It was easy to imagine Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and the rest of the Seahawks answering (or not answering) questions as they had for the past two Super Bowls.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — All the expected loonies, whackos, “look-at-me” preeners and, oh, yeah, frustrated reporters were at Super Bowl Media Day at SAP Center.

The event – affectionately described as “the devil’s colon” by one veteran scribe — has been rebranded as “Opening Night” and moved to prime time. But it still retains — and always will – the Media Day sensibility.

In other words, it’s gaudy, ostentatious and gloriously excessive, just like the NFL wants; indeed, demands. This San Jose caucus managed to make Donald Trump seem understated in comparison. It’s a clown show, often with real clowns.


But amid the various folks dressed as superheroes, the guy with the ridiculous hand puppets he erroneously thought were humorous, and the person wrapped head to toe in something resembling orange panty hose, a ghost was present.

Or, more accurately, 53 or so large, over-muscled ghosts – the specter of the Seahawks.

They used to own this event. The past two years, all the quirky personality and star power of the Seahawks was in full force at Media Day, and the media lapped it up. This year, they were just two wins away from a second sequel, which I have little doubt would have been a tour de force.

So, if you were looking for it, you could see the apparition of Marshawn Lynch, defiantly fending off questions and becoming more of a folk hero with each strain of silence. It was at Media Day that Lynch morphed from star running back into national figure.

“I’m all about that action, Boss,’’ was a Media Day creation. So was, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”

If you’ve forgotten how they sounded, don’t worry. You’ll probably see or hear a commercial any second now with Lynch uttering some variation as the catchphrase.

The spirit of Richard Sherman was palpable. Sherman was always a force to be reckoned with at Media Day, though he was wise enough to tone down the bombast. The first year, in the immediate wake of his outburst against Michael Crabtree after the NFC Title game a week earlier, a huge crowd surrounded his booth. Yet Sherman was so sedate that a New York tabloid had the backpage headline, “The Mouth That Bored.”

Certainly, it wasn’t hard for me to imagine Michael Bennett regaling a huge throng of reporters, who remembered how uproariously entertaining he was at last year’s Media Day. Bennett is the best kind of interview: One with no filter, the kind who will say, as he did last year, “I love my wife’s booty. I think my wife has the best butt of all-time.”

I can’t remember if that was before or after Bennett said he was the second most handsome man in the world, after Denzel. Or he explained his beard by saying, “Moses had one, Genghis Khan had one, Jesus had one … it was long too.”

I could envision Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas earnestly holding court, and Pete Carroll having the time of his life, yet again, savoring the forum to explain and extol his unique philosophies of team building. No one seemed to soak up media day with more vigor and joy than Carroll, which, come to think of it, should surprise no one.

As I walked around the facility Monday night, dodging the man in the mini-dress and Dolly Parton wig, it wasn’t hard to imagine what it would have been like this year if the Seahawks had made it back to a third straight Super Bowl. And not just any Super Bowl – one being contested in the stadium of their fading rival, the 49ers.

They would have been riding an unparalleled high, having overcome a sputtering start to the season, having won three road playoff games, having fought back from a huge first-half deficit against the Panthers, having dispatched the division champion Cardinals in their own stadium.

The dynasty talk would have resurfaced. Bennett would have had a chance to update his line from last year about appearing in back-to-back Super Bowls: “It’s like the first time you kiss a woman, and then the second time it’s always better.”

The third time would have been a kick. No doubt there would have been Seahawk fatigue from the media, which is constantly looking for the next big thing. But the way the postseason unfolded, with the miracle win over Minnesota, I think a lot of people had begun to sense that the Seahawks were almost destined to return to the Super Bowl.

That’s a fantasy, of course. It didn’t happen, just as their would-be Super Bowl win over the Patriots last year didn’t happen, either. The Panthers held off a furious Seahawks rally in Charlotte, which is why Cam Newton was in the Russell Wilson seat at Media Day, front and center, wearing a Super Bowl bandanna and a 1,000-watt smile.

And why the Seahawks stars took their talents to the Pro Bowl, which is like sending Sinatra to work the Elks Club talent show.

It was, instead, the Panthers and Broncos who earned the right to endure the inanities of Media Day. I walked up to Peyton Manning’s platform just in time to hear him pick a folded piece of paper out of a hat and read the question aloud: “Who is Taylor Swift dating?” A few minutes later he indulged a guy who asked him to recite, “That’s how I dooz it.”

You had to be there. I was. The Seahawks weren’t. But I felt their spirit even louder and stronger than that stupid puppet.