January 29, 2013

Agostini's Super Bowl blog: Of God, Kaepernick, media frenzy and dogs

Super Bowl blog, 7:15 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS — My hand quits scribbling and I shut down my tape recorder nearly every time my interviewee refers to God.

It's not that I doubt the person's sincerity — how do I know and why should I judge? — but it's none of my business. And I know my audience spans the entire spectrum.

In my view, faith is an intensely personal and intimate thing. It should be reflected by how one leads his or her life, not by what he or she says in the public forum.

The subject jumped to the surface during Tuesday's Media Day in New Orleans. The Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis, drawing down a fabulous 17-year career, again discussed his faith as he told talked about his grandmother who reportedly is on life support.

Similar references have been a staple of his during the Ravens' dramatic run to the Super Bowl.

"I am always emotional anytime when I talk to God," Lewis said. "Just having that conversation with him is so much different than having a conversation with anyone else."

About 90 minutes before, 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick voiced his thoughts and even quoted Psalm 18:39: "You arm me with strength for battle. You make my adversaries bow at my feet."

Indeed, many of his tattoos are faith-based.

Again, that such stars proclaim their belief in a higher being is admirable to many. I lean hard on my faith, too. I just choose not to write about it.

Super Bowl blog, 3 p.m.

Two dogs, a German shepherd and a yellow Labrador, sniffed around my laptop bag Tuesday at the Superdome.

The media filed in for Media Day, but before it reached the arena floor, it lined up its various cases and equipment in neat rows for inspection.

And here came the dogs and their masters.

If the canines checked hard enough, they would have found a post-breakfast banana in my bag. That turned out to be lunch, so I was glad the dogs let the banana slide.

The media was OK with it. Fans and media — everyone who attends big-ticket events these days — know the drill. I've been patted down and "wanded" more times than I can count at airports and sports events.

The low-lifes of this world no doubt would love to blow up the Super Bowl. Not only do I prefer the other option, I also like the peace of mind these safeguards bring.

I remember my anxiety while I staffed a Giants game not long after 9-11. Color me paranoid, but I envisioned a 747 buzzing over the Willie Mays Wall and plowing into us. I wrote and exited as fast as possible and felt terrible. Yes, I let the terrorists win that night. No more. Let those dogs sniff.

Super Bowl blog, 10:30 a.m.

This photo from The Associated Press caught The Bee's Ron Agostini in the front row of Colin Kaepernick's Media Day presentation.

Colin Kaepernick handled his Media Day hour at the podium with grace and humor.

It took him a while to warm up to the kind of off-the-wall questions so normal in this setting ("Do you know Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat?"), but he rolled with it smoothly. He's a bright guy and he totally got it.

The 49ers appeared to be pretty loose today. Granted, they don't play this game until Sunday, but they were cutting up during the post-session team photo.

Coach Jim Harbaugh is in charge 24-7. He even set up the photo man by man.

We're awaiting the Baltimore Ravens' session. I will monitor tight end Dennis Pitta, whose Modesto connections will be explored in a column later in the week. His father, Dennis Sr., was arguably Grace Davis' first great player.

Dan Gonsalves, Davis' first coach, remembered the father well. Too bad the family moved and the son never played in Modesto. Anyway, we've reached halftime of Media Day. Bring on the Ravens.

Super Bowl blog, 7:30 a.m.

Media Day at the Super Bowl remains the communications cattle call of American sports.

Half of this crowd may not know a first down from a First Lady. Football has less and less to do with this day, and this game, with each passing year.

It's no different at the Superdome, about 15 minutes before Turlock's Colin Kaepernick addresses the group.

You can tell he's a marked man. Low-slung bleachers surround his cubicle on three sides.

Only Jim Harbaugh's area commands as much attention.

The scene bears a reminder of how far he's progressed in such a painfully short time, as well as how much is expected of the 25-year-old quarterback on Super Bowl Sunday.

Methinks he won't play along with some of the way-out-there questions he'll get, but who knows?

Jim Harbaugh stretched out his answers Monday a little longer than usual. Kaepernick is one disciplined dude. We'll see what kind of mood he's in.

Part of his appeal nationally is that he's glib and is not in love with his own voice.

I can't imagine him ever going fuill-out corporate Peyton Manning. I don't think he's wired that way.

Check back later today for more blog updates from Ron.

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