Jeff Pearlman

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Media Day

I’ve never attended Super Bowl Media Day, but I’ve covered enough big sporting events to know that, for someone who cares about journalism, it really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really sucks.

Media Day isn’t actually for journalists, or reporters. It’s for the boobs with press badges who LOVE football and LOVE the players and LOVE being able to ask Alex Smith two questions. If you work in the business long enough, you actually come to know more boobs than non-boobs. Or, put differently, for every one Tom Verducci or Howard Bryant or Grant Wahl, there are 1,000 people like this—handed a mic, a wacky nickname and a credential. This guy (I’m using him as a representative of all media boobs) knows nary a thing about reporting, or probing, or digging. He actually doesn’t want the lengthy one-on-one sitdown, because he wouldn’t know what to do with it. There’s comfort and security in numbers, and Media Day provides (if nothing else) numbers. It also provides free food, free trinkets, a free trip to New Orleans and—best of all—the chance to say to friends, “Yup, I covered the Super Bowl” and “I was talking to Gino Gradkowski the other day, and he told me …”

Back when I was a regular at the World Series, I loathed the whole scene. I loved baseball, loved the details and intricacies. But getting smacked in the skull with a camera? Having my interview with Reggie Sanders interrupted with “Reggie, what does this team have to do to pull it out …”? Watching Chris Berman and Stu Scott peacock around the infield? Sitting waaaaaaaaay in the back so the guy from Good Morning America can have his prime spot? Being brushed aside so the hottie from MTV can ask Tramaine Brock to list his five favorite types of donuts? No, thank you.

I’ll just stay home.

  • Patrick

    I’ve covered events where there were media in triple digits, and I share your sentiments. It’s frustrating sharing the event with media getting its first exposure to your beat. I’ve had my tape recorder knocked around by a prominent TV station with no apology so their mic flash could be seen. Worse yet is when an inappropriate question puts an awkward feel and consequently ends a press conference. Happens. Every. Single. Time.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life