HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 30, 2017) (REUTERS) – It was Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday (January 30) when the National Football League opened its borders to all saying; give us your weird, your strange and wackiest questions.
Members of the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, who will clash on Sunday to decide the NFL championship, kicked off Super Bowl week taking turns facing an eclectic media mob in a televised primetime question-and-answer free-for-all where very little is out of bounds.
While Houston busily put the finishing touches on its Super Bowl preparations, Minute Maid Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Astros, was transformed into an NFL rave kicking off a week-long football-fest.
There were glitzy introductions, thumping music and hundreds of media members from Japan, Britain, Mexico, Austria, Australia and other corners of the globe all happily mingling as fake news purveyors brushed up against more serious minded journalists.
The NFL, which normally tightly controls access to players, has made no noticeable effort to clamp down on the irreverent vibe and seems content for one night to let non-traditional media have a piece of the Super Bowl pie.
It is an evening where award winning reporters struggle to have their questions heard above those from a reporter dressed as a Prince accompanied by his cameraman with a bushy beard wearing a princess dress.
Some players such as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is participating in his seventh Super Bowl, embraced the experience smiling through the entire one-hour session answering every question – no matter how strange.
“I just think it’s special because it’s this year. I mean it’s every year is different and every year every team starts with the same goal,” Brady said.
“The fact that I’ve been able to do it before it just means I’ve been a part of some really great teams. And this team is trying to be one of those really great teams that finishes the job not one of those teams that comes up short.”
One moment Brady was asked to name his favorite actors (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Mark Wahlberg) and the next asked to explain the relationship between a quarterback and his receivers.
Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who is in his 11th year with the Patriots, said that he just wanted to take advantage to play in another Super Bowl.
“When you’re in your 11th year I don’t have 11 more so it means, it really means a lot for me to do whatever I can for my teammates,” he said.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan who played for Boston College near the Patriots home said he was excited.
Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley who grew up in Georgia rooting for the team said he was excited for the opportunity to try to win the Super Bowl for the first time for his team.