The Super Bowl Committee estimates more than 5,000 reporters arrived in New Orleans to cover Super Bowl XLVII. Today, buses unloaded them all, seemingly, into the Superdome for Media Day. Fans filled the lower bowl sideline to watch the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens host Q&A sessions with reporters, and reporters from all over the world get one-on-one with the players — attendees could tune in to free personal ear-clip radios to tune into each network or interview stage. Media Day opened to the public for the first time last year in Indianapolis.
Players sat back for an hour to wax philosophic on football, reflect on the season, answer boring questions or repeat answers to repeated questions, and get a little loose in a pre-game stress-free interview setting — or walk around among reporters and goof around on- and off-camera with the media.
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis drew the wildebeest reporters to his crocodile trap of seemingly endless Ray Lewisms — "I have dreams. The outside world don't see those dreams. ... People ask why I'm so emotional" — while center Matt Birk confirmed his much-publicized stand against gay marriage: "I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman," and attributed his views to his Catholic background.
Conversely, Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo will use the Super Bowl to boost his pro-gay marriage and anti-bullying views to the public.
After asking Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones to switch eye-gear and recite Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven (see photo), Mo Rocca, who ate at Sylvain last night, shared his favorite player interview moment thus far:
"I loved showing swatches of fabric to (49ers tight end) Vernon Davis. He runs an interior design company. He suggested a really great color combination for my sofa, and we even talked about an accent wall."
When pressed for Davis' design secrets, Rocca cited client confidentiality: "That's really private between me and him. I don't want to disclose it."
Jones said "the craziest question" asked to him was whether "what's better, shrimp jambalaya or... something else. Gumbo."
When asked who would win in a fight between Jones and his brother, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Jon Jones, he said, "I mean, obviously it's me."
The reporter-swarms gathered at the feet of quarterback Joe (Wacko For) Flacco and head coach John Harbaugh, who said he prefers the bottom bunk to his brother, Jim, head coach of his upcoming opponents, and said "The Superdome looks great."
Artie Lange, who returns to cover the Super Bowl for the second year for his titular show, will root for the Ravens on Sunday. "My favorite team is the Giants, so I like the NFC normally," he said. "I think the Niners are going to win. I'm rooting for the Ravens. I think the Niners will beat them."
Lange isn't a stranger to the city — he already made one of his regular stops to Mother's Restaurant. "I do that whole thing." But he apparently has not tried the restaurant's world famous root beer-glazed ham. "What?! No! That sounds amazing. Before the end of the week I will go back and get that. I promise."