TAMPA, Fla. - When it comes to Super Bowl Media Day, at least one player wishes it would all go away. Trouble is, he's one of the players most in demand.
Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald hates the Super Bowl's six-hour pregame show, the hype, the warm-ups, everything, ESPN.com reported Tuesday. Fitzgerald just wants to play.
"I like to show up late," Fitzgerald said. "I hate the pregame. I hate all that stuff. If I could just show up and play, that'd be great. To be the last one there and the first one out would be a dream come true."
But that would take away all the Super Bowl week festivities, including Tuesday's Media Day, an event always brings thousands of media members, all in search of a story. According to multiple reports, the media throng isn't nearly as overwhelming in recent years, which most have chalked up to the flagging economy. Still, the whole thing can be interesting.
In past years, questions have ranged from "Does it seem a little strange answering football questions in a baseball stadium (posed to Cowboys quarterback Tory Aikman before Super Bowl XXVII) to "What is your purpose in life?" (Patriots QB Tom Brady, XLII) to "Is it your mother who's blind, and your father who's deaf, or the other way around?" (Raiders QB Jim Plunkett, XV).
This year, the Cardinals and Steelers have their turns.
A typical example? Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu was barraged by a reporter about his long hair, which sticks out of his helmet when he plays. Why have it so long?
"Why? I don't know why. Why do you wear your hair short?" he said, laughing. "I do it for all the bald men above 40."
Massive Steelers long snapper Jared Retkofsky had a tougher time with professional dancer Renee Sapp than he is likely to encounter in Sunday’s game.
“Man, that was awful,” Retkofsky said following his rather rocky salsa lesson. “I kept telling them I can’t do this. They kept telling me I could do it. I just made a fool of myself. I hope I have a better time Sunday."
Sapp was elated about her day.
"I didn’t know what to expect but the players were enthusiastic," she said. ”They did three moves and a dip. For big guys to move that that, they were great!"
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, a William & Mary alum, discussed philosophy. Well, at least defensive philosophies that he shares with Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
"Dick is a fundamentalist. I am a fundamentalist. His X's and O's are my Xs and Os. We are very similar. Dick makes the complex simple and the irregular regular. I subscribe to those same theories," he told ESPN.
Tomlin was even kind enough to share his favorite poet.
"I am a Frost guy," Tomlin said. "The guys look at me a little cross-eyed sometimes when I quote Frost, but oh, well. You can blame William & Mary for that."
Arizona's players had their media session first. One of the best early responses came from defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who has scored one touchdown in his five-year career.
"I can assure that if I get a touchdown, I will get a fine," Dockett told ESPN, alluding to what would be an excessive touchdown celebration.
He went further, describing his ideal Super Bowl as one where he scores, is named MVP, is awarded the Cadillac Escalade, goes to Disney World and then the White House where he would give "Obama a high-five" and then take the president out to "get a tattoo together," he told ESPN.
Dockett's teammate, quarterback Kurt Warner, was a little more grounded.
Warner is making his third Super Bowl appearance, having played in XXXIV and XXXVI with the Rams. He just wants his teammates to relish the experience.
“The parties will come and go,” Warner said, “but being a part of history is something that’s special. I hope that guys embrace that.”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a simple approach to the Media Day nutiness. Stay calm.
"You get all kinds of crazy questions," he said. "You just have to roll with it."
Roethlisberger still planned on enjoying the spectacle, though. He brought his camcorder with him.
"I got a lot of footage and video stuff. It's gonna be to fun to put it all on the computer when I get home."