Today is Super Bowl media day in Indianapolis, an event that used to be reserved for reporters trying to get their first batch of quotes from the two teams. There was always plenty of competition, but Indianapolis Star NFL columnist Bob Kravitz points to Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 as the year the event went went over to the silly side. That was the year MTV's 'Downtown' Julie Brown, asked Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson what rules he had in place for his team during the upcoming week, prompting Johnson to reply, "Don't kiss Julie Brown." This year, more than 5,000 credentials will be issued for the event, with the Giants and Patriots both being subjected to an hour of grilling. It's an experience that's probably either mundane or intensely strange—or both.
Here are five moments in recent Super Bowl history that show the weirdness that media day inspires:
Doug Williams at Super Bowl XX
Williams was poised to be the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl when he led the Washington Redskins against the Denver Broncos at Jack Murphy Stadium. Legend goes that Butch John of the Jackson Clarion-Herald asked Williams, "How long have you been a black quarterback?" Even by Super Bowl media day standards, that would have been a face in palm moment, but John actually said "Doug, it's obvious you've always been a black quarterback all your life. When did it start to matter?" Which also, when you think about it, doesn't make much sense, since Williams became the starter in December after Washington head coach Joe Gibbs benched his erratic (white) starter Jay Shroeder for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
Kurt Warner at Super Bowl XXXIV
The unusual two-part question is a media day staple. Witness, the reporter who went up to Warner, the St. Louis Rams fundamentalist starting quarterback, and asked him if he believed in voodoo, and then asked if he could have a lock of the quarterback's hair. Warner refused.
The Rolling Stones at Super Bowl XL
Even the halftime entertainment has to sit for questions, which in the case of The Rolling Stones, quickly went from a serious assessment of what playing the Super Bowl halftime show means in the band's career, to jokes about Keith Richards and cockroaches.
The racist puppets and beauty contestants of Super Bowl XLII
Getting a player to speak into a microphone held by a puppet is a major media day coup, even though many of these plush interviewers speak in over-the-top, borderline offensive accents. Even the most PR-savvy clubs seem willing to overlook that on Super Bowl media day, in favor of just giving the vast sea of humanity what they want. (Like a pretty face! Like the one belonging to Miss Nevada, or the man who has been growing his hair for years.)
Tom Brady at Super Bowl XLII
The New England Patriots were undefeated entering Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants, but then had to field questions about his "purpose in life" and fend off a marriage proposal from Mexican TV reporter Ines Sainz, who three years later would go on to be the center figure in a quasi-harassment scandal involving members of the New York Jets. The Giants beat the Patriots 17-14, and while New Englanders still blame Brady's injured right ankle for the loss, we would still be struggling mentally from failing to name our purpose -- or any purpose -- in front of a media contingent from around the globe.
So what did attendees have in store this year?
For the Patriots, who went first, there was a fake Tom Brady on the loose.
While the real Tom Brady held court, in a nice cellphone picture taken by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Nickelodeon fielded a cape-wearing correspondent for the fourth year in a row.
As the hour expired, a shot reveals just how many people were crowded into Lucas Oil Stadium to see the Patriots. It's going to start all over again at high noon.
Update: We don't have all the details yet, but according to NFL.com, Artie Lange -- Artie Lange! -- "pissed off" Patriots coach Bill Belichick by "introducing himself as Pam Oliver" when it was his turn to ask a question. If there's accompanying video, this could be the former Howard Stern Show sidekick's topper to his oh-so-memorable appearance on the first night of Joe Buck Live