Madonna dances for the captive Super Bowl media, and Brian Cashman gets ‘fleeced’

Today's tabloids, Feb. 3, 2012. ()
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Each day, the New York tabloids vie to sell readers at the newsstands on outrageous headlines, dramatic photography, and, occasionally, great reporting. Who is today's winner?

Daily News: Most of the front page on this, the last work day before the Super Bowl, is devoted to selling the paper's rather ambitious "52-PAGE SUPER BOWL PULLOUT" with its "BETTORS GUIDE, MATCHUPS, EXPERT PICKS" and "CRUZ POSTER." But because the Super Bowl this year takes place in Indianapolis, and because we are running out of metaphor-milieux in which to draw or Photoshop Giants coach Tom Coughlin or whichever player is the cover star of the moment (Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, etc.), the main image on the page is an image of the cover of the pullout, which pictures Eli Manning in a football uniform driving a racecar over a finish line that is the Giants' end zone, Tom Coughlin standing to the left hoisting a Super Bowl logo like a trophy. And a round sticker at the center allows the News to remind us of a designation that the News wishes New York to take its word for: "N.Y.'S #1 SPORTS SECTION."

There's room for a little news of course, and it's still, at least vaguely, sports-related. It seems that a woman was arrested yesterday for stalking Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. The details of the case are fuzzier than some of the details about the woman, who gave an interview to Deadspin's A.J. Daulerio that was published yesterday. Essentially, the 36-year-old Louise Neathway, according to the News, met Cashman in April of 2011, and by the fall was asking him for $15,000 to fund an unspecified operation. He gave her $6,000. She texted him—a lot. And then the police arrested her. Her lawyers claim Cashman is just trying to get the police to solve a problem with an extramarital affair gone bad; there's not much noise coming from Cashman or the Yankees in return. "CASHANOVA" reads the big black text. "Cops: Yanks GM stalked & fleeced by lovestruck lady."

New York Post: Well, the Post just gives its whole front to the Super Bowl, sort of. Media Week is almost over, so fake news about people related, however distantly, to Super Bowl events, is about to end. Gisele Bundchen was managed for the front yesterday, and today it's Madonna. The singer will perform at halftime, and last night she did a salsa dance in honor of Victor Cruz, who is a Puerto Rican football player on the Giants. "VICTORY DANCE" reads the main hed in knockout white next to a giant silhouette of Madonna. "Giant steps by big Cruz fan Madonna."

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Madonna is doing a lot of things with other people to get herself in the news: kissing Nicki Minaj and now salsa-ing for Victor Cruz. Anyway, Cruz is the star in the Post's lights in large part because he is "writing a diary" for the paper every day leading up to the big game.

Madonna leaves just enough room at the bottom of the page to flag the Post's own pullout, which is not really a pullout because the page numbers continue through it; it just happens to be a bunch of the center pages in the tabloid (43 through 74; and for what it's worth, it, too, transposes players in Sunday's game into another sport: Tom Brady and Eli Manning's heads are shopped onto the bodies of two boxers, and they look ridiculous).

Observations: As much as I love the news-making possibilities of football, especially when a home team is about to play for a championship, I will be very glad when "media week" is over and "football weekend" begins. That said, I'm not sure how big the News needed to sell its 52-page pullout; I think the Post will get the same pickup from its little reefer at the bottom. And yet, if I have to compare the Cashman maybe-scandal to Madonna dancing for reporters, there's a pretty clear winner.

Winner: Daily News.