- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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Defensive end Greg Hardy is surrounded by a throng of reporters in the Prudential Center in Newark. His jaw is tight and his eyes glazed over as he surveys the crowd when asked, "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"
"The Kraken wouldn't be a tree. The Kraken dominates trees just like he does everything else," Hardy says with a straight face. "I cut down trees with a spoon and eat them for breakfast ... without the spoon."
This could have been the scene at Super Bowl media day had the Carolina Panthers extended their breakout season with wins against San Francisco and then Seattle in the playoffs.
That didn't happen, of course. The breakout ended with a 23-10 loss to the 49ers in an NFC divisional playoff game at Bank of America Stadium.
But let's say the Panthers won the NFC Championship instead of Seattle. Let's say they were in the spotlight against AFC champion Denver during the biggest media circus of the year.
Let's take a peek at what it might look like and what is being said:
This would be around quarterback Cam Newton. Superman always draws the biggest crowd.
Reporter: "Do you think you are ready for football's biggest stage?"
Newton: "This game is not about me. This game is my biggest game only because it is the next game. I believe my best is yet to come."
Reporter: "Peyton Manning says he plans to mimic your Superman celebration if he scores a touchdown. What do you think about that?"
Newton: "How many national championships did he win in college? War Eagle (smile)."
Reporter: "Any favorite design in your clothing line?"
Newton: "I believe my best is yet to come."
Most confused crowd
Definitely around Hardy as he goes into Kraken mode. It always is.
Reporter: "How did The Kraken end up going to Hogwarts?"
Hardy: "It's The Kraken. Mystical. It's where he lives."
Reporter: "You're mixing mythology and fantasy."
Hardy: "I can do whatever I want. I'm The Kraken."
Crowd most likely to fall asleep
This would be around middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. He might be a tackling machine, but he's not a quote machine.
Reporter: "Can you top the 24 tackles you had against New Orleans in the Super Bowl?"
Kuechly: "It is a team game. I couldn't do any of this without my teammates."
Reporter: "What do you make of The Kraken saying he would eat trees for breakfast?"
Kuechly: "It is a team game. He couldn't do any of this without his teammates."
Most WWE-like crowd
Around cornerback Drayton Florence.
Reporter: "Since Ric Flair has switched allegiances from San Francisco to Denver, how do you plan to celebrate a victory?"
Florence: "Wooooo! Tough one."
Most Richard Sherman-type crowd
Easy. Safety Mike Mitchell, who at one point this season claimed he was the most fined player in the league.
Reporter: "Do you have any advice for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on potential fines in the Super Bowl?"
Mitchell: "He's a mediocre commissioner. If he wants to fine me on these little judgmental things, keep them coming. It's a write-off. He knows I'm the best-fined player in the league."
Most confrontational crowd
Around wide receiver Steve Smith. He just likes playing mind games.
Reporter: "What are the odds that Carolina is in this game after a 1-3 start?"
Smith: "Seventy-one percent yesterday. I think I overdid it. Fifty-one percent today."
Reporter: "Are you the best receiver in Carolina history?"
Smith: "You really want me to thump you upside the head? That was the dumbest question you've asked."
Crowd most tired of most overused quote
If you don't know the answer, you didn't follow the Panthers this season.
Reporter: "Coach, how do you prepare this relatively young team for such a big game?"
Ron Rivera: "Many have heard me say this a zillion times, but this is our biggest game because it's our next game."
Player most likely to get the Rivera crowd after he gives the most overused quote
Hardy, of course.
Reporter: "What makes you think you can beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one basketball?"
Hardy: "I'm a beast."
Reporter: "Any plans for Manning."
Hardy: "I won't be happy until I dominate him like a tree and make as much money as him."
With that, pretend Super Bowl media day is over.