By Larry Fine
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Members of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens felt the full force of Super Bowl week on Tuesday when they attended the annual Media Day crush where wacky questions are the norm.
Viewed by some reporters as a sort of Christmas Day for journalists and by others as a torturous free-for-all, Media Day has come to kick off America's biggest sporting extravaganza.
Each team fielded questions for an hour on the Superdome's green artificial turf where they will play for the National Football League title on Sunday.
Thousands of journalists, from sober-minded reporters to others dressed as a clown, a Viking and a yodeler in lederhosen, roamed the field to interview top players sitting at one of 14 podiums and some 50 others along the sidelines.
Six thousand fans paid $25 apiece to sit in the stands and watch the goings-on and listen in via radio to selected scrums around the featured players.
Even practice squad players and those on injured reserve won attention with some radio and TV reporters providing some of the off-beat moments.
Vic "The Brick" Jacobs of FOX Sports Radio in Los Angeles, dressed up as a bespectacled Viking, said he was trying "to bring tranquility amid the tumult."
Dressed as a cross between a cowboy and a clown was "El Trapos," a Mexican reporter for TV Azteca Noreste of Monterrey, who asked serious questions while sporting a red clown nose, rags for hair and a gaucho hat.
Reigning Miss Alabama Katherine Webb, who was part of the media throng as "Inside Edition's" Super Bowl correspondent, broke into dance with 49ers linebacker Clark Haggins after interviewing him.
Food Network chef Aaron Sanchez, asking numerous players and coaches for their favorite food and restaurants, found 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh a tough nut to crack.
"I fail to see the relevance in your question," Harbaugh eventually replied after declining to comment on whether he liked BBQ.
Harbaugh refused to throw Sanchez a bone.
When asked what was his favorite food, the poker-faced Harbaugh said: "whatever is in front of me."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)