Most people these days are so caught up in the off-field action — think funny commercials, munchie marathons, halftime acts — that they almost forget there's a game being played.
The annual appetizer leading up to this annual circus is Media Day, which can be sometimes defined as a freak show side act. These professional athletes get to display their raw, oftentimes egotistical selves in front of hundreds of media outlets transmitting their every word for the world to see and hear.
Millionaires + professional athlete attitude + a day off + hordes of international media = hilarity. Or as former Steelers head coach Chuck Noll once said: "Give a monkey a stage, and he'll dance."
There's plenty of one-liners to expect at the annual event, and every year, these coaches and players do not disappoint. Although the 2010 media day was dubbed "tame" and "boring" by many due to the uncooperative weather, there's plenty to look back on from the media days of yore.
10. The 'G' Word
Although it wasn't technically on media day, Joe Namath's victory guarantee three days prior to the Jets' upset win over the Colts needs to be mentioned as the basis for all pre-Super Bowl chatter.
"We're gonna win the game. I guarantee it," Broadway Joe told a heckling Colts fan leading up to Super Bowl III.
Sure enough, the Jets took down the heavily favored Colts 16-7 on Jan. 12, 1969.
9. Don't Quit Your Day Job
No matter how much New England fans hate to admit it, Peyton Manning is a funny guy. But at this year's media day, the Colts' quarterback absolutely folded with one of the lamest one-liners in the history of the event.
Manning was asked if he was superstitious, to which he responded, "I'm not superstitious — maybe a little-stitious."
Realizing his flop, he decided to throw his brother and Giants quarterback under the bus by adding, "That was a bad joke. I'm sorry — Eli taught me that one."
8. The Do's and Don'ts of Media Day
Sometimes, the annual event is simply a hair-raising experience.
In 2006, Troy Polamalu was awarded "Best Hair, 2006" by Entertainment Tonight. He responded by thanking Pantene Pro-V or "anybody else that wants to send me free shampoo and conditioner."
Fast-forward a few years and the Steelers' safety is now the face (and hair) of Head and Shoulders.
Not to be outdone was Jimmy Johnson, who explained his hairstyle in 1994.
"If I could do something different with it, I probably would but the only thing I could do is shave my head, and I don't think I want to shave me head," said the Cowboys' coach. "I've got real fine, straight hair. It's not a big deal. This is the way it falls."
7. A Media Curse
Media day can get a little scary for some of the players.
Prior to Super Bowl XXXIV, St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner heard: "Kurt, two questions: Do you believe in voodoo, and can I have a lock of your hair?"
Warner's reply was a simple and obvious, "No."
Teammate Jay Williams was asked later that media day, "Is Ram a noun or a verb?"
6. Chek Yor Spellng
The annual gathering isn't just all fun and games. Some media days can even end a young public relations intern's career.
At Super Bowl XLII, legendary Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi's nameplate was misspelled. No, it wasn't 'Teddy' or 'Brewski' that was plastered above his podium, his name was somehow misspelled as "Brushci."
Dion got the majority of votes (5-1) but one Panther defender earned his 15 minutes of fame — and embarrassment — when he put his vote elsewhere.
"I would tackle my mother if she had the ball, and I had to stop her from winning the Super Bowl," laughed Lester Towns.
There's no word yet on if Towns is still grounded.
4. Lewis Responds
Less than a year after being involved in a murder trial, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was the center of attention at Super Bowl XXXV's media day in 2001.
Following a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta on Jan. 31, 2000, a fight allegedly broke out between him and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Eventually, Lewis was sentenced to one year probation and fined a then-NFL record $250,000 by the league.
"Yes I got money. Yes, I'm black and yes, I'm blessed," Lewis told the crowd. "But at the same time, let's find out the real truth. The real truth is [this] was never about those two kids that's dead in the street. This is about Ray Lewis."
He then went on to win the Super Bowl MVP award after Baltimore's 34-7 win over the Giants. But Disney World didn't ask him to endorse the park, as the game's MVP usually does, by saying "I'm going to Disney World!"
3. Bradshaw's Spelling Bee
Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson had one of the most memorable media day lines in the history of the event back in 1979.
The Cowboys' linebacker was convinced that Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw couldn't read the Dallas defense, so he told the media that "[Bradshaw] couldn't spell 'cat ' if you spotted him the 'C' and the 'T.'"
Pittsburgh snuck past the Cowboys 35-31, prompting Henderson to explain, "I didn't say he couldn't play, just that he couldn't spell."
2. An Indecent Proposal
2. An Indecent Proposal
TV Azteca news reporter Inez Gomez Mont proposed to Brady in 2008 prior to New England's loss to the New York Giants in Arizona.
Brady, who has since married Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, denied the request and politely replied, "I've got a few Mrs. Brady's in my life," but later confessed he's a "one-woman man."
I'm not going to touch that one.
The Pats' quarterback gave Gomez-Mont some encouraging words by telling her, "You're beautiful — anybody who would have the opportunity to marry you would be a lucky man."
With that confidence, she went on to offer Giants quarterback Eli Manning the same proposal, only to be denied by the baby bro of this year's NFL MVP.
1. Mr. Ed Takes Offense
Ray Buchanan and Shannon Sharpe took smack talk to the extreme prior to Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999. After Buchanan called Sharpe ugly and referred to him as "Mr. Ed," arguably the most famous pregame exchange of words ensued:
"Is he my friend? No," Sharpe stated. "Did I ever view him as a friend? No. Did I ever view him as an acquaintance? No. Do I like him? No. If i see him in a snowstorm, his truck is broke down, mine is going perfectly, do I pick him up? No."
"Shannon just runs his mouth saying anything, so we don't need to pay attention to him," said the Falcons' cornerback. "He'd better watch out for himself, because he might get knocked out like he did that last game. We're not a team that's going to go out on the field and pull up our skirts and show our panties. I'm not saying we wear panties, but I'm saying we can't go out there and play like females and win the game."
As if that even needed a response, Sharpe added: "Tell Ray to put the eyeliner, the lipstick and the high heels away. I'm not saying he's a cross-dresser, but that's just what I heard."
The Broncos' tight end got the last laugh as he and his Denver mates topped the Falcons 34-19.
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