Super Bowl week typically ends with a Friday press conference involving the Commissioner. Although he speaks on various other occasions throughout the year (but hardly “almost every day“), there’s a different feel for the Super Bowl press conference, especially given the sheer number of reporters present and the lingering sense that a curveball, a screwball, and/or a spitball could be coming for him at any given moment.
This year, there will be a change. Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the Commissioner’s press conference has been moved from Friday to Wednesday.
As Kaplan notes, it’s a “major break” from tradition, which could mean that fewer reporters will attend, since plenty don’t arrive until the final few days of the week.
“Our overall thinking is by Friday people are really focused on the game,” NFL executive V.P. of communications Joe Lockhart told Kaplan.
I’ve been to the site of the Super Bowl every week since 2009, and that’s just not the case. Monday through Friday (and in many cases Saturday) is about everything but the game, save for the pool reports from team practices, which in most cases really don’t tell the people anything they don’t already know. The overall activity builds exponentially throughout the week, and by Friday every nook and cranny of the Super Bowl media center has maximum attendance and maximum buzz. Wednesday’s overall crowd typically a fraction of the throng that attends on Friday.
Maybe the goal is to get more people there earlier in the week. If that was the case, however, the league should have disclosed the change far earlier than precisely two weeks before the event.
The logical conclusion, then, is that the people responsible for the care and feeding of the Commissioner’s image hope to expose him to a crowd of reporters that will be smaller and, in turn, more predictable and more manageable.
There’s one major flaw in that logic. If the Patriots make it, the concentration of reporters who will be more inclined to pose tough, aggressive questions about #DeflateGate will be much greater, since the folks who cover the Patriots definitely will be there on Wednesday if the Patriots are there all week.