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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Media day: True theater of the absurd

By Terry Blount

Phillip Hajszan and K.J. Wright
For K.J. Wright and the Seahawks, interviews at Super Bowl media day were less than conventional.

NEWARK, N.J. -- Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette was interviewed by Thomas Jefferson.

A caped crusader in a black mask was doing live shots in front of Russell Wilson's podium.

An attractive woman in a tight-fitting crocheted mini-dress, who apparently didn't think there was a need for undergarments, was walking around in thigh-high boots with seemingly no desire to interview anyone. However, plenty of men wanted to interview her.

Welcome to Super Bowl media day, which has about as much to do with football as baking a cake does to nuclear fusion.

It was all new to the Seahawks, except for Lockette, who saw this circus sideshow last season with the San Francisco 49ers.

"This is the crazy part," said Lockette in what might have been the understatement of the day.

Most of the Seahawks seemed to enjoy the moment, one hour of zaniness with more than a thousand "reporters" there to hype what is the most-hyped event in the world.

If you're looking for answers to a lot of serious football questions, you came to the wrong place. Wilson was asked what he plans to eat before the Super Bowl. "Just normal stuff," he said.

Defensive lineman Michael Bennett had a more elegant response when asked his favorite food: "European truffles."

Really? OK, Chef Bennett. That question came right after he was asked to do his impression of President Obama, which wasn't half bad.

Receiver Golden Tate wore a tiny video camera on his cap so he could record all the people recording him.

Media day usually takes place in the stadium in which the Super Bowl will be played, but NFL honchos were concerned about possible snow and extreme cold this time. They elected to stage media day in the Prudential Center, an impressive hockey arena, but a cattle-call setting with so many people on the event floor.

Fans could sit in the arena and watch a giant video screen, on which four players were shown as they were being interviewed. As it turned out, the sun was shining Tuesday in New Jersey, but it was 23 degrees, so maybe being indoors was the right idea.

The Denver Broncos were up first in the morning session, followed by an intermission during which a band played Bruce Springsteen songs, but no Bruce Springsteen. Isn't that sacrilege in Jersey?

When the Seahawks arrived, I bet you can guess the most popular man of the hour: none other than Richard Sherman, the self-professed best cornerback in football. There were more than 100 people around him for the entire hour, hoping he might go off on a rant like his postgame comments nine days ago.

Didn't happen. Sherman is way too smart for that. He was on his best behavior, savoring every moment. The real Sherman showed up, the one who is cordial, happy and cooperative.

A couple of times he got up from his podium seat and walked over to answer questions from people behind him. He probably would have stayed another hour had the team allowed it.

When asked about how some reporters portray him only as arrogant and brash, Sherman said. "Sometimes, I make it easy on them. Sometimes, I do it on purpose. But I like to see which journalists will do a little research."

Marshawn Lynch
Media-reserved Marshawn Lynch spoke for 6 minutes and 21 seconds -- twice his normal length.
He heard plenty of offbeat questions as well, like how many women have approached him this week.

"The only women I've seen are ones who work in the media," he said, wisely avoiding the question.

On what he wants to do this week that he hasn't done yet: "Well, I want to ride the subway."

Sherman also declared that free safety Earl Thomas is a "fashion icon" as the team's best dresser.

Running back Marshawn Lynch won't win any awards from GQ, and he's the only player or coach who clearly didn't want any part of the media frenzy. Lynch was not at a podium, sitting off in a corner wearing his hoodie and sunglasses as reporters crowded around him.

"I appreciate this," Lynch said. "This is straight-up amazing right here."

Lynch didn't speak to reporters all season until the NFL was going to fine him $50,000 if he didn't talk in the playoffs. Tuesday was a record for Lynch: a 6 minute, 21 second interview before he shut down the session. That's about twice the length of his usual interviews.

"It don't make me uncomfortable," Lynch said of talking to reporters. "I'm just about action. All this unnecessary talk don't do nothing for me. I just go to work and do my thing. My fans love me regardless. They don't care what I got to say. They just want me to perform."

But at least he showed up. That was up for debate Monday night.

"I knew he would show up," said Seattle fullback Michael Robinson, Lynch's closest friend on the team. "They were going to fine him if he didn't. He likes money too much."

And so does the NFL, which is why media day is a show in itself. It's fun, entertaining and quite comical at times, a true theater of the absurd. But it's isn't much about football.

And I think Thomas Jefferson left with the young lady in the crocheted mini-dress.