With only 19 games a year and an overwhelming interest in it's product, the NFL's expanding enterprise has long sought opportunities to profit outside of the games themselves.
"The shield" has been adept at accomadating the public's demand for constant football content. They moved the draft from the afternoon to primetime, they started televising the monotonous NFL scouting combine for an entire week, hell, they even dedicate a three hour long TV show to the release of the upcoming season's schedule.
NFL Media Day is by far their most ridiculous invention of all.
Seahawks and Patriots players gathered today at US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ for the event that has been held days prior to the Super Bowl ever since the very first "supergame" in 1967. As the years have gone by, Media Day has become famous not for the football insight it offers, but for its weirdness.
The event is now a fully televised marriage of blatant advertisements, celebrity athletes and goofy costumes. The NFL invites seemingly anyone to come grab a media pass and ask the stars of the country's most popular sport virtually anything they can imagine.
This has in the past included anything from a proposal of marriage to asking who has the stinkiest farts in the locker room. This year was no less absurd.
Listening back to make sure I heard this right before I tweeted. Third "question" to Belichick was a guy volunteering to murder someone.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 27, 2015
The ludicrous pageantry is, obviously, what makes the event one of the highlights of the week building up to the Super Bowl.
Despite its billing as a "media event", there is not really much football information you will find on NFL Media Day. There are journalists here, but don't be mistaken, this is an event aimed at the fan - specifcally the casual one. You can actually buy tickets to watch the Gatorade sponsored extravaganza live in person.
Media day is more equivalent to a comic con than a press conference.
The players and coaches are seated at designated podiums where swarms of journalists, costumed maniacs and entertainment personalities surround them. Meanwhile, reporters from places like Nickelodeon wander around asking people who their favorite ninja turtle is.
There are actual reporters here, but most of them are drowned out at the interview podiums.
The game's stars are mostly asked questions ranging from the innane to the bizarre. Examples from today's media day included asking for their favorite gas station snack, thoughts on Katy Perry or being asked to do other things like, you know, read an excerpt of an erotica novel about yourself.
There doesn't seem to be much order to NFL Media day, which honestly leads to the appeal. Players crashed podiums and started interviewing eachother, Seattle's Richard Sherman danced the salsa, his star teammate, running back Marshawn Lynch, just repeated over and over that he was only there so he didn't get fined.
Head coach Bill Belichick was asked by Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo's four-year old daughter what his favorite stuffed animal is.
There is no illusion of legitimacy at NFL media day.
A Seahawks practice squad player is being interviewed by a puppet that is "speaking" Chinese. Think that's my cue to leave.
— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) January 27, 2015
So, what's the point of it all?
Well, for starters, its for the advertising dollars that roll in through the TV broadcast, etc. Maybe it's also to get you to buy one of those $155 Nike training tops all of the players are wearing.
Mostly though, NFL Media Day is the Super Bowl's equivalent to the much hyped weigh-in before a major boxing match. It's a showcase for the millions of Americans who haven't watched a single football game, introducing them to the sport's biggest stars before the country's biggest sporting event.
Only, the NFL chooses to do it in the most bizarre way possible.
What's not to love about that?
I can't believe thousands of people paid $28.50 to sit here and watch this.
— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) January 27, 2015