Super Bowl Media Day gives fans their chances to find out anything and everything about their heroes as they prepare for the big game on Sunday.
The players are at the media’s mercy, but they get it. It’s about dealing with the usual football-related questions and avoiding the banana peels to not provide any added motivational material for the opposition.
The players touched on the usual material such as matchups, the occasion, the weather, and anything unique to themselves.
Denver receiver Wes Welker, who has caught balls from both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, spoke about what he’s observed about the vaunted Seattle secondary that was the NFL’s best.
“They do a great job of really getting to the football. They have a lot of athletic guys with great instincts,” Welker said.
The other aspect that could play an important factor is how lenient the officials are with Seattle’s physical secondary.
“I think there’s always that mindset that they [officials] can’t call everything,” Welker said. “So, the main thing is going out there and playing the best you can and we’ll see how the game is called early on and see how they’re playing it, and try to be physical ourselves.”
Much has been made of the matchup between Seattle’s top cornerback Richard Sherman and Denver’s top wide threat Demaryius Thomas.
“It will be a physical matchup because we’re both competitors,” Thomas said. “If it happens to be me and him going against each other, it will probably be one of the best ever.” Thomas and Sherman are friends, having participated in a Nike camp together. Thomas was repeatedly asked about the Seattle defender’s “trash talking.”
“I don’t let trash talking bother me. I just go on with my game,” Thomas said.
But Thomas also gave us a glimpse at how the legendary Manning manages his troops.
“The main thing is that if he wants to yell at you, he’ll yell at you, but he tries to beat around the bush,” Thomas explained. “Say the route was a comeback and I run a go, he’ll ask me, ‘You had a comeback, right?’ And that’s when I say, ‘Yes.’ So he’ll ask a question, but he never really gets too mad at me.
“You’ve just got to know what you’re doing on the field and not mess up. He’ll tell you what you need to do and he’ll straighten you out. You’ll know how to make it right.”
Some special personal stories were also revealed as in the case of Broncos’ safety Mike Adams. Adams from nearby Paterson, New Jersey said he’d walk home after the Super Bowl—a distance of about 10 miles.
“It wasn’t always peaches and cream where I grew up. It was a challenge. It doesn’t make me afraid to walk the streets of Paterson. It doesn’t make me afraid to walk home or anything because I’m good over there, trust me,” Paterson said proudly.
“It was a tough neighborhood, but I don’t want to gear toward all of the negative things that’s going on in Paterson,” Adams said. Adams wanted to focus on giving back to his community. “I would rather talk about the positives that are going on, which is me going to the Super Bowl, me giving toy drives, coat drives, free haircuts.
“It means a lot because of how rough it is and how I grew up and how you had to get out of adversity to remain positive,” Adams said.
One of the most anticipated appearances—although not a certainty—was that of Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch. Let’s just say Lynch prefers to do his talking with his play on the field.
Lynch didn’t take a podium station like other players saying, “I like to keep it low key.”
“I’m just about action. You say ‘hut’ and there’s action. All the unnecessary talk, it don’t do nothing for me. I appreciate that people want to hear from me, but I just go to work and do my thing. You feel me?
“Man, I appreciate this. This is love right here, straight up. They came to watch people get interviewed? This is amazing right here, man,” Lynch said about the thousands of fans who had packed into the Prudential Center to see Media Day.
Much has been made about this year’s Super Bowl being the first one to be played outdoors in the cold. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson explained the one factor that concerns him.
“The biggest thing is the wind. Hopefully the wind isn’t too bad, so it should be a good game,” Wilson said.
Wilson, 25, also spoke about his counterpart Manning, 37, as one might expect. Wilson expressed his appreciation for all of Manning’s achievements but he also pointed out an experience from his youth.
“I have memories of being in tenth grade and going to his passing academy and learning from him,” Wilson said.
Wide receiver Golden Tate also commented on the wind at MetLife Stadium being a problem.
“When you throw a deep ball, the ball moves and sometimes the wind pushes it down or pushes it forward so you really have to focus on and really have a good touch,” Tate said.
And last but not least, Manning’s response about his legacy and the inevitable retirement showed why he has made a name for himself in humorous commercials and Saturday Night Live.
“I’ve been asked about my legacy since I was 25 years old, which I’m not sure you can have a legacy when you are 25 years old, or even 37. I thought you had to be 70 to have a legacy. I’m not 100 percent sure what the word even means. I’m down the homestretch of my career, but I’m still in it,” Manning said.
Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETSports