EDITOR'S NOTE: Nick Delahanty is a junior at Felician College majoring in communications. An intern in the College’s Office of Institutional Communications, Delahanty is the co-manger of Felician’s Internet radio station, WRFC, and is the Baltimore Orioles blogger for MLBReports.com.
On January 28, 2014, the aspiring journalist attended Super Bowl Media Day in Newark and provided this report for FelicianAthletics.com.
As an aspiring journalist, I was thrilled to find out the Super Bowl was going to be held in New Jersey this year. I was hopeful that a few of the events leading up to the game would also be held in the Garden State, in order experience some small part of one of the biggest events that the world of sports has to offer.
Fortunately, the one event that could help me the most happened to be at the Prudential Center in Newark: Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day. The session was open to the public, with radios provided so that fans could switch between simultaneous interviews and listen in. I could not think of a better platform for me to watch the sports media do their work.
An hour before the players and coaches were due, swarms of media had already filled the floor waiting anxiously. Booths were set up where the ice rink for the New Jersey Devils hockey team usually sits. At 9 a.m., media swarmed around each booth as if a Black Friday sale was about to start.
I was ready to watch reporters ask some very important questions, as well as see them have a little fun while they had the players’ attention. Some media members tried to elicit an emotion or a reaction that would “stir the pot,” likely hoping that they could in turn create a story line.
It truly amazed me how rapidly the questions are thrown at the players and coaches. The participants were asked all types of things, ranging from game preparation to their personal lives, and even just random thoughts that flow through the media’s mind.
The two biggest crowd-getters were cornerback Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. Many eyes in the morning were on Sherman, who had been criticized for more than a week about his live tirade on FOX-TV after the NFC Championship Game. I was intrigued to see what types of questions would flow his way.
Initially, interviewers appeared to try to goad Sherman into an overreaction, but he would not budge. He openly took the hard questions, never once cracking or getting angry. Sherman had a smile on his face the entire 65 minutes he was on the stage, answering every question thrown his way in a direct manner. Seahawks media relations staff had to be pleased with his performance.
Even though Manning has been known for years for his class and poise, I still came away impressed after watching him conduct his interview. In addition to standard game-related questions, Manning was bombarded with queries about health, age, throwing habits, and his possible retirement after the Super Bowl. Instead of becoming annoyed, he actually seemed to enjoy the experience. He answered every question with respect and courtesy, and even threw in the occasional joke. A surefire Hall-of-Famer, Manning showed why he his so highly-respected off the field as well as on.
One player in particular disappointed me. As has been widely reported since Tuesday, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch refused to speak to anyone but former all-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders of NFL Network. He told Sanders, “There’s no need to talk about the game today. When it comes time to play, I’ll be ready.” However, Lynch is one of the league’s best at his position, and from both the fan’s and journalist’s perspective, I would have liked to have heard his thoughts.
Super Bowl Media Day is a rare occasion where the entire roster of an NFL team is together in one location for the purpose of media accessibility. Being able to experience two live hours of non-stop interviews was a great way to get a feel for what a career in sports journalism could be like.
If the game on Sunday is as good as the Media Day, we’re in for a great day.