The annual tradition of thousands of media from around the globe descending upon the given Super Bowl host city to chit chat with athletes for the biggest game of the year, is considered the zenith of any sports journalist’s career. To actually live it out, in my own backyard, no less, seemed almost outer worldly.
Super Bowl XLVIII, holds the distinction of being the first totally cold weather Super Bowl. It just makes sense that the place to experiment would be in New York–where the NFL headquarters is, and also the media capital of the world. Cold weather or no cold weather, the media has a job to do, and a damn hard one at that–stretch out a day’s worth of storyline into a week of riveting headlines and intrigue.
The Super Bowl would be nothing without a thickened plot, which is constructed entirely by journalists, like myself. It’s the difference in Richard Sherman being an underpaid cornerback, who no one outside of Seattle knew much about, to him being a household name. What we do most of the time goes on behind the scenes, rarely does the outside world see what goes on outside of twitter updates and the like.
This is why Media Day is an honor and a special privilege, it’s the recognition of endless work–non-stop breaking news and working during the games while others purely watch and enjoy. Media Day has taken on a second life of its own recently, with the event getting bigger and better, for the good and sometimes bad. This is where journalists get to let down their hair and connect with athletes, in the calm before the storm to come.
This year’s Media Day site wasn’t the stadium in which the game will be played, thankfully. Due to cold weather conditions Media Day 2014 was held at the very warm and toasty Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Broncos met the media first, and was very business as usual; a team led by Peyton Manning is always going to see the bigger picture as a whole. For Manning, his focus is solely on that Sunday, taking the ball in the cool winter night and building to his legacy. For the Seahawks, the mood swung entirely, the young and Super Bowl inexperienced bunch brought tons of energy and curiosity with them. The night and day difference between the teams was palpable, with the Hawks, clearly commanding more coveted interviews.
My experience seemed very akin to that of the Seahawks, I was just happy to be there and to bare witness to my accomplishments. To be able to partake in my first Media Day, as a New Yorker especially, this was an opportunity that was tailor made for me to execute to the best of my abilities. It’s easy to feel intimidated in the crowds of people and cameras, in what was in actuality a small very compact environment. I came as a representation for Black Sports Online, and for really all young journalists being able to shine on the biggest stage in sports.
To be able to see other people my age, like Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and others live out there dreams as I live out mine is one of the reasons why this Media Day felt so personal. While, I bare no rooting interest and hope the best for both teams I can tell from my perspective and also from the media’s as a whole something about the young Seahawks’ story conjured up memories of everyone’s first trip to Media Day.
As the days pass on and the big day looms closer and closer, as a journalist I feel the impact that my words hold in setting the scene for that sacred day we all have come to love, Super Bowl Sunday. To be able to contribute to such a day has made the experience of days like today feel all the more important.