GLENDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - Talk of New England quarterback Tom Brady’s delicate ankle took a back seat on Tuesday to discussions about favorite foods, recording artists and cheerleading demonstrations by hulking offensive linemen.
The annual Media Day at the Super Bowl brought out its usual cadre of entertainment reporters, ersatz journalists and peculiar people with motives known only to them.
How else can one explain a female Mexican television journalist interviewing players from both the New England Patriots and the New York Giants wearing a wedding dress with a plunging neckline and a veil?
Giants defensive lineman Michael Strahan said he was accustomed to the strange questions because he played in New York.
Amid the carnival-like atmosphere at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the seven-times All-Pro said the only thing missing was the underwear-wearing Manhattan icon ‘The Naked Cowboy’.
“This is like walking down Broadway,” Strahan said with a laugh. “This is no big deal. Where’s the Naked Cowboy? Is he out here strumming a guitar in some tighty-whitey shorts?”
When told that the wedding dress-clad journalist was going to propose, Strahan, whose marital problems are well-documented, quipped: “She knows my history. She’s going to leave me alone.”
Tuesday’s media extravaganza provided the final opportunity for journalists to ask off-the-cuff questions to the Giants and the Patriots prior to Sunday’s championship game.
From Wednesday, only serious questions will be entertained.
Giants running back Reuben Droughns was brave enough to answer trivia questions while holding two spikes connected to a portable battery. When he answered wrong, he received a shock.
“This is letting me know right now I‘m in the Super Bowl,” he said after taking on several mild shocks.
“I didn’t feel last week, that I was really in the Super Bowl. With this atmosphere, I‘m know I‘m here.”
A record 4,786 journalists were credentialed for the game and a good number asked the absurd of Patriots and Giants.
With four Super Bowl appearances in the last seven years, New England players were clearly more accustomed to the hilarity of Media Day. The Giants, without an appearance since 2001, were the greater targets.
Country singer Kellie Pickler, working for the late-night television program “The Tonight Show”, gave 6ft-5in, 300-pound Giants guard Adam Koets a cheerleading lesson with silver pom-pons.
The former “American Idol” contestant then tried to get New York quarterback Eli Manning to sing.
“I will not put myself or any of these people here under that much torture,” he said.
He did mention that he preferred Wendy’s to other fast-food chains and enjoyed listening to Tom Petty.
Several players, dressed in their uniforms without the pads, received lessons on how to walk the red carpet by a model from the TV program “Deal or No Deal”.
Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas said he did not mind the antics and answering the silly questions.
“You guys (the media) have a job to do. You’re the link between us and the fans. You’re here for a reason and I‘m willing to accept these questions every year. It’s all fun.”
Editing by John O'Brien