Here’s a basic list of Super Bowl 49 related storylines, best I can tell:
- DeflateGate / adults making “ball” jokes in their nightly reports
- Tom Brady tries to tie Joe Montana
- The Seahawks try to establish themselves as a dynastic team
- The liberal center of New England meets the liberal center of the Pacific Northwest
- Rob Gronkowski vs. The Legion of Boom
- Marshawn Lynch is a thug who won’t answer questions and grabs his crotch, but boy can he run.
In case you missed it, here’s Marshawn Lynch at Media Day:
“I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” in response to every single question.
NFL players liked it:
The media did not:
This is fucking stupid.
I worked in sports for a long time. I wrote some articles. Once in a while, I shoved cameras and mics in front of people. I wasn’t famous (or any good), but I did it. I know the drill.
99 percent of the shit people say back to you is hugely generic, especially in structured media settings. Maybe if you’re doing a long-form feature where the buy-in was established beforehand with the player, an agent, the team’s PR, etc… sure. But in a press conference setting? No.
Let’s run a little test.
Here’s a Titans-Jaguars recap from ESPN.com in October — two of the worst teams in the NFL. Here’s a quote from it:
“Huge,” Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said. “We’ve been fighting for a win for so long and to come out with a win like this, it’s kind of a bummer. But at the end of the day, a win is a win, and we fought to the end.”
At the end of the day … a win is a win … we fought to the end.
Now here’s a recap of the Pats-Ravens AFC Divisional game — a huge game. Here’s a quote:
“Behind twice by 14 wasn’t necessarily in the plan,” Brady said. “It took a lot of execution to overcome it.”
Lot of execution … to overcome it …
Regardless of the size or magnitude of the game, then, the quotes are almost always generic, cliched bullshit.
That’s why when you see stuff like Richard Sherman screaming at Erin Andrews, you sit up and take notice.
That’s real, legitimate emotion. It’s not trite buzzword bullshit. It’s so different that we notice.
There have been some funny things that’ve happened at Media Day over the years, sure — like the Tom Brady proposal and all that — but mostly it’s just generic, stupid, fluffy quotes about “the will to win” and “getting out there and executing.”
Marshawn Lynch is paid to play football, run for yards, and score touchdowns. Yes, dealing with the media is an aspect of that — but at the height of your game, leading to the Super Bowl, answering questions like “Does the Patriots’ D-Line scare you?” is just an exercise for the sake of the media horde.
He’s right to troll them, IMHO.
In every industry, the collision point tends to be old-school people (who believe in the “way things have always been”) and new-school people (who want to see some changes or a different approach). You’re seeing this all over the place right now with employee engagement ideas and what “millennials want from work.”
You see it in the media too — you’ve got these old bastard sportswriters out there talking about “duty” and “diligence” and “responsibility,” when their jobs primarily consist of flying to different stadiums and giggling like schoolchildren when athletes appear in front of them, and then you’ve got newer, younger people covering sports saying “Shit, this Marshawn Lynch thing is pretty funny.”
And if you ever wonder why Lynch doesn’t speak to the media — and if you assume it’s because he’s a “thug” or “disrespectful” because he’s black — well, read this:
Football is a team sport. Offensive skill position players get the glory and the press conferences and the cute blond women running up to them on the sideline, sure — but Tom Brady and Russell Wilson can stand back there slinging TDs without five guys in front of them, and those five guys only ever get mentioned if and when they totally fuck up.
So kudos to Marshawn Lynch for thumbing his nose at a pointless media exercise with a bunch of old grumpy dudes. I’m all for it.