This will be the fifth time Around The NFL has been on hand to cover the madness of
Opening Night. If this will be your first time in attendance or watching on NFL Network, here's what you can expect to find at the floor of the SAP Center.
Players: This is important. The media gets one hour of time with each team. The star players and head coach from each squad will be seated in their own risers. Since all the players already drive BMWs, Mercedes and Maseratis, temporary ownership of your own riser is probably the biggest status symbol you can have in a locker room. If you don't have a riser, you are released into the general population with the media contingent. In New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII, they put special teams players for the Broncos and Seahawks in makeshift holding pens. It was from behind one of these pens that Marshawn Lynch told Deion he was "about that action, boss."
Journos: These are your block and tackle local beat guys, national reporters, broadcasters, columnists, celebrity "correspondents" and Chris Bermans. Feel free to tuck the Around The NFL team in with this varied crew. For many in this group, Opening Night is a veritable obstacle course. Try to get a few good quotes, don't split your head open tripping over a cable, file your stories and look ahead to more intimate team interactions to come. Survive and advance.
Oh, you'll also find a lot of local media from the host city. They are wild cards, which reminds me of a great Chris Wesseling Media Day tale from a couple years back. Take it away, Wess:
Former New York Mets pitcher Al Leiter is representative of the entitled mentality of local television personalities at Super Bowl Media Day. A handful of reporters huddled around Knowshon Moreno's booth at Super Bowl XLVIII, waiting their turn for a chance to interview the former Broncos running back. Cameraman in tow, Leiter elbowed his way to the front of the line, paid no heed to anyone in the vicinity and proceeded to monopolize Moreno's time. The entire process too often devolves into self-important media personalities with the manners of barnyard animals posing inane questions.
This is why we bring Wess to Media Day.
Foreign media: It's not Media Day without a large contingent of reporters and personalities from other countries. These are friendly and entertaining folk who tend to travel with props and ask long-winded questions that are difficult to understand. In my experience, players and coaches are quite patient with these visitors, which is nice. This woman is always, always, always prominently involved.
The Freaks: This is what put Media Day on the map. Mixed in with the players and media types will be humans of unknown origins and intentions who dress up in costumes and/or behave in a strange manner. Last year in Phoenix, a guy set up a stool and easel in the middle of everything and just started drawing people. One guy dressed up as a cyborg. Another walked around with a dozen Go-Pro cams affixed to his person. It's nuts.
Speaking of which, here are my Costume Power Rankings from last year. It was a big year for Barrel Boy. Hope we see him again.