Super Bowl media day has evolved into a day of barely contained insanity. There was a time when it was about serious journalists meeting with focused NFL players to ask insightful questions in a controlled setting. Now it’s full of nutcases who know nothing about football wearing costumes and trying to get noticed. It’s such a spectacle that they are even selling tickets to the public.
Back in the original form media day was as valuable a part of Super Bowl preparation for bettors as looking at the NFL odds. At this point, though, it just isn’t nearly as important. In fact, there are far more ways to make a mistake and be misled by media day as a bettor than there are ways to profit from it. Here are five big mistakes that football bettors can make when analyzing the noise that emerges from the spectacle:
Assuming volume equals significance – There are some things that you hear time and time again after Super Bowl media day. It can be easy to think that because you are hearing it so often it must be particularly important. That’s often not the case, though. Quite often the reason you are hearing about the same thing repeatedly is because it’s a question obvious enough that everyone thought to ask it. There isn’t a whole lot of creativity and originality among most of the media members at media day. You can assume that the most common news or angles are the most important. Instead, sports bettors have to be objective and really analyze whether anything they hear is actually relevant and significant.
Assuming players and coaches are being honest – Players and coaches are going to be asked about obvious issues – injuries, their ability to play against particularly good opponents, team chemistry, and so on. They will probably answer the questions they are asked. Those answers, though, are very likely to be rehearsed in advance, and will likely only have a loose relationship to the truth. NFL teams are not going to give up any secrets on media day, and they are unlikely to give their opponents anything to learn from or get motivated by. At best that means that you should take everything you hear with a grain of salt. More likely, though, that means that you should disregard anything that players or coaches say that relate to anything even remotely controversial or uncertain. That’s especially true when the NFL coaches or players in question aren’t particularly open and honest at the best of times.
Buying into the hype -The media will get very excited about some football players, some storylines, and some angles. Quite often they’ll get too excited. That excitement will translate into excessive hype in the articles they write and the stories they file. That hype will in turn get picked up by the public. It’s like the hype multiplies, and soon those stories seem to be so strong and so pervasive that it’s hard to doubt that they are true. Often, though, those stories aren’t actually true – or at least they aren’t as important or dominant as the public will assume they will be. As an invested football gambler, you have to look at everything that comes out of media day with a jaded eye, be sure that all the hype you hear is actually warranted.
Assuming reporters could actually learn something of significance – Never say never, but reporters will basically never learn anything of true significance at media day anymore. They could learn interesting background information about players or coaches, they’ll get a few nice soundbites, and they might even hear something interesting about a previous playoff game. What they aren’t going to hear, though, is meaningful insight into game plan, health, strategy, concerns about the opponent, and so on. Football players and coaches just aren’t going to let that slip, so it is definitely a mistake to expect that, or to assume that you have really heard something important.
Not having a good idea of your opinion before media day – Media day doesn’t provide a lot of useful insights, but it does provide a lot of ways to confuse you or to lead you down the wrong path. It is absolutely crucial, then, that before media day comes along you have at least an idea of which way you are leaning in the game. You can always change your opinion later in the week based on further analysis, personnel developments and so on, but you want to have a starting point established. If you have an opinion in place before Super Bowl media day then you can look at everything you hear, compare it to your opinion, and see if it makes sense and if it changes everything. It’s all but impossible to be led really astray by the hype and chaos of media day if football bettors have done their handicapping homework in advance.