ESPN.com: Live at Media Day
HOUSTON -- ESPN.com provided live, end-to-end coverage of Media Day on Tuesday, highlighting all the important happenings inside Reliant Stadium -- from caped crusaders to silly questions to Christina Aguilera's biggest fan.
Our reporters spoke to key Super Bowl players and got answers to users' questions during the one-hour sessions for the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers respectively.
In case you missed it, here's an in-depth account of both teams' appearance in front of the media's most intense spotlight.
Well, Media Day has officially begun! The Patriots are at the podiums, taking questions. Our crew is on site and ready for some updates, so try to keep up with us as we try to keep you informed.
10:10 a.m. ET
So far, of the players at the podiums, the smallest crowd for a Patriots player seems to be for Richard Seymour, who is "crowded" by five reporters, compared to Tom Brady, who is stationed next to him with a line of reporters that's about 10 across and seven deep.
10:15 a.m. ET
Even some current and former NFL players -- Booger McFarland, Warren Moon and Jamal Anderson -- have been sighted inside Reliant, asking the players questions just like the rest of the media. But Anderson is doing more schmoozing than reporting at the moment. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" -- well, not Jay, but someone from the show -- is also on hand, working the area.
10:16 a.m. ET
Guess who's getting a whole lot of attention at the moment? Larry Izzo, special teams extraordinaire. There are about 20 reporters around him. In fact, Belichick could get jealous -- Izzo has more people asking him questions than the coach.
10:16 a.m. ET
OK, we'll give Belichick a break; Izzo went to school at nearby Rice. The local media can sure add up.
10:20 a.m. ET
One of our reporters spoke to Kliff Kingsbury, whom the Patriots drafted last year out of Texas Tech. When asked about Media Day, he said, "It's wild, man, I don't know how Tom Brady does it."
10:22 a.m. ET
Moon was just interviewed by a guy who is dressed up like Robin -- as in Batman and Robin. He works for Nickelodeon, but he didn't ask him any goofy questions. Our own "Cold Pizza" is speaking to him now.
10:25 a.m. ET
Nickelodeon also has someone named Pick Boy, who is dressed up like a superhero with an orange and green cape, black tights and a black mask. He's asking silly questions. He asked Seymour, "Who would you like to tackle more, Celine Dion or Clay Aiken?" And the question left Seymour temporaily speechless. When he finally responded, he said, "I guess Celine."
A lot of questions are getting questions about their 14-game win streak. And Willie McGinest just said, "What difference does a streak make if you lose? Who cares? Our goal is much bigger than a streak."
10:27 a.m. ET
Here's a first: One of the big shocks is that Pats owner Robert Kraft has a media podium, too. You never see an owner with his own Media Day podium. He was asked the nature of his relationship with Belichick: "We talk everyday," said Kraft, who said he's had the coach over his house for dinner. "We have a personal relationship as well as a professional relationship."
10:29 a.m. ET
Brady is taking a lot of personal questions. He was asked who he was dating, and he said, "This week, the training room." He said he enjoyed politics in college, but right now he says he's focused on being the best quarterback he can be. Good call, Tom. Stick to football.
10:31 a.m. ET
By the way, the stadium roof is closed, and it's a bit chilly, especially after the warmth of the last few days.
And remember that guy dressed up like Robin? Now asking little-known players to show him their touchdown dance.
10:32 a.m. ET
Belichick is answering a lot of questions about Brady's development, so Brady's the big star at this end of the field, too. Belichick says the AFC team he compares Carolina to is the Miami Dolphins. He says both teams have similar athletic fronts on the defensive side.
10:44 a.m. ET
Warren Sapp has commanded the attention now. He has a crowd following him. Now he's getting ready to interview Belichick. He's reporting for The NFL Network, but he has a deal with the Jordan brand so he's wearing Jordan clothes. Meanwhile, the NFL has a deal with Reebok. Hmmm -- that could ruffle some feathers.
10:47 a.m. ET
While we're waiting to hear about what Sapp may ask the coach, here's a question for Belichick from Justin in Anchorage, Alaska: "How do you manage today's players when there is such a 'get mine' mentality to play in your 'system over star' style of play?"
Belichick: I can't speak to situations with other teams, but when we evaluate players, we try to look at their mentality. We try to project the chemistry and how that player might fit in if we brought them in. That's all part of the process. You have to think about how that player will interact with other players and the position coaches and everyone on your football team.
It's important that you look at ALL of your players and how they fit together as a team. ... Our players have been good, solid players for me all year. We have had no problems, and they try to prepare the way we ask them to prepare.
|“||I'm only worried about the Carolina Panthers. Things like that go in one ear and out the other. ”|
|— Patriots OG Russ Hochstein, regarding critical comments Warren Sapp made about him.|
10:52 a.m. ET
Here's a question rookie safety Eugene Wilson from Jacob Ritter of Yarmouth: "What did you originally think when they told you they were moving you to safety and are you surprised by how successful you've been?"
Wilson: Coming in as a rookie, it's a dream come true to be able to contribute. I'm glad I was able to make a difference on the field and to be able to grasp the system. It's been a great opportunity playing with Ty Law.
10:55 a.m. ET
Patriots guard Russ Hochstein, the subject of some critical comments from Warren Sapp, answered a question from Ricky in Fall River: "What do you think about what Warren Sapp had to say about you?"
Hochstein: "I'm only worried about the Carolina Panthers. Things like that go in one ear and out the other."
Earlier, Hochstein said Sapp walked by and said hello, but he didn't want recount if there was any type of conversation between the two.
10:56 a.m. ET
Belichick on having two weeks to prepare and how much film he will watch:
"It depends on the situation. Two years ago when we played St. Louis, and we only had one week, we had played St. Louis in late November, so we'd watched all their games up to November at that point and for the Super Bowl, we just watched the games they'd played since our November game. So, we did get the chance to see all their games.
"We haven't played Carolina this year, so this (extra week) gives us the chance to see all their games. The time gives you the opportunity to see everything they've done, and I'm sure they'll see everything we've done, too."
10:58 a.m. ET
Former 49ers and Panthers safety Merton Hanks has been spotted. Now, instead of making plays and doing "The Funky Chicken" dance, he's working as part of the NFL staff.
11 a.m. ET
Linebacker Ted Johnson grew up in Houston, and his dad has a restaurant here. We asked him about strange and unusual ticket requests, and he said his best friend from elementary school he has heard from in 20 years popped up at his dad's restaurant looking for tickets. And then another guy asked his dad for two tickets. And if he got them, he would allow the family usage of his house during the Super Bowl. Hey, guys -- try sending a Christmas card every year first.
Johnson was also asked what he thought about Reliant, and he said, "You have state of the art, and then you have this place," alluding to how incredible it is.
11:02 a.m. ET
There's been a Larry Fitzgerald sighting. No, not THAT Fitzgerald, the receiver from Pittsburgh who is arguably the best player available in April's NFL draft, but close. It's his father, Larry Sr., who is covering the Super Bowl as sports editor for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.
11:05 a.m. ET
As the Patriots' session was wrapping up, the crowd around Brady remained a full-fledged throng. He had a row of a dozen cameramen right in front of him.
And Lauren Bush -- the president's niece -- is doing standup reports here for Entertainment Tonight.
11:10 a.m. ET
Here's a nugget from one of our intrepid reporters: The players don't get new jerseys for the Super Bowl. The league just sews on a patch. So the players are just in their beat-up jerseys -- nothing new.
Summing up the scene so far, there seems to be less media here than in past years. It could be just the expansive area withtin the stadium that makes it look like a smaller gathering. But the scene has been more relaxed, with no outrageous personalities. But Media Day isn't over yet. We still have the Panthers to hear from at 1 p.m. ET.
1:04 p.m. ET
Here we go -- the Panthers have just stepped to the podiums for the first time.
1:09 p.m. ET
Seems Jake Delhomme, as he begins answering questions, has adjusted to the Media Day scene quite well so far -- as seamlessly as his transformation from perennial third-stringer to Super Bowl starter. Well, almost.
Pick Boy of Nickelodeon, who's winning the stupidest question competition so far, asked Kris Jenkins the same question he asked Richard Seymour in the last session: "Who would you rather tackle, Celine Dion or Clay Aiken?" Jenkins looked at him rather funny and said, "Celine Dion. I would rather tackle a female."
Now Pick Boy is acting crazy around Rod "He Hate Me" Smart and Jarrod Cooper. He is running around in circles, jumping up and down. Cooper just yelled out, "Security! Security!"
1:17 p.m. ET
We have a question from Justin of Rapid City for Panthers defensive end Mike Rucker: "Do you feel that you can cause disruption in the Patriot backfield, even with the short quick passing game of the Pats?"
Rucker: Justin, that's hard to do. You've got to get your hands up because the ball is coming so fast, so you have to try and knock it down.
1:20 p.m. ET
Here's a gem about defensive tackle Brentson Buckner: He just said he's wearing $200,000 worth of jewelry. The watch on his left hand alone is worth $100,000, and he borrowed it from a jeweler in Atlanta. He is also wearing earrings and a silver chain.
1:24 p.m. ET
Perhaps the defensive linemen are trying to one-up each other in the "bling" department. Julius Peppers is wearing a diamond-encrusted watch, a diamond bracelet and a sparkling diamond-sized stud in one ear. Hunter of Seattle asked him how the hype at the Super Bowl compared to the hype at the Final Four.
Peppers: This is a lot more. Much bigger. It's the same kind of media blitz, with a lot more people. I've said that this is the biggest game in sports. The Final Four is huge, but it doesn't compare to this. ... Growing up as a kid, it was my dream to play in this game, plus the (NBA) Finals and the Final Four. I dreamt of it all.
1:33 p.m. ET
Someone asked running back Stephen Davis if it was good or bad if they are the underdogs. Davis said, "A lot of people didn't expect us to be here. We're here. And I guess they'll have to deal with it." Take that.
1:44 p.m. ET
Pick Boy is at it again, trying to use his, uh, superhero powers to steal the spotlight. He just said to Davis, "Pick Boy is to hair gel what Stephen Davis is to ..." Davis paused and didn't know what to say, so Pick Boy said, "kicking butt." And Davis, smiling, said, "Exactly."
1:48 p.m. ET
st Rookie cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. just picked off a question from Keith of Center Moriches, N.Y.: Do you think that the Panthers secondary can effectively contain the Patriots potent passing attack?
Manning: You mix it up. You press a little. You play off (coverage) some. You've got to keep the QB and the receivers guessing. If they throw a short pass, and we're in a Cover 2, it could end up going the other way for a TD.
|“||Christina Aguilera, I love you! If Christina calls me, I'll give her all the tickets she wants -- damn, she'll have sideline passes. ”|
|— Panthers S Jarrod Cooper|
1:51 p.m. ET
Delhomme just said his craziest job was cleaning stalls, and it wasn't really a job because he didn't get paid for it. Shhh -- Jake, we won't tell that to the Panthers brass when you're negotiating your next deal.
1:57 p.m. ET
With seven minutes left on the clock, a reporter said to Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who doesn't like interviews, "I know this is not your most favorite thing to do," and he replied, "I figured we just got a few more minutes of this." Hang on, Jerry, it's almost over.
1:59 p.m. ET
Andrew of Oceanside had a question for backup QB Rodney Peete: Are you happy to be at the Super Bowl, even though you aren't starting? Do you plan to retire after the season, if not do you plan to stay with the Panthers?
Peete: I'm still enjoying it. Of course, I would like to be playing, but it doesn't take away from the experience. In terms of retiring, I haven't had time to think about it. I don't know what I'll be doing next year. Heck, I don't know what I'll be doing two weeks from now.
2 p.m. ET
Warren Sapp made a bee-line to the corner of the stadium, where he looked over at some Panthers players and said, "Where's your podium? Three interceptions in the championship game, and you don't even get a podium?" Of course, he was talking to Manning.
2:05 p.m. ET
Safety Jarrod Cooper just made a late run to become the star of Media Day. When someone mentioned if the rumors were true that he was dating pop star Christina Aguilera, he said, "I'm trying to meet her. Christina Aguilera, I love you! If Christina calls me, I'll give her all the tickets she wants -- damn, she'll have sideline passes."
When our reporter asked, "Don't you have a girlfriend named Christina?" and Cooper said, "I have a couple girlfriends named Christina."
When asked if he was enjoying the day, Cooper said, "I have to enjoy this. I'll be dead soon."
Then he ended with a rant on the "1½" star hotel he says the Panthers are staying in. "We're not here to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. We're hear to win a football game."
2:08 p.m. ET
By the way, Cooper had been holding court for a flock of reporters that included cameras from MTV and Spike TV. Cooper screamed, "I want my own reality show! That's what I want -- Reality TV!"
Cooper, whose best friend on the team is former XFL star Rod "He Hate Me" Smart, says his nickname is "They Love Me."
After responses like that, I know we do.
2:10 p.m. ET
That's a wrap from Houston. After two hours of questions, sightings, Pick Boy and -- finally -- hanging with Mr. Cooper, Media Day is over for another year. And now, let the game begin -- please.