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Goodell, Wynn, Brady in the mix at Super Bowl party

Updated February 10, 2024 - 3:03 pm

This is where you notice Elaine Wynn across the room, move over to say hello, and she says, “You must know my friend, Roger.” The reference is to Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner and host of the Commissioner’s Party on Friday at Wynn Las Vegas’ Event Pavilion.

The guest list was the Super Bowl of Super Bowl parties. Not far away, seven-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady walked the room, along with Jim and Frann Gray on the same day they announced their Hall of Excellence at Fontainebleau.

Raiders owner Mark Davis chatted with Wynn, Cowboys owner (and avid Vegas fan) Jerry Jones and “CBS Mornings” host Gayle King.

Wynn said to Davis, “The four people who made the Super Bowl possible in Las Vegas were Estes Kefauver, Robert F. Kennedy, E. Parry Thomas, Howard Hughes and Mark Davis.” To Wynn, a member of Vegas royalty, that group eradicated mob ownership in Vegas resorts and (in Davis’ case) delivered an NFL franchise and first-class stadium to the city.

Around the venue, Gladys Knight posed for pics before singing a set that featured “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Wayne Newton performed “Viva Las Vegas” and “Danke Schoen” with David Perrico and the Raiders House Band. Shania Twain closed the show, alongside Ray Parker Jr., playing “You’re Still The One” and “Ghostbusters” in the same set.

Spotted around this scene were Pats owner Robert Kraft, 49ers’ GM John Lynch, new Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh, broadcast color man Cris Collinsworth, Super Bowl champ QB and broadcaster Peyton Manning, guitar great Orianthi, comic actor (and host of Thursday’s highly entertaining “NFL Honors” show at Resorts World Theatre) Keegan-Michael Key and LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill.

NFL Network star Rich Eisen turned up, a personal highlight. I met Rich 30 years ago in Redding, Calif., while he worked at the ABC affiliate and I was a sports writer at the Redding Record Searchlight. We have reconnected through the NFL’s continued and evolving interest in Las Vegas.

Twain, Knight and Newton were the superstar headliners. Vegas shows were further repped by “Awakening’ at Wynn, Kodi Lee of “America’s Got Talent Superstars” at Luxor, Spiegelworld’s “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and “Atomic Saloon Show” at Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, and Cirque’s “Love” at the Mirage.

In a side convo with the commish, we learned he is thrilled with the first Super Bowl in Las Vegas, and the NFL’s relationship with the city generally. He has spent more time in the Super Bowl’s host city than in any other, arriving Monday and staying for the full week.

Goodell said he has loved halftime show performances by U2 in 2002, just after 9/11; and Prince in2007, the beautiful rained-upon performance. The commissioner says he is confident Usher will thrill the masses Sunday. One facet in the halftime show is to bring dance to the party, and Usher has that, in and out of roller skates.

Goodell also saw U2 at the Sphere on Thursday, and was blown away. He also spoke highly of Penn & Teller, who made the exec disappear during the “NFL Honors” show. Everyone involved was nervous in the run-up to that routine, during which NFL legend Barry Sanders appeared in Goodell’s place.

Goodell also made sure to know who are the taller and shorter members of Penn & Teller (Teller shorter, silent on stage). The commissioner is learning, all the time, about the new home of the Super Bowl.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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