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Graney: Celebs, bugs and, yes, football at Super Bowl Opening Night

It has become more corporate than absurdity, more serious than silly.

Super Bowl Opening Night really is about the participating teams now.

The Chiefs and 49ers gathered in the same Allegiant Stadium as they will contest Super Bowl 58 on Sunday.

And what you received Monday was more chaotic news conference than anything else.

Along with thousands of fans at $30 a pop for the right to see and hear from their favorite players.

Of which a large majority of those screaming from the stands were on San Francisco’s side.

Hey. It’s early in the week.

The NFL moved Super Bowl Media Day into prime time several years ago. So this was more about talk of first downs and touchdowns, of how the Chiefs intend on slowing Christian McCaffrey and how the 49ers will avoid disappearing under the spell of Patrick Mahomes’ magic. That sort of stuff.

Guillermo showed again

You had some of the usuals attend Monday, led by sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez of Jimmy Kimmel fame. He was back this time to ask players — among other things — what the Hoover Dam was.

At last count, two had no idea.

There was a drum line and cheerleaders and the Blue Man Group. There was a guy dressed as a Texas Super Cowboys fan, maybe because this as close as his team will get to a Super Bowl again.

One media member dared players to choose one of three openings in a box and reach inside.

The third was the one with a live beetle.

Carrot Top wandered around. Chiefs players were asked what their favorite Taylor Swift song is.

Speaking of the happy couple — Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce spent five or so minutes answering questions about Swift, understanding the fascination that was sure to come from five rows deep of media folks.

“It’s a crazy roller-coaster ride that I didn’t expect, but I’m enjoying every (minute) of it,” Kelce said. “I’m locked into getting a ring. That’s the only thing I’m focused on.”

It was earlier in the day at his annual Super Bowl news conference when commissioner Roger Goodell also addressed the Kelce-Swift relationship, scoffing at the notion the entire thing is a manufactured script to boost even more interest in the NFL by attracting a younger demographic.

“(Swift) is the best of the best,” Goodell said. “There is nobody who could have scripted this. No way … Both Travis and Taylor are wonderful young people. They seem very happy. I think it’s great to have her a part of it.”

Goodell stood in the Raiders’ locker room when delivering his comments, a point of contention and confusion across social media about whether the Chiefs really will be using the room come game day.

They will, and have the Kansas City signage splashed across the walls to prove it.

How does Raiders owner Mark Davis feel about his team’s most bitter rival using the locker room?

“We’re going to bug it,” Davis said jokingly.

It was tradition once Antonio Pierce took over as interim coach this season for the Raiders that players would light up cigars after a win. Sounds as if the Chiefs might have similar plans.

Jakob not having it

“When you win the Super Bowl, you do a lot of things,” one Kansas City player said. “I could definitely see cigars being lit.”

Oh, such a horrific image for Raiders fans.

And, well, players.

Raiders fullback Jakob Johnson is an active member of the media this week and didn’t take kindly to anyone using the locker room, much less the Chiefs.

“If you think about it, it could sting,” he said. “But the NFL is big business, and that’s how it’s done. There’s nothing they can do to disrespect the (practice) facility or the locker room. If you want to, go ahead. There will be a cleaning crew, and you’re just making their life worse if that’s what you really want to do. I’ll take our Christmas Day victory (at Kansas City) and sit on the rest.”

Hey. Some shade thrown.

Now the week can really begin.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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