ST. PAUL —There were indoor fireworks and strobe lights flashing across the dimly lit stage at Xcel Energy Center.
Super Bowl Media Day used to be a chance for hundreds of newspaper and electronic reporters to glean information about the NFL's biggest game, held on a weekday at the stadium, away from the spotlight.
But on this night, it was all about presentation, focusing on the star power of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles and the few thousand fans who paid $32 to be part of the experience.
"This is crazy to experience all of this," New England running back Rex Burkhead said.
New England coach Bill Belichick, known for his causal dress on the sideline, looked uncomfortable in a coat and tie, surrounded by the media he often tries to avoid. Just a couple of podiums down, quarterback Tom Brady, already an A-list celebrity even without the Super Bowl, was much more comfortable in a team hoodie and knit cap.
"This could never get old," Brady said. "This is pretty amazing. It's gotten bigger every year. I remember standing on the field for 45 minutes. Now, look at this. It's a big event. Very cool to be here."
While most of the reporters wandered around, looking for interviews, others were trying to grab some spotlight with outrageous wardrobe or stupid questions.
A person wearing a white lab coat, with Dr. Chuck Ellis embroidered near his collar, asked several silly questions of various players, such as their favorite pizza topping or video game. But following that, a Boston TV station interviewed the "Doctor," to get his views of the Super Bowl, as ridiculous as they might have been.
There was a person in a shark suit asking questions of players. Guillermo, of Jimmy Kimmel fame, was there, asked New England's Danny Amendola which movie will win an Oscar this year. A local TV show host asked players to take a stab at the Minnesota accent.
Nancy Kerrigan, famous for Olympic figure skating and the knee injury caused by those who tried to stop her, was there, asking questions of players.
The Eagles' cheerleaders had a short performance, then were as popular as the players for photo and interview requests. The Eagles mascot stomped around, trying to get fans to cheer.
It was more like a Saturday Night Live skit than a media event.
After taking questions for several minutes, Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks grabbed a camera and interviewed one of his teammates.
The Patriots didn't arrive in Minnesota until Monday morning, and rookie lineman Cole Croston had to listen as some of his teammates grumbled about the cold weather. Croston was born in Iowa and played college football for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, and even though he likes warm weather, he doesn't mind returning to the Midwest in January.
"Most of the guys are from the West Coast or the South," he said. "I just told them, `You don't know how cold it can get.' They're not used to this, but it's not that much different than it is in Boston."
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier