INDIANAPOLIS - He was interviewed by former players, current players, a teammate, a costumed Nickelodeon superhero, kids skipping school, journalists from around the world, and friends from back home.
The circus that has become Super Bowl Media Day put up an entertaining tent over Tom Brady yesterday. Expected to put on a show, the Patriots quarterback didn’t disappoint.
The three-time Super Bowl winner - twice the game’s MVP - held court for the full 60 minutes, answering questions that ranged from his favorite Madonna song to whether he will personally escort the trophy to New Hampshire should the Patriots beat the Giants.
In between, Brady shared football advice given to him by his supermodel wife, Gisele, (“Throw the ball quickly’’) to how many members of the “Jersey Shore’’ cast he can name (“I’ve never seen that show. It’s ‘Diego’ and ‘Toy Story 3’ on in my house’’).
About the only thing missing from Brady’s experience was a marriage proposal, but that has been done before; he was asked for his hand four years ago by a female reporter wearing a bridal gown.
Brady took all questions in stride, from the mundane to the arcane, from the reflective to the introspective. If being back at the Super Bowl for a fifth time means he’d have to sit in a chair on a podium and subject himself to media babble for an hour, so be it.
“To be in this game one time is a pretty unbelievable experience,’’ Brady said. “To think this is my fifth time, my fifth Media Day and fifth Super Bowl is pretty incredible.’’
He took measures to document at least some of it, coming onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium with his teammates at 10 a.m. sharp, camera in hand, snapping pictures. He was eased into his media session by a few questions from Hall of Famer-turned-NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders, who gently encouraged Brady to, among other things, throw the ball to Chad Ochocinco Sunday.
Another of Brady’s receivers, Tiquan Underwood, grabbed a microphone and briefly played reporter, asking his quarterback what advice he’d give to someone playing in his first Super Bowl.
“I know this is a big part of the week, dealing with a lot of media requests, family requests,’’ Brady said. “But ultimately, when that game is kicked off, you’d better be ready to play. You’d better be doing everything you need to do during the course of the week to get ready.’’
Players from other NFL teams also crashed Brady’s session, with Brett Keisel of the Steelers and Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars working their way to the front of a crowd that consistently measured a dozen deep on all sides. Keisel, owner of perhaps the bushiest beard in sports, noticed, and poked fun at, Brady’s modest stubble.
“Do you ever lose anything in there?’’ Brady playfully shot back at Keisel, a defensive lineman who went right along with the banter before congratulating someone he sometimes spends afternoons chasing for reaching the Super Bowl.
“Thanks, and stay out of our backfield,’’ Brady told him.
For the first time, spectators were allowed in on Media Day, and some 7,500 fans, many wearing Colts jerseys, paid $60 to sit and watch the spectacle. Unbeknownst to Brady, they could hear his every word.
“This has been a great place to play and a great rivalry. The other day on the outside [of the stadium] there’s a Dwight Freeney banner and I kind of cringed when I saw that for the amount of times he’s been terrorizing me,’’ Brady said, bringing a loud cheer from the stands. “Can you guys hear everything I’m saying up there? [Louder cheers.] I didn’t know that.’’
There were requests for Brady to say something in Spanish (he did), answer in English to a question posed by a Japanese reporter (“You’ve got to translate that for me’’), and a question about the weirdest thing ever sent to him in the mail.
“Probably an invitation to be the best man in a wedding of someone I’ve never met,’’ Brady said.
The only question Brady passed on was when he was asked to describe his journey from his high school years in California, to Michigan for college, and now over 11 seasons with the Patriots.
“How long we got? We’ve only got 36 minutes left, and you’re talking about 17 years,’’ Brady said. “I’m going to skip that one.’’
He was asked about family, and said that of the three Super Bowl rings he has won, he kept only two: He gave the first to his father, Tom Brady Sr. That came in 2002, before he had any children. Now he’s a father to two boys.
“I have a 4 1/2-year-old who is much more interested in the Millennium Falcon and his Lego sets than football. I try to keep tossing him the ball,’’ Brady said. “My 2-year-old, he’s definitely going to be a little athlete.’’
Amid the fluff, there were questions about the Giants, the Super Bowl, and the revenge factor after losing to New York four years ago. Massachusetts native and vocal Patriots fan Maria Menounos, who hosts “Extra,’’ was wearing an autographed Brady jersey, and got right to the point.
“Did you want this rematch as bad as I did? Because I hate the Giants,’’ Menounos said.
Ever the diplomat, Brady was careful not to fan any flames, especially in front of the largest media gathering in football.
“There’s a great rivalry, there has been, between New York and Boston for a long time,’’ Brady said. “We’ve had some pretty meaningful games against the Giants over the last few years. I don’t think anyone’s disappointed that it’s the Giants.’’
His allotted time nearly up, Brady talked golf with David Feherty, was reminded that the Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins have all won championships since the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl victory, and had a Los Angeles radio personality ask him if he’ll have the power of the divine beast come Sunday.
“Will I have the power of the divine beast?’’ Brady said. “Whatever the hell that means, I hope so.’’
Only on Media Day.