By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
ST. PAUL, Minn. (CBS) — Super Bowl Opening Night has come and gone, and the annual spetacle was about what you’d expect it to be. There were some classic goofs, with J.B. Smoove and Guillermo from The Jimmy Kimmel Show running around, there was plenty of football talk, and plenty of whatever lies between.
We covered a bunch of stories already, like Tom Brady’s desire for a radio host to not be fired, Brady not being ready for a thumb war with Willie McGinest, Bill Belichick wearing his late father’s sweet hat, Belichick dropping the mic on a well-meaning reporter, Belichick clarifying the pronunciation of his last name, and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie heaping praise upon Brady and Belichick.
But there was much more taking place on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center, and what kind of friend would I be if I kept it all to myself without sharing? Let’s get to as much as we can here.
–Some reporters wanted to know what “The Patriot Way” is. They might have asked the wrong people. James Harrison has been on the team for about a month, so when he was asked what the “Patriot Way” means, he didn’t really have an answer.
“I don’t know what the Patriot Way exactly is, what you’re talking about, because I’ve always been my way. I’m a hard worker,” the 39-year-old Harrison said. “I’ve never been given anything. So for me to grind day in and day out, that’s nothing new.”
With the newest Patriot on the record, why not ask the man who basically created the mantra itself nearly 20 years ago?
“I don’t know,” Belichick said. “I don’t know what that means.”
All right, then.
–Speaking of Harrison, I had to ask him a question that’s been bugging me for two weeks now: Was he working out at a Planet Fitness????
For those who aren’t aware, Planet Fitness is famously known as The Judgment Free Zone. It’s a place that doesn’t have any benches and looks down upon power lifters who grunt and drop weights. They even have a lunk alarm in case anyone gets a little too into their workout.
And for anyone who doesn’t know, Harrison is a power lifter’s power lifter. His Instagram feed is filled with him lifting every single weight in the gym, all year round, while wearing a baggy sweatsuit and dropping 15 pounds of water weight every day. Here he is casually putting up 365 without a spotter:
So when he posted a video on Instagram that appeared to show him doing cardio in front of the signature purple paint of Planet Fitness …
… I had to get to the bottom of it. Here’s how the investigative reporting process played out.
Me: You posted a video a couple of weeks ago … were you working out at a Planet Fitness?
Me: No? It looked like it. It was purple in the background. You said something like, ‘it doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you’re–‘
Harrison: “I don’t know. I ain’t gonna lie. … It’s a possibility.”
Me: Because I saw that and I was thinking, that place doesn’t have enough weights for you.
Harrison: “I didn’t lift weights, I don’t think.”
Harrison: “It had to have been cardio. It was in Massachusetts somewhere?”
Me: Yeah it was a day after a game.
Harrison: “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Me: No lifting though, right?
Harrison: “They didn’t have free weights, I think.”
Me: That’s why it was surprising.
Harrison: “Yeah, yeah.”
So there you go. He wanted to say no, but we have gotten to the bottom of it. (I bet you 15 American dollars that no gym employee would dare pull the lunk alarm on Harrison.)
–It was definitely the coldest Super Bowl Opening Night/Media Day of all time. It took place in the home of the Minnesota Wild, and as it turns out, a hockey rink in Minnesota in late January can get a little drafty!
–Brandin Cooks is just 24 years old, yet he has caught 280 passes for 3,943 yards and 27 touchdowns. He’s been incredible, and it certainly hasn’t hurt that his quarterbacks thus far have been future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and then the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady.
I asked a really good question: “You ever think about, like, just having Drew Brees and Tom Brady as your quarterbacks so far?”
Wow. He was stunned. After collecting himself from the shock, he answered appropriately: “It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing. Yeah.”
–It probably says a lot about the general respect level for Dante Scarnecchia that folks lined up in a neat and tidy queue to talk to him. Most of the players and coaches speaking to the media get swarmed by reporters wild animals around raw meat. But Scarnecchia calmly stood on the floor, hands behind his back, answering questions in a 1-on-1 setting on what was an otherwise disorderly and somewhat chaotic evening.
–Rob Gronkowski’s absence was felt pretty significantly. On a distinctly goofy night, the world needed the goofy tight end to add some star power and fun.
–If you know anyone who asked Tom Brady a question, give him or her a pat on the back. Navigating through that tangled web of cameras and tripods to even get in Brady’s zip code required a special set of ninja skills.
–Brady dressed like a bank robber, by the way. Are the gloves just a troll job at this point?
I don’t really get it. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? (What’s in the bag, though? Keeping that game jersey nice and safe, Tommy? What’s in the bag?!)
–I don’t know how much fans care about this particular angle, but the Eagles just don’t have a lot of juice, you know? It’s a team lacking in star power from a media perspective. I mean, they sent both offensive coordinator Frank Reich and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to podiums. (Usually it’s just the head coach and players.) Doug Pederson looked like he was wearing his Super Bowl pajamas:
Malcolm Jenkins is great to talk to, and Chris Long drew a big crowd on the floor, but overall there wasn’t a whole lot of buzz in the building as the Eagles roamed the arena. I think a lot of fans in attendance left early in the Eagles’ session, too.
–Speaking of the fans, there was a good representation of both Patriots fans and Eagles fans in the building, but they were overwhelmed by the presence of Vikings fans. They made sure to heartily boo the NFC champs when they took the stage, on account of the Eagles’ breaking those fans’ hearts last weekend in Philly.
–Monday night was definitely the goofiest of the media sessions, but there will be plenty of access for the rest of the week. The Patriots are available around midday on Tuesday, and then late in the day on Wednesday and Thursday. So there will be plenty of yapping to help fill the rest of the week as we all move slowly forward on this journey toward Super Bowl LII.