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Super Bowl Media Day: the circus is back in town
NFL » ‘It’s Mardi Gras with cameras instead of liquor’
First Published Jan 29 2013 06:12 pm • Last Updated Jan 29 2013 11:37 pm

New Orleans • Miss Alabama USA, like so many reporters before her, struggled to get a quote out of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday.

The problem was that Katherine Webb was too quiet. So a producer finally leaned over and whispered the eight most important words in modern sports journalism: "Be loud and stick your microphone in there."

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And that, folks, is Super Bowl Media Day in a nutshell. Aside from shouting her question over the masses, Webb could have also considered dressing as a samurai warrior (as a Los Angeles TV reporter did), a clown (TV Azteca), a superhero (Nickelodeon), a referee (VH1), or a paunchy middle-aged man (hundreds of newspapers).

In all, more than 2,000 reporters swarmed upon the Baltimore Ravens and 49ers during their media sessions at the Superdome. Someone of them even asked about Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII.

"It’s like Mardi Gras with cameras instead of liquor,’’ 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald said.

This was the annual Media Day drill — part news conference, part circus — in which players and coaches get penned into cubicles for an hour while fielding questions that range from the ridiculous to the ... well, no, they’re pretty much all ridiculous.

One radio reporter asked 49ers running back Frank Gore if he’d seen Manti Te’o’s girlfriend. Because the girlfriend was a hoax, as everyone knows, Gore just stared blankly back at his questioner.

"Look! She’s there right now!" the radio man said, pointing to a vacant patch of ground.

Gore stared until the radio man walked away.

A few podiums over, Pick Boy, the Nickleodeon superhero, was strutting around in a black tights and an orange cape. With Las Vegas oddsmakers listing the 49ers as 31/2-point favorites, did Pick Boy have ...


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"A pick? No, I’m taking the year off,’’ said Pick Boy, aka 35-year-old actor Jeff Sutphen. "It’s not because I don’t know -- I’m a superhero, after all -- but I’ve come under a lot of heat lately for spoiling the ending. So I won’t ruin it. I’m a giver. I’ve got a heart of gold."

Most of the 49ers laughed along with the shenanigans. Free safety Donte Whitner was asked what scared him most, to which he replied: "Maybe put me in a fast car with a blind person?"

Michael Crabtree dutifully "Kaepernicked" upon request for VH1, smooching his flexed biceps, just like quarterback Colin Kaepernick does after touchdowns. (Crabtree said the key is to be gentle with the kiss.)

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs opened his session by singing Meat Loaf’s, "I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)."

49ers lineman Joe Staley thought the whole session was a hoot and rolled with any premise that came his way, even playing the role of wisecracking sidekick for the caped crusader.

Pick Boy: "I don’t like to brag, but I can bench-press 100 pounds."

Staley: "100 pounds? That’s about what I can do, too."

Pick Boy: "What can you do, really?"

Staley: "About 450."

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