Everything is bigger in Texas, including Opening Night

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The End Around was on the ground at Media Night from Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston. The takeaways ...

» Tom Brady remains the undisputed king of Media Day. His crowd doubled everyone else's and it never subsided. By the end of Matt Ryan's availability, you could sidle right up next to the likely league MVP and ask a question. You'd need the Cowboys offensive line to do the same with the Patriots star.

» For the first time I can recall, the captains and head coaches from the two Super Bowl teams were brought onto the stage midway through the proceedings. That led to the somewhat surreal sight of Brady and Matt Ryan being interviewed together by ESPN's Sal "EEEEEEEEE-SPN" Paolantonio. There was a Wrestlemania vibe to the whole thing that cried out for Chris Long to hit Ryan over the back of the head with a steel folding chair. Didn't happen.

» Shoot it. Shoot it. Shoot it. Shoot it. Shoot it.

It's a ridiculous human-off!

A photo posted by Dan Hanzus (@dan.hanzus) on

» It's 2017 and we've still got guys doing dress bits. C'mon.

» Devonta Freeman's favorite cereals are Fruity Pebbles and Capt. Crunch. Just so you know.

» If I tried the patented Irvin/Deion creep-up on an NFL superstar, I'd be tased and thrown into the basement where they keep all the old Enron Field signage.

A video posted by Dan Hanzus (@dan.hanzus) on

» X Ambassadors played what amounted to a two-song halftime set at Opening Night. Three years ago, this event was held on a Tuesday morning with a Bruce Springsteen tribute band as audience entertainment. Prediction: The NFL will have this event in outer space in less than three years.

» One more X Ambassadors note: I'm not familiar with their work, but I thought it was pretty commendable that the lead singer prowled around the stage in Adidas windbreaker pants. Reminds me of when the "cool" senior guys in my high school started wearing sweatpants in what could only be construed as a statement of their absolute control of the domain. I'm not sure if X Ambassadors guy is doing the same thing, but I respect his dedication to comfort.

» This was not me ...

» I know there are more important things going on, but let's all get behind #GetMalcolmARiser. I mean, the guy made one of the most famous plays in NFL history ... in the Super Bowl ... two years ago. Now he's one of the best corners in the league. He deserves better than to be on the floor with the plebs.

Back to Brady, the quarterback became unexpectedly emotional when asked if his father spoke for him with his recent comments on the Deflategate scandal. I'm telling you, seeing a player get choked up during a question at Media Night is as rare as a spotted snow leopard sighting in Hoboken. The fact that it was Tom Brady? Off the charts bonkers. Whoever asked this question should be hired by a major network and given a primetime interview show.

» The Good Burger guy showed up. No, not the SNL guy. The other guy. I'm sure he could have foretold this in 1997.

» Robert Kraft is not your typical 75-year-old grandfather:

» I'm not ready to talk about the Chris Berman tribute yet. Just know he came on the stage alone to the theme from The Natural.

» After the Patriots' hour of availability wrapped up, the lights went down, the X Ambassadors returned to the stage, ripped into their biggest hits and the roof of Minutemaid Park opened up. The whoosh of cool night air into the facility was legitimate treat. The night ended with an extended fireworks show that almost certainly permanently damaged my hearing. I'm telling you: Media Night. Mars. 2020.

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