Beyond the Boxscore

Gaining new respect for Ines Sainz at Super Bowl Media Day, and losing it for Matthews' hairy hype

Gaining new respect for Ines Sainz at Super Bowl Media Day, and losing it for Matthews' hairy hype

Clay Matthews hair
Clay Matthews' hair almost dominated Super Bowl Media Day.
Ines Sainz
But then Ines Sainz showed up in her Dallas Cowboys-patterned dress.
Ben Roethlesberger happy
Ben Roethlisberger talked about what a nice guy he was — and everyone largely nodded. Courtesy of Otrssportsonline
Maria Menuonos
But Access Hollywood's Maria Menonous did get to rub Clay Matthews' hair. Everything comes full circle at the absurdity of Super Bowl Media Day.
Clay Matthews hair
Ines Sainz
Ben Roethlesberger happy
Maria Menuonos

Forget Steelers or Packers. The big question of Super Bowl XLV is do you have Clay Matthews' hair or Ines Sainz's slinky Jerry World dress? 

With the game still five days away, those are the main combatants in North Texas, having battled for attention like Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots at the wonder known as Super Bowl Media Day.

Super Bowl Media Day left farce so long ago, that it can't even be seen in the rearview mirror. The NFL's own network now serves as the ringleader in poking fun at the cattle call event that gets things rolling the Tuesday before every Super Bowl.

Media Day has evolved into an exercise in low-brow performance art — with a host of would-be starlets trying to become the next Downtown Julie Brown (whose exchange with Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson in 1993 was probably the last spontaneous moment at a Super Bowl Media Day) or at least, get remembered as the woman in the slutty wedding dress (Ines Gomez Mont's enduring claim to fame from Media Day 2008).

Still, the league managed to lure more reporters than ever (a record 5,000-plus) into Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV's Media Day despite the panic brought on by sightings of actual ice. And the fact that 4,999 of those reporters will spend the next few days moaning how they never get a good story out of Super Bowl Media Day.

There is already some complaining that both the Packers and Steelers are too professional (yes, apparently everyone's forgotten that Ben Roethlisberger quarterbacks Pittsburgh) to create an interesting week. And while this will not go down as a legendary Media Day, it brought its share of ridiculousness.

Here are the Top Five moments of lunacy:

5). Steelers showing up in Troy Polamalu wigs. Just in case you thought NFL players advance beyond high school humor, several of Pittsburgh's most prominent players came to Cowboys Stadium sporting wigs of their all-world Samoan strong safety's long, curly black hair to prove otherwise.

Included in this group was veteran receiver Hines Ward, one of the leaders of a Monday night team outing, apparently geared toward disproving those tales of Dallas suffering from a Super Bowl stripper shortage. Ward made a halfhearted attempt at denying he went to a strip club before wisely backtracking and snapping, "It's none of your business." 

If only the hair had stayed less of our business. But alas, that's not the last we'll hear of flowing locks this Super week. And we haven't even gotten to Dan Patrick on radio row yet.

4). Jerry Jones' temperature tricks. Sure, the Cowboys owner isn't bent that two of his franchise's most bitter rivals are playing a classic Super Bowl matchup in his stadium. Yes, he's been over the fact that the Cowboys wouldn't be the first home team in Super Bowl history for months.

That's why there was a tunnel entrance or two mysteriously left open at Jerry World as the teams conducted their indoor Media Day. Some sections of the stadium had a downright brisk breeze.

It caused veteran Packers wide receiver Donald Driver (a Houston native who can handle Green Bay, but not being cold in Texas) to borrow a fur coat.

Do you really think there wouldn't have been better temperature control if Tony Romo was on the field. 

 3). Roethlisberger breezes by with nary a tough question in sight. Any thought that the Steelers quarterback would be grilled about being accused of two sexual assaults since his last Super Bowl quickly disappeared in the overpowering fluff of Media Day.

At points, Big Ben himself seemed surprised by how easy the questions were. He called himself a "nice guy" (tell that to the Georgia co-ed he trapped in a bathroom). He went into great detail about which video game he'd love to play on the humungous video screen that hangs over the Cowboys Stadium field. (The devoted golfer wrestles between Tiger Woods PGA Tour and Call of Duty like a monk ruminates on the deeper meanings of life.)

The only thing resembling pesky questions came in veiled references to his four-game suspension and Roethlisberger simply batted those away with talk about focusing on the present. Yes, America, he truly really doesn't seem to care about cries of rape when there are some great commercials headed to TV.

2). Ines Sainz showing up in a dress made for wardrobe malfunctions. The news here isn't that Sainz — the TV Azteca reporter who was harassed by the New York Jets when she showed up at a practice — arrived in Dallas wearing what some would consider a provocative dress.

Sainz should be able to wear whatever she wants without fear of being bothered by Roger Goodell's overstimulated players. In a way, you have to respect that she hasn't tried to change her hot reporter image in the wake of the Jets incident. Or taken off her high black stilettos.

What's significant here is how the media reacted to Sainz, getting drawn to the dress (which had something of a space-age Cowboys Stadium silver and blue theme) like moths to a light. Sainz was a harder interview to land than most of the players.

Sainz noted that she dresses for her show and that her outfits are designed to match her partners'. With the theme this week obviously being Jerry World. 

The tae kwon do black belt seemed to handle all the queries, many of which came from grown men transformed into junior high schoolers, with a composed smile.

1). Clay Matthews turning his hair into a sideshow. It's hard not to root for the Green Bay Packers' second-year outside linebacker. Matthews was absolutely robbed of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award on Monday night, losing by two votes to the much-more inconsistent (this season) Polamalu.

Plus, Matthews has strong Houston ties. His uncle, Bruce Matthews, played for the Houston Oilers/Titans for 19 seasons and recently spurned the Cowboys to stay on Gary Kubiak's Texans staff.

Still, watching the nephew — and Brian Cushing's USC buddy — use his flowing locks (and not his play in former Texans coach Dom Capers' 3-4 defense) to court crossover attention was a little unsettling. Sure, give a few funny answers on the hair. But is it really necessary to encourage Access Hollywood babe Maria Menounos to rub it?

Matthews came off as the attention whore that Ines Sainz isn't.