Media Day often has a “wild” reputation. It’s because the frenzy of reporters, photographers, media types of all kinds is at fever pitch. And also because it often attracts some unusual characters (a reporter dressed as Batman’s sidekick for one).
Since I’ve never covered a Super Bowl Media Day, how could I resist?
I found the process of getting in to Lucas Oil Stadium almost as interesting as the event itself.
Yes, I am a credential-holding member of the media. But that doesn’t afford cart-blanche access.
We’re talking about two powerhouse Super Bowl teams–inside the Super Bowl stadium–which for the remainder of this week is the “property” of the NFL. You better believe there’s security! Even for–maybe even “especially” for –the media.
WTHR photographer Greg Wilkerson and I were directed down an alley just west of the stadium into a large white tent. For me, the security process was pretty easy. A pat down, pockets emptied, through a metal detector, then a scan of my credential (much like they scan tickets to a concert) and I’m good.
For Greg, however, not so fast. He’s carrying the gear–a t-v grade camera, and wireless microphone. Once past the metal detector, he’s directed to a corner of the room, along with a dozen or so other videographers, to watch as a bomb-sniffing dog checks out their gear.
He moves on to another part of the room–where he’s assigned a radio frequency for his wireless mike. Then to yet another station where that frequency is checked.
It’s a process that takes about 15 minutes. And will have to be repeated each time we enter Lucas Oil Stadium this week.
I’m not complaining. The security staff was extremely friendly and helpful. And it keeps us all feeling protected. I find the whole process fascinating.
By the time we made it inside, the interviews had already started. The Patriots first–the key players and the head coach each on their own “stage” (think lemonade stand on a grander scale) about 10 yards apart. The bigger the name, the bigger the crowd of media surrounding them. QB Tom Brady attracted the biggest crowd, as you might guess. (Eli Manning held his own for the Giants too!)
Fans were seated in the lower level on one side of the stadium. Each provided with headsets to listen to the interviews. Media–or those credentialed to be there–were the only ones allowed on the field where the interviews were taking place.
As I said, I was expecting “wild”–so was a little surprised at how quiet it was inside that stadium. Except for the occasional eruption of applause or cheers by the fans, I felt talking too far above a whisper might draw unwanted attention.
And I really didn’t see as many “characters” as I expected. (Although I did see Batman’s sidekick–a “reporter” from Nickelodeon; and someone dressed in a pirate hat. I’m sure there were others.)
Still, I found myself in a perfect place to “people watch”. Occasionally I would hear a reporter from another country–speaking in his native language. Watching as photographers position themselves for that perfect shot.
I ran into some old friends who I worked with years ago; and tried to spy those whose work I’ve admired and aspired to.
And yes, I managed to see a football player or two.
All in all a fantastic experience. While not one I would describe as “wild”–I felt priveledged to have a front-row seat.