It was a bit more challenging than usual due to the restricted space of the floor of the arena compared to a football field, but the 3000 or so media representatives got what they needed by the time the event was concluded.
We left the Sheraton Times Square at shortly after 8 am and worked our way around the New Jersey Turnpike and across the Hudson River to the Prudential Center, arriving at 9 am, an hour and a half before the Denver Broncos were to appear for their portion of Media Day.
The most recognizable members of the team had designated platforms where they answered questions from media from across the world.
Denver Coach John Fox was asked what he thought about Peyton Manning’s road to the Super Bowl this year. “I think it is remarkable. A year ago, I thought might have been the most remarkable, and to miss a whole football season with four separate neck surgeries, to come to a new city at the quarterback position, which I think might be the hardest position to change teams, and have the kind of season he had a year ago, was truly remarkable. To build on that, and to have the kind of season he’s had to this point this year I think is unprecedented.”
Manning was asked how it felt being at the Super Bowl with Denver after having been to the big show two times previously with the Indianapolis Colts. “When you represent a different organization, it has a different feeling. It’s special to be here on behalf of the Denver Broncos. Our team has worked hard to get to this point. Everybody’s excited to be here. We only have four guys who have played in a Super Bowl. For a lot of the players, it’s their first time, and they are pumped up. I’m just as pumped being in my third (Super Bowl) at 37 years old.”
If Fox and Manning are to take the Vince Lombari trophy back to Denver, they will have to have a solid performance in the running game as well as the passing game. The success of the running game begins with the offensive line, and falls on the shoulders of Knowshon Moreno.
Moreno was asked if facing the Seattle Seahawks was the toughest test he has faced. “Of course. Every game is tough in different ways, and this game will be no different. Something will happen, be an adversity that we will have to overcome, and we will see what that is. There’s a lot of character guys on this team that are fighting for each other. At the end of the day, if we just keep that up, we’ll see what happens at the end.”
One of the key receivers for the Broncos in the game will be Wes Welker, who has Super Bowl experience from his days in New England. Welker was asked if his past experiences gave him any advantage going into Sunday’s big game.
“I don’t know. I think there are advantages to it, especially just knowing what to expect as far as media and everything like that. I mean, you’re doing 100 times more media than what you normally do. So, just getting used to that and just trying to focus on the game at the same time and not get caught up in everything else is I think key.”
Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in his last two seasons in Denver, was asked during Media Day what has changed since he played.
“Well, it’s gotten bigger. It’s just continued to grow, and I think that’s a compliment to the NFL and what it’s been able to do, just continuing to grow this game. It’s a compliment to the players too, and the way that the players play, and the interest that it now gathers. So it just continues to grow and it’s such a spectacle. I’m glad we’re a part of it.”
Once the Broncos ended their portion of the media feeding frenzy, media representatives on hand were treated to a brunch before the Seahawks made their appearance. The menu included ham, turkey sausage, macaroni and cheese, biscuits and New Jersey tomato soup. Media members also had a chance to visit with NFL Network personalities during the brunch.
At 12:45 pm the Seahawks hit the floor of the arena. Head Coach Pete Carroll was asked his thoughts about what his second year starting quarterback Russell Wilson, who many thought was too short to be consistently successful in the NFL, brings to the table.
“He’s an incredible competitor in every way. In preparation, in game day, he’s the epitome of what you want in your competitor. He’s got tremendous work habits. He’s got extraordinary athleticism. He’s got a general all-around savvy that allows him to make great decisions under pressure. He’s extremely confident too, so no matter what is going on, he’s not going to waver in his focus and ability to handle things. He’s just been a blast to coach and been a great team member.”
Wilson was asked how he has dealt with the criticism of being too short. "I had a lot of critics tell me, ‘He’s too short.’ That’s really all they could say in terms of my game, and I wasn’t going to believe it. I wasn’t going to allow that to stop me from doing what God put me on this earth for. To be honest with you, that I was a prototypical second baseman. A lot of people thought I could play in the big leagues. I was a 5’11, 205 lbs. I could move extremely well, throw the ball well. I could hit and steal bases and do all of those things, but like I said earlier, I had this passion for playing the game of football. I believe that God wanted me to go against the odds.”