Arlington , TX –- Super Bowl media day isn't about journalists breaking hardcore stories. News that would fuel talk radio and message boards for days. It's all about marketing. Which credential media member can make the biggest fool of themselves for everyone to remember.
Super Bowl XLV media day is in the books and due to ice storms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the turnout wasn't as large as usual. But, the crazies were still there. Just ask former Iowa Hawkeye and Green Bay rookie Bryan Bulaga. He experienced one of the weirdest bits of all on Tuesday.
It was former Playboy playmate's Michaelle Nunes mission to adopt a player. Her words, "if it worked for Sandra Bullock, it will work for me."
To secure a Super Bowl ticket. Nunes even had the Alabama accent and clothing to match.
Nunes: I have a very serious question for you. How would you like to be adopted by me?
Bulaga: Adopted by you? Sure. Why not.
Nunes: I knew you would say yes, I now have my official blindside protector.
After a few common questions between the two, Nunes handed Bulaga the adoption papers.
Nunes: Now in all seriousness, you just sign your name right down on that line.
Bulaga: "You know, I don't know if my mom would like that."
Nunes: "What you do mean, I am your mom and I need that Super Bowl ticket?"
Bulaga played along for another minute and half, almost let her call his real mom, got tired of it, and eventually she left. His response right after:
"What the heck was that....I don't know what that was about. I'm actually a bit scared."
Something tells me that Iowa Sports Information Director Phil Haddy wouldn't of allowed something like that to happen at media day in Iowa City.
"It has been fun, I'm just treating it as a normal work week. Having the media before practice is a little bit different. Also, the amount of media is a little bit different, but it's been fun," said Bulaga. "You have to enjoy it, but you have to know when it's time to work and when it's time to have fun with things.
"The Super Bowl—it's just an honor to be here. I'm trying to look at it as a game, a game that we're going into. We're in the Super Bowl, but we're playing the Steelers. The title of the Super Bowl, everyone says ‘he's a rookie, he has never been in the Super Bowl, he doesn't know what it's about,' but it's a game. Once the ball is kicked off, it's a game and all those titles go out the window."
Bulaga was forced into the starting lineup because of injury for Green Bay just five games into the year. His season performance was described by one NFL analyst to me on Tuesday as "tremendous." It had to be. The NFL doesn't wait for 1st rounders to develop anymore. Earning more money than most veterans, guys like Bulaga have to be ready from day one.
"To be able to perform as a rookie, I credit to the fundamentals and techniques. Most of that is what I was taught at Iowa," said Bulaga to HawkeyeInsider.com. "A lot of that stuff was ingrained into us from the start of our freshman year. Every year Coach Ferentz hits on it. Everyone at this level is big, strong, and fast. It's all about who plays with the best pad level and technique. That is something I leaned at Iowa.
"You have to go in with a mindset of, 'I respect what he can do' but I have to try to dictate things. It's all about fundamentals....Coach Ferentz and Coach Doyle did a fabulous job getting me ready to play at this level."
With a Pro Bowl offensive tackle in Chad Clifton on the opposite side of the line from Bulaga, the Steelers are expected to scheme against the rookie. Giving him various looks and match-ups throughout the game, hoping to confuse him. Many experts have pegged the match-up between Bulaga and Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley to be one of the keys to the game. Woodley recorded 10 sacks this season. For the rookie, it's just another great pass rusher in a long list of on the job trainers Bulaga has seen.
"Every team in the NFC North has an elite pass rusher: (Julius)Peppers, (Jared)Allen, (Kyle) Vanden Bosch. Pretty much every team we've gone against has a Pro-Bowler at the rushing position," said Bulaga. "The Steelers rushers are a little bit different, every guy is a little bit different just because of how they approach rushing.
"This is a very good front seven. They know how to put pressure on the quarterback. They've been doing it all year. Both outside linebackers have had about 13 sacks this year. Their front and middle guys push that pocket back, it gets those ends to get sacks and get pressure. They're able to disguise their blitz packages well, which confuses offenses. So we need to be able to identify the fronts and keep fundamentals."
If the former Hawkeye can shut down Woodley and give Aaron Rodgers time, the former Cal Bear has the potential to pick apart the Steelers secondary.
Bulaga replaced 11th year veteran Mark Tauscher on the offensive line. Tauscher has only played 25 games in the last three seasons. A nice Super Bowl performance by the rookie and there might not be a position battle for him next season.
Pictures taken by Josh Harvey