Ed’s Take–Feb. 2, 2011

Having been fortunate to play in three Super Bowls, it’s always fascinating to me to watch the coverage each year of Media Day, and the circus surrounding it.

The misnomer of Media Day is in the fact that it’s not the only day the media have access to the teams. They have a media session every day you’re there. Media Day on Tuesday of Super Bowl week evolved out of the original Picture Day, and it takes place at the stadium. Other than that, it’s not unique—except for the zany characters from the non-sports media they let in.

It’s often said, though, that the team that embraces the hoopla and handles the spectacle best will prevail on game day. While talent and preparation will be the biggest factors, there’s some truth to that statement.

My first Media Day, with San Francisco in 1994, was uneventful. I sat in my assigned spot while the stars manned their podiums, and I don’t think one person came up and talked to me the whole hour.

Contrast that with the scene four years later, when our Broncos team was defending champs and favored to beat Atlanta. That was the year Shannon Sharpe and the Falcons’ Ray Buchanan got into a good-natured war of words that started with Buchanan wearing a dog collar to Media Day to play up their underdog status. I’ll just say this: You don’t get into a war of words with Shannon Sharpe and win. Trust me. Bad move.

The year before, when we were 13-point underdogs to Green Bay our challenge was to bite our tongues and follow Coach Shanahan’s orders to keep a low profile, when we were very confident we would win.

Even Shannon followed the script. We unleashed our pent-up energy on game day and let our play do the talking, and the rest is history.

Which team do you think will best handle the hype this year, Pittsburgh or Green Bay?