On the day they call Super Bowl Media Day, everybody tries to be a star.
Guys with microphones. Women with microphones and leather pants.
Backup linemen, quoting Descartes.
Dudes in costumes, like the TV gentleman from Denmark who donned Where’s Waldo attire — I found him — and the Austrian anchorman who was rocking, what else, an Amadeus Mozart suit. And in the middle of all this serious … journalism? … this annual three-ring confluence of reportage, there again Tuesday, fresh from the trough of public-funded education, was the massive ego known as Deion Sanders.
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Deion is no journalist, but he occasionally plays one on TV.
How does he do it? The same way he played cornerback. He cheats. He poaches in the neutral zone. He carries a microphone that reads “NFL Network.”
So while all of us “serious” newsmen squeeze up against the barricades and police tape, hoping we can get Russell Wilson to answer our shouted questions, Deion puts his arm around the player, plays the faux sincerity card, and beguiles the quarterback with some banality about the Cover-2 Zone.
Which is sorta how the man who named himself Prime Time trumped the entire throng of amassed media Tuesday and scored the day’s most fascinating interview: Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.
See Lynch run. See Lynch break tackles. See Lynch dash for the end zone and break the playoff hearts of the 49ers and Saints.
The one thing, however, that you won’t see or hear Marshawn Lynch do, it seems, is be cooperative with the media.
Or as Lynch told Sanders verbatim at Media Day, “Ain’t never seen no talkin’ win me nothin’.
“Been like that since I was little. Was raised like that.”
Lynch’s recalcitrance with the media is well-documented. His silence earned him a reported $50,000 fine from the NFL, although supposedly he could erase the fine — and save himself a double-down postseason penalty of $100,000 — by showing up Tuesday and playing along.
He did, and yet he didn’t. And let us blame both the league and the Seattle Seahawks for that.
The Seahawks made the cowardly decision not to assign star running back Lynch to one of the Media Day podiums, where he would have had to speak into a microphone and where it would have been difficult for him to bail out early without stiff-arming the Mozart guy.
Instead, Lynch appeared — behind dark glasses and a hoodie — in a barricaded area with the offensive linemen and “talked” for all of 6 1/2 minutes, instead of the full hour that he was supposed to.
We threw the virtual challenge flag, but after further review the NFL said that the ruling on the field stood and Lynch, just by being there for 6 1/2 mostly unusable minutes, fulfilled his Super Bowl Media Day obligation.
A pretty weak ruling, if you ask me.
So what did he think of all this Super Bowl media stuff, Lynch was asked?
“Man, I appreciate this,” he said. “This is love right here, straight up. They came to watch people get interviewed? This is amazing right here, man.”
Did he like all the attention?
“Nope,” Lynch said. “I’m just about action. You say, ‘hut,’ and there’s action. All the unnecessary talk, it don’t do anything for me. I appreciate that people want to hear from me, but I just go to work and do my thing. You feel me?”
Well, yes and no. The NFL wants newspapers and networks to send reporters to the Super Bowl from far-flung places like Texas and Denmark. And since the days of the silent Duane Thomas, the league expects the players to cooperate in promoting the big game.
You feel me, Marshawn?
Not Tuesday, evidently.
Lynch did his 6 1/2 minutes and went to a neutral corner, where Sanders found him and closed in on him with all his creepy Primeness.
“You kinda shy?” Prime Time Deion asked.
“No, I’m just ’bout that action, boss,” Lynch answered.
“Go get it. Don’t need to talk about it.”
Realizing that he wasn’t getting any Mike Wallace-type quotes, Sanders resorted to stroking Lynch’s self-indulgence.
“We all love your game,” Deion assured him.
“That’s big time,” Lynch answered. “Beast mode. Love and appreciate that.”
It was all pretty weak stuff, but score one for Sanders, who was always about style rather than substance.
On Media Day, style works. The guy in the Waldo suit told me that.