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Put 2,000 journalists together with two Super Bowl teams and what do you get? Media madness

January 31, 2007

It's not just a championship football game, it's the Super Bowl -- its very title a bow to hype. And at no time is the hype more hyper than on each Tuesday before the big game, otherwise known as media day.

Nearly 2,000 sports journalists, producers, talk-show interviewers, C-list celebrities and various other attention-seekers lobbed questions to players ranging from Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts' star quarterback, to his backup, Jim ... what's his name? Anyway, here are some snippets from the scene at Dolphin Stadium in Miami:

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Made to order silliness

Five of the dumbest questions (we'll spare you the answers):

1. To Indianapolis tight end Ben Utecht: "Since you play for the Colts, are you going to win one for Barbaro?"

2. To Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher: "What exercises do you do to get such a tight butt and such big biceps?"

3. To Colts safety Bob Sanders: "What's it like to be 5-8 and 206 pounds and have what you do impact 5,000 pounds of other players on the field?"

4. To Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, courtesy of a couple of roaming rejects from "American Idol": "Can you please sing 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'?"

5. To Bears linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo: "Do you think it's OK for a man to give another man a massage?"

And then there was this exchange between a food reporter and Bears defensive end Alex Brown:

Food reporter: "Do you cook at home?"

Brown: "No."

Food reporter: "OK, what do you cook?"

--SAM FARMER

More stupid questions (with answers)

Bears quarterback Rex Grossman was asked if a movie was being filmed based on his life, who would he like to be in the starring role.

"George Clooney would be a good one," said Grossman, who also pondered Jake Gyllenhaal ("October Sky," "Brokeback Mountain") and Ryan Phillippe ("Crash," "I Know What You Did Last Summer") as possibilities.

Tillman was asked if he was a tree, what would he be.

"A bonsai," he said without hesitation, as if expecting the question.

-- STEVE GINSBURG,

Reuters

Buddy the Great

Ron Rivera is in charge of the Bears' defense, but back in 1986 he was a linebacker playing for Buddy Ryan, a defensive coordinator with plenty of swagger.

"The humor of it all was Buddy's confidence going into every game," Rivera recalled. "We got into the first postseason game versus the Giants and the first thing he told us was that if we didn't screw it up we would win the game, because he had put together a great game plan.

"For the second one, when we got ready for the NFC championship game [against the Los Angeles Rams], he said the same thing. 'If you guys don't screw it up, we will win.' Why? 'Because I'm a great defensive coordinator and I put a great plan together.' "

--SAM FARMER

Analyze this

Analyst Deion Sanders on quiet Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison: "He wants the adulation and the admiration and the notoriety of a [Terrell Owens], a Chad Johnson or some of these premier receivers in the league. But to have that, you've got to be camera-savvy. You've got to be friendly. You've got to be personable.

"You've got to go out of your way to accommodate the media."

Analyst Jamie Dukes on Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson facing question after question about his legal problems:

"I think you have a bunch of self-aggrandizing members of the media who are looking for some kind of a tabloid story."

-- SportsBusiness Daily

It's a snap

The Bears' Patrick Mannelly was asked how long he had been a long snapper.

Turns out, 18 years -- ever since he discovered as a 13-year-old that colleges and eventually the pros always have a place for players who have the ability to snap the ball perfectly between their legs.

Apparently, there are plenty more wannabe Patrick Mannellys out there too, because he gets two to three e-mails a week from aspiring snappers looking for guidance or a few encouraging words.

He explains his technique on his Web site LongSnapper.com, which welcomes visitors with the cheerful salutation, "Hello, long snappers and Bears fans!"

-- LES CARPENTER,

Washington Post

The invisible man

Twelve members of each team received the honor of conducting their interviews from booths. A few others had designated spots in the stands. And then there were the free roamers.

Tank Johnson and Jim Sorgi received the most attention among the roamers, and the interest in Johnson made sense.

Sorgi?

"I'm the guy that nobody wants to see play," he said.

Some Bears fans feel the same about Grossman. The difference is, Sorgi has never given Colts fans any reason -- other than throwing only 90 passes in three seasons as Manning's backup.

"It's the greatest job in the world until Peyton comes off the field, and you think his thumb might be broken, and there's three minutes left in the AFC championship game, and you're down three to New England, and you haven't taken a snap all year," Sorgi said.

"Yeah, it's a great job until that point, and then you're like, 'Man, this could either go really good or really bad.' "

Split allegiances

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