Media Day Musings

January 30th, 2009
Joe found out first-hand why Maria Menounos finds steady work in Hollywood.

Joe found out first-hand why Maria Menounos finds steady work in Hollywood.

As Joe pointed out previously, Media Day was a long one for him, beginning at 5 a.m. Joe didn’t get home until the wee hours Wednesday morning.

Part of the reason for the early wake up was Joe expected to fight for a parking spot downtown, which didn’t happen.

It gave Joe time to cruise through the Super Bowl Media Center at the Tampa Convention Center. Joe also described the “near-vacant” radio row, which really isn’t a row but a large ballroom. Of course, most of the country is still in bed at that time of the day so it stands to reason only a handful of radio stations were around. It was also early in the week, too.

Evidence as to how serious Pittsburgh takes its football, it seemed WDVE, the home station of the Steelers, had an entire staff there. About a third of the people in radio row were from WDVE, the other third from NFL Radio.

The bus to the CITS was leaving and Joe caught one of the last buses. Oddly enough, right in front of Joe getting onto the bus was Mike Florio of We chatted briefly — he seemed honored to meet Joe so Joe came to the quick conclusion Florio is a fine actor.

After getting off the bus Joe conducted a quick interview with Florio, which readers of have surely read by now.

Security was very much like getting through security at an airport on a Thanksgiving weekend, with the exception of dogs who were sniffing all the bags of equipment the fourth estate brought in.

Joe tried to get a photo of one of the German shepherds working. Let’s just say this attempt didn’t go over so well with security.

A few feet away Joe noticed Jerry O’Connell who is a big time sports fan and claims to be a regular reader of, for which Joe also writes. He was unbelievably cool. We chatted for roughly five minutes and O’Connell claimed it was his honor in meeting me (he also claims to read Joe’s screed on

O’Connell additionally tried to say he was impressed with Joe. And this coming from a man who sleeps in the same bed as Rebecca Romijn, if you can imagine such a thing!

Joe met up with Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune while waiting in the CITS concourse with the rest of the roughly 4,500 members of the media. The other Joe — which Joe of can’t say enough about for his help over the years — introduced Joe to other media scribes. Henderson said, “Get ready for the cattle call.” He was right.

Joe has covered some big time events before, including the 1996 National League playoffs and NLCS. But Media Day at the Super Bowl dwarfed those assignments.

First, NFL officials jammed everyone along the Bucs/west sidelines. There was barely enough room to breathe much less navigate.

Amid this mess was a Tampa dance troupe, tables set up for various live radio broadcasts, a set for NFL Network and temporary bleachers so photographers could get clear shots at various players who had assigned booths to sit in.

Joe also noticed something rather quickly: Whenever there was a cluster of TV cameras and photographers jumbled together in one spot, it meant either there was a stud player there, a hot babe or some weirdo, or all three.

Unlike the Cardinals who pretty much stayed in their assigned seats, most of the Steelers mingled with the media like it was Guavaween on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City. Of course, this created chaos as media members had to walk up and down the sideline to find various players in the sea of humanity.

But this was also cool as the Steelers seemed to be having as much if not more fun than the media covering them. It was very casual and many, if not all, were very down to earth.

Only because she wore sunglasses and a baggy green dress, Joe didn’t notice that Maria Menounos was working for the TV show Access Hollywood. Joe was close enough to smell her. Let’s just say there’s ample reason she has gainful employment on TV.

Joe also saw TV Azteca’s lovely Ines Sainz and her glorious, um, attribute, which Joe documented previously. One of her producers started yelling at Joe for obtaining digital evidence of her, um, attribute which prompted Joe to tell him to calm down and if she didn’t want her, um, attribute photographed she would have chosen another line of attire to wear.

Joe spoke extensively with Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett with the Cardinals for a story he wrote for former Tampa Tribune staffer Scott Carter and his website Joe never knew about Dockett’s background; it was quite moving.

Joe also chatted with Adam Schefter of the NFL Network quite a bit for a story Joe has already posted.

Joe later saw Cardinals owner/extortionist Bill Bidwill, which reminded Joe of when he first met Bidwill while cover the team’s training camp at Joe’s alma mater of Eastern Illinois University. He is such an inept owner it’s difficult for Joe to envision this team in a Super Bowl. Joe learned that Bidwill has pretty much stepped away from the daily operations of the team, which explains why the team got to the Super Bowl.

While Joe was quite impressed with Menounos and Sainz, Clearwater native and “Inside the NFL” reporter Jenn Brown stole the show. Joe was familiar with Brown from her HDNet TV series “Bikini Destinations.” No, it’s not porn. But if you are bored let’s just say Joe highly recommends gawking as Ms. Brown frolicking on YouTube in one of these videos. It’s quality time spent on a slow Tuesday evening and Joe is confident you too will become enamored with Ms. Brown.

In person, she is as lovely as she is on camera. Joe tried to fight through the mass of humanity to get a photo of her, with little luck, until he yelled, “Hey, Clearwater girl!” She, as if on cue, wheeled around and flashed a huge smile at Joe that he was able to capture on his digital camera.

Ah, what a talent.

Then there was Joe’s first encounter with the notorious Warren Sapp. Joe asked him a question, Sapp challenged Joe and Joe rephrased the question and Sapp was cool. Later while wading through the swarm of media Joe felt an arm around his shoulder and then heard Sapp bellow, “Hey my man, you walked away from my table giggling. I like to laugh too. Tell me what it was I said that was so funny.”

Joe couldn’t remember the indicent but quickly said, “I’m not sure but if I was laughing that means it was good and I’m going to use it.”

Sapp then busted out laughing and sped away from Joe, apparently satisfied.

With apologies for name dropping, Joe got to speak with some of the cream of the media crop including Tim Brando, Ed Bouchette, Woody Cummings, Rick Ballou, Dan Pompei and John Clayton among many others. Joe also got to meet up with his mentor of sorts, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

As a poor college student, Joe will always be thankful of Miklasz taking pity upon Joe in college and buying him tequila shots while covering an NFL training camp — but not at the same time.

All in all it was an experience Joe will never forget and he graciously thanks Brian McCarthy, Michael Signora and Jared Cooper of the NFL for helping make this possible for Joe.

In turn, expect in the coming weeks from Joe some really neat interviews from various media celebrities and their thoughts on the Bucs.

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