Editor’s note: Gilbert Manzano, an NFL reporter for SCNG and a proud Pasadena native, found a table in front of the Rose Bowl Super Bowl XI banner and set up shop for the week. He was at radio row inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, the hub of Super Bowl LVI, and spent “Opening Night” searching for coffee and celebrities. Here’s what he saw and heard from Day 1 of Super Bowl week.
LOS ANGELES — Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase sat in front of the camera for a few awkward minutes of silence before his teammate C.J. Uzomah cracked a joke nearby.
It made Chase chuckle and got him going for the 45-minute virtual Q&A session with reporters to kick off Super Bowl LVI week.
That pretty much summed up how Day 1 at radio row started at the L.A. Convention Center. The streets were empty Monday morning because the Super Bowl Experience, the festival for football fans, is on hiatus until Thursday, and the celebrities and athletes don’t arrive until later in the week.
But not every table under the colorful Super Bowl banners was empty. FOX Sports, Bally Sports, CBS Sports and a few other notable sports outlets were in full swing to break down the big game between the Rams and Bengals.
The guest lineups will pick up throughout the week, but I think I saw Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams talking to CBS Sports for a split second. I’m not entirely sure about that one, but I definitely saw Chargers tight end Jared Cook at radio row. Can’t get that wrong as a Chargers beat reporter. Former NFL quarterbacks Rich Gannon and Ryan Leaf were also in attendance.
Not a lot of sizzle at the Super Bowl LVI headquarters on Monday, but this reporter’s little podcast, Compas on the Beat, made some noise at radio row.
Here are a few notes from Monday’s guests at radio row:
VON MILLER’S CHEF
Kayla Greer was a field goal away from being torn about the Super Bowl LVI matchup.
Greer is a personal chef for Rams outside linebacker Von Miller and Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher Melvin Ingram.
“I wish he was here,” said Greer, who is known as Chef Kay Kay. “I wish Melvin was at Super Bowl week, too.”
Kicker Evan McPherson prevented the Miller-Ingram matchup by nailing the game-winning field goal for the Bengals against the Chiefs in the AFC title game.
Now Greer is fully behind a Rams victory on Sunday and is rooting for Miller to win his second Super Bowl MVP.
This is the second time in three years that Greer has a personal rooting interest in the Super Bowl. She also cooks for Demi Lovato, who sang the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV.
Greer, a Los Angeles native, started her cooking career by being a personal chef for former Clippers DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Gomes. Her career took off when rapper Drake asked her to cater his Super Bowl backyard party of 400 people.
“A friend of mine hit me up if I’m available,” Greer recalled. “She said it’s for Drake and it’s for tomorrow for 400 people. The list had many things. I did not sleep. Just got started.”
Greer, an executive chef at 40 Love in Hollywood, said Ingram, a former Chargers standout, prefers seafood and leaner meats.
“He’s so good musically,” Greer said of Ingram. “I wouldn’t look for athletes to be a rapper. He’s always rapping. It’s like a live studio. If it’s not football, he’s rapping.”
HERBERT’S BOOS IN VEGAS
Amber Theoharis, a host for SiriusXM NFL Radio, was in Las Vegas for the Pro Bowl, where Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was booed on stage while accepting his Offensive MVP award.
“You’re in the Black Hole, baby,” Theoharis recalled about Raiders fans booing Herbert last week. “You’re in Vegas. What do you expect? It’s a Chargers quarterback getting an award. Raider Nation was out in full effect (Sunday) at the Pro Bowl. The scariest people out there at the NFL’s happiest event.”
Herbert likely ignored the boos because he was still thinking about the interception he threw in the fourth quarter of the Pro Bowl.
Theoharis interviewed Herbert after he guided the AFC to a victory against the NFC. She noticed his serious work ethic through his responses, but she added that the Chargers might need to give Herbert more weapons to advance to the Super Bowl in the near future.
“(Bengals quarterback) Joe Burrow, he has Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd,” Theoharis said. “He has all these weapons. That’s what Justin Herbert needs in order to grow long term.”