The week leading up to the Super Bowl is always bad for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s because one particular storyline gets beaten into the ground by every media outlet; other times it’s because a particularly loathsome team or player or coach gets hyped so thoroughly that the mere mention of their name makes you want to bite someone. It’s always because at least a half-dozen writers think they will be the first ones to successfully pull off a cute Media Day stunt. This week’s pre-Super Bowl coverage feels a little different, though. Not because it’s been good—it will never, ever be good—but because there ... hasn’t really been anything to cover.
Take a look at some of what Pro Football Talk has had on offer this week:
Sports Illustrated was forced to dust off the “Will this be Gronk’s last game?” story, which I’ve been reading this time of year since I was seven years old:
Ah, but SI has a twist! This might also be Devin McCourty’s last game:
I’m not entirely sure who that is!
Here’s my favorite headline of the week, courtesy of ESPN:
By Tuesday, the network was forced to break out the “let’s see which team wins the Madden simulation!” thing, a gimmick that usually stays in the bottom of the bag until at least Thursday.
Poor Adam Schefter has been debasing himself all week in the pursuit of nuggets. These nuggets are stale and cold and not fit for consumption:
Truly, the biggest story of the week is that Maroon 5 canceled their press conference.
What’s strange is that the actual game, a matchup between the best offensive team in football and the best dynasty in league history, featuring scores of individually brilliant players, should be really good. An anticipated and compelling game should in theory produce compelling coverage.
The problem is that through years of inertia media coverage of the Super Bowl has become completely independent of the game itself. This is true for much of NFL coverage throughout the regular season, but during those weeks there are 32 teams to mine for drama and narrative. Now we’re down to two teams, and what is there left to really say about them?
It should be interesting that the game involves the Patriots, the greatest NFL team of all time, and Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time, but it isn’t! We already know everything there is to know about the greatness of the Patriots, and we have known it for years. We’ve been out of things to say about their winning culture or Tom Brady’s legacy or Bill Belichick’s grumpy genius since at least 2014. These assholes have been doing this for 18 years, and there’s literally nothing left to say about them, or even get all that mad about.
And then there are the Rams, who can score 44 points in any game and are on the forefront of the NFL’s offensive revolution. But that’s all on-field stuff, and Super Bowl media week isn’t really built to reckon with any of it. What’s left then is a team without any history or interesting personalities representing a city that cares about them not at all. That’s how we end up reading about Jared Goff’s “California cool” and Sean McVay’s texting habits. The game can’t start soon enough.