Nevius: Super Bowl advice for 49ers — embrace the hoopla

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SANTA CLARA — In a group media session last week, Nick Bosa was asked about growing up in Florida, where the Super Bowl is being held.

Bosa gave the standard spiel. He said it was “awesome” and mentioned that his dad played for the Dolphins. He even added that he’d played a few high school games in the Miami stadium.

And then a few minutes later, another reporter walked in and asked Bosa about playing the Super Bowl in his home state.

“I think I just got that question,” Bosa monotoned.

Oh, Nick. You are in for a shocker at the Super Bowl. You don’t like having to answer the same question twice? How about 11 times? And that’s the first day. And then 14 times the second day?

There’s no media event like the Super Bowl. It is all buildup, day after day. Players sit at tables in hotel ballrooms and the reporters come at them in waves, sometimes 15-20 at a time. It is media musical chairs. They sit for a bit, maybe ask a question and then move on to the next table.

Conducting an actual interview is essentially impossible. Everybody’s got a different angle. So you get the player telling a tragic story, “... and that was the day the school called and said my brother had been shot.”

And the next question may be, “Do you think you will stay in a two-deep zone all game?”

In a just and perfect world, we reporters would have spent the previous evening researching topics and players, so we could pose informed questions. Instead of what we probably did, which was to go to one of the awesome Super Bowl parties, and stay out later than we should have.

The result is some of us are comically misinformed. KTVU’s Joe Fonzi reminded me of what was probably the worst question ever asked in a Super Bowl press conference.

The subject was Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett. Plunkett’s father passed away when he was at Stanford and his mother battled an eye disease that eventually left her unable to see.

Which was apparently what a reporter was trying to reference when he said, “Jimmy, let me get this straight. Is your mom dead and your dad blind or is it the other way around?”

As the late Raiders wide receiver Bob Chandler advised at the big game, “You gotta embrace the chaos. Roll with the hoopla.”

A word of warning. If you should get off a few good lines at your press session, that carries its own curse.

Not only are there transcripts of all the interviews, but reporters are talking to each other constantly. If one guy — take wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, for example — attracts notice for being a good quote, you can bet more reporters will show up the next day, on the prowl for sound bites.

Sanders, who is a good quote, has already experienced a bit of interview overload. Asked last week about what kind of leader Jimmy Garoppolo is, Sanders sighed.

“I love Jimmy,” he said. “I swear I love Jimmy. But I am tired of talking about Jimmy.”

Yeah. Here’s the bad news — you have probably just started talking about Jimmy.

Putting Jimmy G on the couch will be one of the surefire Super Bowl narratives. We’ll do the connection-to-Tom-Brady angle, the soft-spoken-but-respected guy and definitely the is-Jimmy-a-good-enough-quarterback-to-win-this-thing?

But you have to remember that this is also a cultural event. Some non-sports outlet (like TMZ) would love to get video of the handsome 49ers QB out on the town with a model or movie star.

Speaking of non-sports angles, there’s a press conference for the halftime show every year and attending it is eye-opening.

In 2016, when the Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers was held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Coldplay was one of the halftime performers. There must have been 200 reporters at their media session.

And the majority were from trade publications like Entertainment Tonight or People. What’s more, the fix was in for questions. Reporters had been picked ahead of time, so only a few got to ask anything.

The surprise was that frontman Chris Martin was unexpectedly hilarious. No need to go into all of it, but when asked which team he thought would win, Martin immediately quipped, “The Colorado Panthers.” Not bad.

Of course, at some point a minor event that no one predicted will flare up and make news. Someone will say something or do something and everyone will chase that like hounds after a hare.

And then there will be the outright attempts to create a viral moment. That’s when players are asked something like, “If you were a sandwich, which kind would you be?”

You’d think those kind of silly punchline questions would annoy the dead-serious football types, but Sanders, who has been to two previous Super Bowls, has an interesting take. He said the good thing about the “If you met Bigfoot, what would you tell him?” questions is that you are unlikely to come up with an answer that could get you in trouble.

“I actually enjoy that more,” he said. “Up here you gotta watch what you say. Don’t want no headlines.”

Embrace the chaos. Roll with the hoopla.

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