If first impressions are as critical as everyone says they are, the Ravens have made Baltimore proud and impressed the national media in their brief time in New Orleans.
Today is Super Bowl XLVII Media Day, when literally thousands of reporters from print, TV, radio and the web descend on both the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, grilling them with questions that range from the sublime to the inane.
That's is when the craziness really starts. If there’s no excess like media excess, there’s definitely no media excess like Super Bowl media excess.
Still, in the brief interviews the Ravens had immediately after landing in the Big Easy on Monday, they presented themselves well.
John Harbaugh, GQ-ready in a pricey dark suit and purple tie, came across as polished, genial, relaxed and ready to enjoy the craziness of Super Bowl week, even as he tried to keep the focus on the business of winning a football game.
His ability to banter with the media will be a huge hit. And as we talked about this morning on 105.7 The Fan’s “The Norris and Davis Show,” Harbaugh is the PR face of the Ravens now and emblematic of the new wave of NFL coaches: telegenic, articulate and mindful of the need to get along with reporters and put his spin on anything involving his team.
Ray Lewis was a big hit, too. The future Hall of Famer dropped his game-face scowl and his preacher’s voice and showed an ability – at least outwardly -- to laugh at himself when asked about the hilarious parody “Saturday Night Live” did of him, complete with sweat-streaked face, God references, the “Squirrel” dance and over-the-top emotions.
And Joe Flacco was as direct and plain-spoken as ever, especially delighting reporters when he labeled the idea of a Super Bowl in the frozen tundra of Denver’s Sports Authority Field as “stupid.”
“If you want to have a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium, then you can get one,” the Ravens’ quarterback said.
So far so good for the Ravens under the media microscope.
But, again, the real craziness of the week begins today.