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The Caw: The Craziness Surrounding The AFC Championship


It's tough to get a question asked – or even a slice of pizza – these days.

One minute my question during a press conference is getting cut off by ESPN's Sal Paolantonio or some other media big timer. Then I walk into the media room and every single slice of 25 large pizzas has been scarfed.

This is what happens during the week of the AFC championship. The media frenzy is stifling (but in a good way). 

The Ravens had 14 television cameras for Wednesday's press conferences with John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Corey Graham. They NFL Network was broadcasting it live and even had my mug on live television asking a couple questions.

The Ravens public relations team estimated the number of interview requests they've received is upwards of a couple hundred – over four days.

Asked what he learned from the experience of going to the AFC championship last year, wide receiver Torrey Smith pointed at dealing with the media.

"Don't get caught up in all this hype," he said with a laugh. "It's just a football game. We go out there and play for 60 minutes. If we can play to the best of our ability we'll get it done."

The usually chatty Smith officially logged off Twitter Wednesday night. He's shutting himself off from it.

Part of the annoyance is that there's a lot of out of town reporters. So coaches and players get very broad questions that all of us locals have already written about many times before. It's questions like: "How has Torrey Smith grown?"

I think that's why Harbaugh said this to begin his Monday press conference:

"Appreciate seeing everybody, especially appreciate seeing the guys who are here every week. Thanks."

Guard Marshal Yanda had grown weary by Thursday. When I approached him to ask about the media horde, he groaned and asked, "This isn't another interview about Vince Wilfork is it?"

No. I want to know how players deal with it.

"You just put the blinders on and you focus on what you've been doing the previous 18 weeks," he said. "All the attention is on us because there are only four teams left. All the reporters don't have anything else to do but be in here. But we just have to go about our business like a pro."

Anyways, let's hope the craziness hits a whole new level next week.

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