PHOENIX (CBS) — It’s been nine days since the Patriots played a football game, and five long days remain before they play again. This startling, treacherous, unsettling gap between football games is just too painful for most to bear … so much like press conferences called by Bill Belichick on Saturday and Robert Kraft on Monday, I’m calling for an impromptu Leftover Patriots Thoughts: Media Day Edition.
My first thought after experiencing my first Media Day is this: holy moly.
I went in expecting a zoo, and a zoo I did get. It more than exceeded my expectations of chaos, thanks in large part to the small space inside US Airways Center. Perhaps influenced by last year’s Media Day inside the Prudential Center, the NFL held this year’s event inside the home of the Phoenix Suns instead of on the field in Glendale.
And it was packed … like … really, really, really packed.
Like, this packed:
So while it probably made for some great TV, the reality is it was likely a lot easier to digest the players’ words while watching on TV than it was on site. But it still made for some memories, so before they are forgotten, here we go:
–Tom Brady, obviously, drew the largest crowd for the Patriots. Everybody wants to talk to the Golden Boy. For the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch drew the largest crowd, though very briefly, while Richard Sherman was the second-most popular kid in class. Quarterback Russell Wilson had the third-largest crowd, based on the bulletproof measuring technique of guesstimating with my eyes.
–Bill Belichick was relaxed as can be, sitting back, calmly fielding questions for his 60 minutes at his podium. It’s obviously been a very busy and exhausting week for him, but if any lingering frustration from “DeflateGate” persists, he’s doing a great job of hiding it.
And really, how frustrated can you be when you’re wearing flip-flops in January?
–Nobody had a better look than Julian Edelman. The beard is nothing new, but it appears as though mustache wax has made its way into his grooming life.
After seeing that, I instantly put in a prop bet for the Super Bowl: Will Julian Edelman dastardly tie an innocent person to the train tracks before planting a bomb in the abandoned factory? Yes -100, No +300.
It won’t pay much, but I had to go with a Yes. It’s just obvious at this point.
–Edelman also had a pretty great response when he was asked to give advice to kids who want to play in the NFL.
“My advice to kids that want to be a great football player is that you’ve got to be well-rounded,” Edelman said. “There’s a lot of stories people don’t know of the kid that didn’t make it because he didn’t necessarily do good enough in school, and he got distracted with other things. So if you can be well-rounded and take care of your schoolwork, and you go out and you listen to the people that are guiding you, whether it’s your parents or your mentors or all that kind of stuff, that’s really what helps you. And that’s what I was fortunate enough to have, was a family that was behind me, that hounded me about school, how to treat people, all that kind of stuff. So that’s what I would say.”
OK, fine. He’s not so dastardly after all.
–Rich Shertenlieb from Toucher & Rich is the king of Super Bowl Media Day. What he and Fred Toucher put together three years ago was magic, and Rich was back at it again on Tuesday. Rich got Rob Gronkowski to read the “spike the football on some butt cheeks” passage from the erotic novel “A Gronking To Remember,” and he also landed in the good graces of Bill Belichick, thanks to a handful of questions related to Jon Bon Jovi.
I’m going to suggest that you listen to Toucher & Rich on Wednesday morning. It’ll likely be a real hootenanny.
–Aside from the obvious chuckling that followed his reading aloud the words “butt cheeks,” I thought Rob Gronkowski was pretty mature at the podium. He’s healthy, unlike last time he played in the Super Bowl, and you could see that he’s much more excited for the game than he was about Media Day.
–My own personal highlight came when I passed J.B. Smoove for the umpteenth time and finally stopped him to tell him that he is hysterical. He gave me a hug and thanked me. So now I’m basically best friends with the man who played one of the most unbelievably hilarious characters in television history. What a day.
–One thing that struck me as odd here in Arizona is that a number of Super Bowl banners displayed around the area feature Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and … Dont’a Hightower. I found that curious.
So I (patiently waited through a series of dumb questions that were dumb because they weren’t mine and then) asked Hightower what that feels like.
“I didn’t even see that until today, and it really means a lot,” Hightower said. “I appreciate it. Those are great players, there are great players that are playing in this game, so I’m not going to amp it up or look too much into it. I’m just going to go out there and play my game. Hopefully we come out with a ‘W.'”
Think the family might get a picture of a massive banner?
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I’ve already sent it.”
–There were a lot of fans in attendance. I would estimate the number was a few thousand. And that meant there were a lot of Seattle fans there. And Seattle fans love to make noise, so they worked themselves up into a lather a number of times by screaming “SEA …. HAWKS!” Which is fine and all, but, you know, trying to listen to what the players are saying down here.
–I was unable to make it into the same zip code as Marshawn Lynch, but it seems as though I didn’t miss much. What I did see from him was pretty different from what played out on TV. An NFL Network personality (I didn’t know who) called for Lynch’s attention as the running back made his way over to his podium. Lynch stopped dead in his tracks, gave the guy a hug and then chatted for a bit, saying he’d do an interview with him. I don’t think that interview transpired, but it was certainly a different Lynch from the one that repeated the same thing over and over again just minutes later.
–Look, NFL, I’m not going to narc on you here, but I mean … are you above fire safety codes?
I feel lucky to have made it out alive.