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Super Bowl XLVIII buzz: Waldo, Regis and 'Pick Boy'

Phillip Hajszan interviews Seattle Seahawks' Bruce Irvin during

Phillip Hajszan interviews Seattle Seahawks' Bruce Irvin during media day for Super Bowl XLVIII in Newark, N.J. (Jan. 28, 2014) Credit: AP

NEWARK, N.J. -- Media day at the Super Bowl was once just a day designed solely for sports writers to gather quotes for a week's worth of stories.

Sounds pretty drab, right? It was.

Then somewhere along the way, a handful of the thousands of credentialed media members started showing up in costume, an attempt to capture some unique player interaction while drawing attention to themselves, too.

Over the top? Of course.

But in this age of bland player quotes and often button-down interaction with media, the presence of these "reporters" at this annual event adds a little lighthearted charm.

Here are their stories:

There's Waldo

For the last five years, Tommy Kjaersgaard covered the Super Bowl media day for his Denmark television just like everyone else. Injuries, strategy, bulletin-board quotes, that's what Kjaersgaard was after.

This year, not so much.

"We spent five years being serious," he said. "This year we said, 'Let's be one of the goofballs.'"

So Kjaersgaard showed up at Prudential Center dressed as -- wait for it -- Waldo.

The 30-year-old wore a red-and-white striped shirt, blue scrubs for pants and a poofy knitted hat with a ball on top.

On Tuesday, he stood about 30 feet away from the players, milling about reporters who we're talking amongst themselves or checking their phones. Then his camera crew asked players, in between normal Super Bowl questions, whether they could, yes, find Waldo.

Most players went along with it.

"Champ Bailey was the only one who couldn't find Waldo," he said. "I don't think he was too into it. He didn't want to look at first, then looked around quickly and said he gave up. But really, if you can't find Waldo, how do you expect to win the Super Bowl?"

For the record, when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made his way to his podium, he stopped, pointed and said, "Hey, look, there's Waldo."

Mozart remixed

Phillip Hajszan, 29, came dressed in what he described as "an old Mozart costume."

Hajszan works for an Austrian television station and their idea was to go around asking players to recite lines from the 1985 hit "Rock Me, Amadeus" by Austrian pop artist Falco that was about Mozart.

"Then we'll take all their words and put it together on tape to play the whole song," he said.

Players have come to accept the silliness that's bound to come their way on Media Day, so most obliged. Of course, Hajszan and his crew spent most of their time talking to backups, as it would take a half hour to navigate the scrum around, say, Peyton Manning.

Pick Six

Nickelodeon's "Pick Boy" -- a grown man in a superhero costume, complete with cape -- is perhaps the most experienced of these garbed media members.

Pick Boy, who stayed in character to the point where he declined to reveal his name, said this is his sixth straight appearance at Media Day.

"But I've been a full time superhero my whole life," he said.

Every year he and his television crew go around to players asking them legitimate Super Bowl trivia questions, typically stumping them at some point.

He says he's been around this for so long no one bats an eye anymore.

"We've been doing this long enough that the players treat me as if I'm a part of the team," he said.

But while his nickname lends itself to an obvious Super Bowl prediction, Pick Boy declined to weigh in.

"Obviously I'm the world's greatest picker," he said, "so if I gave you my pick, I'd ruin the game for the world."

Regis reigns

Regis Philbin also was roaming the crowd, though not in costume.

But he did provide perhaps the oddest moment on a day filled with oddities.

Philbin, working with Fox, positioned himself behind Peyton Manning's podium toward the end of the Broncos' session because the producers wanted Manning and Regis to walk off together.

But soon, people noticed Regis and a crowd gathered, including Ricardo Lamas, who fights Jose Aldo for the featherweight title at the UFC event here at the Prudential Center on Saturday.

Before long Regis had the UFC championship belt in his hand, and it was on.

Regis stepped on a photographer's ladder, held up the belt and yelled that people need to go through him to get that belt.

Meanwhile, Manning kept answering questions, unaware of the circus behind him.

New York Sports