno himself, I guess. Hey, let's ask wacky questions that the players will never expect! Let's piss off real journalists trying to do their jobs! We're like, mocking the entire paradigm of sports coverage, dude. No one has ever thought of this before! (See also: Hot chicks trying to get a camera crew to follow them around.) Goal: Get Kurt Warner to talk about his farts.

Punters, kickers and other non-essential personnel: 75% of professional athletes now carry a video camera everywhere they go. Apparently, they are unaware that people are filming them and that these obsessive first-person narratives are completely dull and pointless. They have to be at Media Day, but no one wants to talk to them so they have to entertain themselves. Goal: Get Jeff Reed to take off his pants.

International journalists: Usually some combo of sports/entertainment reporter who sort of understands football, but speaks broken English and doesn't quite get the local vernacular. Most are genuinely interested in filing a serious story, except the Japanese crew that wants to get players to put on funny hats and bow awkwardly. Goal: Get Kurt Warner to talk about rugby

Rick Reilly and Mitch Albom: Sports reporters who have risen above all that fluff and will instead write flowing essays about What It All Means. Goal: Convince everyone they are better than the previous five groups.

So why write a Super Bowl story when you can write a Story about the Super Bowl Story? Or a blog post about the story about the story?

Weak media in the NFL's media week [Jeff McGregor]
Scene And Heard: Super Bowl Media Day [Tampa Tribune]
Super Bowl XLIII: Do we really need 4,500 journalists to cover this game? [TampaBay.com]