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Radio row a place to see and be seen at Super Bowl LVII

PHOENIX — Throw more than 100 media outlets in one giant ballroom, mix in NFL stars, former players and other quasi-celebrities and you get radio row during Super Bowl week.

This year 128 organizations were represented, the most in history, according to the NFL. There are also 6,000 media members from 24 countries accredited to cover the Super Bowl and related events.

Among those spotted this year on radio row were Hall of Fame players Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys star receiver CeeDee Lamb, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and notable Las Vegas performer Carrot Top.

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, who has taken part in radio row both as a player and a member of the media, said it’s a great place to get to know a player.

“For a lot of the media members … it’s an opportunity to sit down and hear people’s stories. Ask a few questions and get to know some people. Some of them you’ve seen before and some you haven’t. … It can drag on a little bit, but it’s an enjoyable time.”

As a media member, McNabb said getting interviews with players and notable figures is best in the morning and early afternoon, when they have yet to do a string of interviews and are ready to call it a day.

“So they’ll let it roll and you’ll probably hear a few things that you didn’t expect,” McNabb said.

Q Myers with Raider Nation Radio in Las Vegas has been at radio row for several Super Bowls. This year the station’s booth was located in one of the media ballroom, with their neighbors behind them being the popular Pat McAfee show.

“It’s really good to be able to peel back the curtain a little bit and provide the listening audience with a little bit of insight,” Myers said. “We’re of course focused on the Raiders, but we also allow ourselves to cover the whole NFL. Or talk to fighters, actors, talk to anyone there that we feel there will be some kind of interest.”

Interviewing a player or celebrity that Myers has little knowledge about often ends up being some of his most memorable interactions.

“Some of the best interviews I’ve done, this year and other years, has been with guys that I’m really not that familiar with or just barely knew,” Myers recalled. “Then all of a sudden I sit down with them for five or six minutes and it’s like, ‘This dude is really cool.’”

That’s when, Myers said, “all of a sudden you get an appreciation for this person and when you see them on Sundays or whatever the situation is, then you remember him from Radio Row, and it’s almost like it’s personal for you.”

With radio row growing past its pre-pandemic numbers, Myers believes radio row will be even bigger next year in Las Vegas.

“Everyone that we’ve talked to say they can’t wait to come to our neighborhood next year,” Myers said. “It’s wild. People are already anticipating what it will look like.”

Radio row also leads to special moments that you might not see anywhere else. Thursday saw that occur, with Myers catching a memorable encounter between a trio of Hall of Fame players in Phoenix.

“I have some buddies who do radio in east Texas and they were supposed to be talking to Tony Dorsett. … but because Tony Dorsett knows Earl Campbell and Earl knows the radio guys, he wheels up and starts to talk to Tony,” Myers said. “Then Emmitt Smith, who is at a Dallas table, looks over and sees Earl Campbell and Tony Dorsett, so he goes over there to talk.

“So I look up and see all three of these Hall of Famers are sitting around a table with a microphone. … It was special to see that much greatness at one table all just having a conversation.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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