For the past few days, the sports world descended upon the most unlikely place.
New York City? Try again.
Houston? Not this time.
Try Birmingham, Alabama.
SEC Media Days, a menagerie of media members, tv cameras, bow ties, college football players and some of the best college football coaches in the nation, took place in the Wynfrey Hotel in Birm...I mean, Hoover, AL. 1200 media members were granted credentials for the four day extravaganza to sit and listen to 42 players and 14 coaches wax poetic about any number of things.
And, we decided to go and why not? Texans training camp is weeks away. The Barnum and Bailey circus was in NRG. The players and coaches certainly were not. So, where was the content? Well, we decided to go find it. In Alabama.
The week of SEC Media Days was perfectly planned. Wimbledon had just finished over the previous weekend. The MLB All-Star game took up only a marginal portion of the action during the week. The British Open didn't begin until the last day of Media Days on Thursday. The NFL is still in hibernation until late-July.
So, maybe it's for those reasons. Maybe it's the fact that people just want college football/NFL football to be here. But, the general populace seemingly hung on every southern fried word that emanated from Birmingham.
When we showed up and walked down Media Row, we got a bunch of glares and there was actually a guy that said it just a little too loudly.
"WHY ARE THE TEXANS HERE?"
Our Texans media contingent strolled past knowing that we were the first NFL team to embark on SEC Media Days but it made sense, even if no one saw or understood it initially.
The Texans training camp roster has 20 players from the SEC. The Texans drafted six players from the SEC over the past two years, including Jadeveon Clowney who was STILL brought up unprompted two years after his career concluded at South Carolina.
LSU head coach Les Miles talked about Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard and what great players and men they are.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt gave us the skinny on Ben Jones, Akeem Dent and Corey Moore and a tremendous story as to how Jones ended up as a UGA Bulldog.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen flashed his Yeezys (Kanye West inspired sneakers), as he called them, as he praised Bernardrick McKinney and gave us the backstory of how he developed into one of the greatest players in MSU history.
All-star media members like Andy Staples from SI.com, Bruce Feldman from Foxsports.com, Ron Higgins from NOLA.com and Peter Burns from the SEC Network know the players the Texans drafted more than most. We spoke to all of them.
We met media members throughout the Southeast that wanted to talk to US about the NFL.
"Hey, how is (insert Texan player here) doing? Will he make the team? How's Clowney doing?"
I did interviews with radio stations from Florida, Texas and Mississippi to name a few.
In the end, we decided to take a different look at this Texans roster and life in NRG Stadium. By the end of the week, we no longer got any of those goofy looks. In fact, the crew from the University of Missouri told us that they thought it was great that we were there.
It's hard to completely explain what it's like to be at this festival of football, but I'm sure glad we were there to experience it.
A collection of photos from SEC Media Days.