Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh answers questions during media day on Tuesday. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:25 PM
NEW ORLEANS — I’m standing here on the turf of the Superdome floor in the gentle midst of a reported 5,205 media types, some of whom speak English, many of whom have risked jet lag to get here, a handful of whom even work in the media for their day jobs and don’t gush at the sight of a Vernon Davis.
Actually I’m standing right next to a young Gen-Xer whose credential lanyard and oversized microphone identify him as being with some outfit called “OMG! Insider” Yes, apparently it is startling enough to require its own exclamation point. A later Internet search will reveal that this bunch normally concerns itself with keeping America abreast of all the Kardashians and most of the Paris Hiltons, etc., of the world.
But this week you’re nobody in the celebrity world if you’re not in New Orleans for the Super Bowl pestering the jockstraps.
I’m trying to be somebody.
But “OMG! Insider” blocked out on me, got position on the post, so to speak, so now I’m just riding his coattails, wherever it may lead.
And by some unexplainable parting of the media horde — or maybe it was because Ray Lewis raised his voice at the mosh pit two podiums down — the media sea here has somewhat parted and me and OMG are in very real danger of an up-close-and-personal exchange with Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
Meaning, that we are only tussling with maybe 15 or 20 others for his immediate attention, with another 150 or so hopelessly out of the loop, but shouting anyway.
Harbaugh has already confirmed to an English television chap that he is, in fact, the blood brother of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, and, as such, they often “did things together” while growing up.
It was nice to get that cleared up.
But we — well, mostly OMG, but I’m encouraging him, and hanging on — are going in for the full-blown scoop now.
“Coach!” I yell in slightly raised voice.
“Dude!” OMG shouts, with better effect.
We have Harbaugh’s eye and, seemingly, his undivided, if curious attention.
It will be lagniappe for an already productive day.
By this point, I’ve decided this annual exercise, Super Bowl Media Day, is truly a little slice of Americana at its absolute best.
As the media horde descended earlier, I had no idea what the painted guy at the entrance nonchalantly juggling mini-footballs was for. Or who thought of it. But, though it’s not a staple of most news conferences, he fit in just fine, set the stage perfectly for an unabashed foray into American excess and overhype and media overkill.
I was starting to think we must all look pretty silly down here when I realized that the people watching us from the stands had paid $20 a head for the exercise and had no excuse.
Yes, in just a few days New Orleans will host the ultimate sporting extravaganza, a serious event that generally alters the course of world history until the next one comes along. So on the Tuesday before the Big Game, although admittedly there is much somber overanalyzing yet to be done, the biggest, most pressing question on most of the media’s lips was this:
“Where is (Alabama quarterback) J.C. McCarron’s girlfriend?”
Katherine Webb must be here, still riding the wave of being named — by Brent Musburger — as the MVP of the BCS National Championship game.
The word is that she’s been hired by “Inside Edition” to do investigative work for this clambake.
But I must report, sadly, that, having failed my journalistic oath, I didn’t spot her.
And she should stick out even in this crowd, especially in this crowd, many of whom wouldn’t know a football from a foosball. At least one of them was wearing a pro wrestling mask inscribed with H2.
What I did see was the tail end of an interview when a reporter from Nickelodeon’s “Nick Toons” turned away from an interview with a puzzled look on his face.
“What just happened there?” he muttered, as if he’d been — I don’t know — disrespected.
The intrepid reporter was wearing green tights with orange briefs on the outside, with a black top mostly covered by a green cape with tasteful orange trim. I think a tiara might have been involved.
There was another super hero of some persuasion on hand, but I only got a look at him from a distance.
I was more intrigued by two Asian reporters who, though smiling constantly, weren’t giving up on 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
Some sleuth had uncovered the fact that Ray Lewis’ first pro sack all those many years ago came against Harbaugh in his former life as a quarterback.
“Tell, please, what you recall of that,” the reporter asked.
“I honestly don’t remember that,” Harbaugh said, although it was perhaps important to note that he didn’t deny it.
“Well, would you mind making something up for our viewers back in Japan?”
There were a lot of clowns here, one in particular from Azteca Deportes who went all in with the complete clown outfit and painted face for an interview with some 49er or another.
I had to ask his partner what the deal was on that one.
I was told it was a slick and clandestine move to uncover any closet clownaphobics (coulrophobia) among the Ravens and Niners, which, who knows, could be important come Sunday.
But back to me and OMG and the pursuit of truth, justice and the Super Bowl winner.
John Harbaugh even leaned forward to better grasp OMG’s question, which was:
“I understand you don’t have a Facebook page?”
“No, wouldn’t know how to work it.”
“But your brother, Jim, he said he didn’t have a Twitter account — even called it a Tweeter account.”
“I don’t have one either. My daughter wants me to try Insta-insta somethi …”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“So you’ve heard of Instagram?”
There was a pause.
“AWESOME, dude, that is just awesome.”
And OMG was off in flash.
But … oh, my gosh. What just happened here?
Did I just miss something important?
• • •Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org