Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s flip-flops and hoodie shared the stage with Johnny Weir’s designer duds and a man wearing a barrel Tuesday as the NFL’s Super Bowl circus came to town.
Media Day, once a day for Super Bowl contenders to talk somewhat seriously about their upcoming title clash, has evolved into a destination — and an adventure destination at that, what with the step ladders, tripods microphone booms and selfie sticks being swung on the jam-packed floor of the US Airways Center — home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
Complete with emcees for a paying crowd in the stands, a brass band and a caricature artist, it wasn’t Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch’s kind of party at all.
Lynch, famous for his reluctance to meet the press, swaggered to his podium in plenty of time, but stayed less than five minutes, responding to all questions “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll laughed it off.
“It’s not frustrating,” Carroll said. “He’s just being who he is … It’s really not a burden to us.”
Plenty of players handled the hubbub with more aplomb.
Tom Brady, the Patriots’ smooth talking superstar quarterback who fielded Media Day marriage proposals back when he was the NFL’s most eligible bachelor, was asked about his marital status.
Happily hitched to supermodel Gisele Bundchen, thank you very much, said Brady, set to play in his sixth Super Bowl on Sunday.
“She’s at home taking care of the kids,” Brady said. “She’s going to be out this weekend.”
Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower was soaking it in.
“It’s crazy right now,” he said as he gazed at the melee. “Everybody is going one way and everybody else is going another.”
Weir and fellow figure-skater-turned television personality Tara Lipinski strode the green carpet in style, giving as many interviews as they conducted.
“We’re trying to bring fashion to football,” said Weir, whose red jacket coordinated with Lipinski’s traffic-stopping sheath dress.
“It’s fun,” said Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett, whose cowboy hat was a nod to his Texas roots. “To see everybody get in here and see how big a business the NFL is.
“You just enjoy the theatrics -â€“ people asking crazy questions that don’t pertain to football, but it’s all fun and games.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson spoke earnestly about faith.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski read briefly from “A Gronking to Remember” the erotic e-book published by a fan.
– Joe Pesci and puppets –
Belichick, who cast off the formal suit he wore on Monday for his more familiar hooded sweat shirt, held forth good-naturedly from his podium, neatly sidestepping questions about deflated footballs and discussing his taste in movies.
Belichick’s favorite movie starring Joe Pesci?
“Home Alone,” Belichick said. “Definitely Home Alone. No question about that.”
Belichick had an especially thoughtful answer for a youngster who asked him to name his favorite stuffed animal.
“A little puppet that you can kind of put your fingers in … it’s a little monkey and he can talk and move his fingers,” Belichick said.
Nowadays the whole show has a live audience, with thousands of fans paying $28.50 to sit in the stands, able to listen in on the players in the podiums via a radio head-set.
They got to hear Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork speak modestly of pulling a woman from an overturned car after the AFC championship game and Carroll dub cornerback Richard Sherman the team’s best dancer.
Mixed in with it all was some football talk, a few serious comments on Sunday’s game and from Gronkowski even a Super Bowl guarantee — albeit not quite of the caliber of Jets quarterback Joe Namath’s brash vow of victory in 1969.
“The game will be on Sunday,” Gronkowski pledged.