Today, I was fortunate enough to attend Media Day and get to experience the craziness for a second time. Two years ago, Super Bowl XLVI was played in my hometown, Indianapolis, and I was able to cover Media Day for another publication.
But this time was different. Super Bowl XLVI was played in Lucas Oil Stadium, which is an indoor arena, so that’s where Media Day was held. This year, Super Bowl XLVIII will be played outdoors at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The temperature today was a frigid 19 degrees, so Media Day couldn’t happen where the game will be played. So it was moved to the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils, in Newark, New Jersey, nearly 11 miles away.
The Denver Broncos were the first to take the field — I mean the ice rink (minus the ice), which was covered in green carpet to make it look like a field. I started off by getting a front row spot for wide receiver Eric Decker. After speaking with him, I tried my hand at conquering the crowd of people waiting for a moment to talk to Peyton Manning. While waiting in the mob, it wasn’t long until I hopped out of the craziness after spotting gold-medal gymnast Gabby Douglas. She was there as a correspondent for Inside Edition, and was kind enough to stop for an interview and photo. We then figured out after talking that both Gabby and I happened to be in the same July issue of the Sports Illustrated Kids!
After talking with Gabby, I was ready to go back into the Peyton Manning crowd. I attempted a new strategy this time, which was go straight down the center of all of the people, or what was mostly cameras. I was able to weave through the sea of tripods and land myself a front row spot with Peyton Manning. I got a question in just as the hour of time with the Broncos was up. Phew!
My mom, my editors, and I then grabbed brunch, which was being served in the Devils’ practice rink. Yet again, sadly there was no ice. The playing surface was covered by thick panels, but you always knew the ice was there — it was pretty chilly.
After lunch, it was time for the Seahawks to have their turn with the media. I started off by talking to head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll. Later, I spoke with Kam Chancellor and Russell Wilson. I didn’t even try to fight the crowd for Richard Sherman. It was so packed that I couldn’t even see him!
But as we looked for other Seattle players to talk to, we saw some of the characters who always show up at Media Day. One guy was dressed up as a Founding Father. Someone else was in a superhero costume. There was one guy who was in a big fur coat (who knows why). And then we met Waldo. Actually, it was Tommy Kjaersgaard of the TV station Viasat Denmark. He was dressed up as Waldo from the Where’s Waldo? books and would hang out in the crowd above the interview floor. His partner would ask a player to see if they could spot Waldo, and, according to Tommy, the Seahawks were pretty good! Denver, it turns out, had a hard time finding Waldo.
After the Seahawks’ hour was up, I hung around and was able to sneak in an interview with Chris Berman of ESPN. I was also able to catch Hank Azaria — sorry, legendary sportscaster Jim Brockmire — for what may have been the most hilarious, yet difficult interview of my life.
Overall, the experience was amazing, crazy, and chaotic. But I loved every minute of it. Check out SIKids.com tomorrow for my video report from Media Day!
Photo: Kid Reporter Grace Ybarra with Waldo, er, Tommy Kjaersgaard at Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day. (Dante A. Ciampaglia)