LAS VEGAS — Shenanigans are the name of the game at Opening Night, a Super Bowl custom unlike any other.
Andy Reid’s press conference opened with a question from a vastly younger lookalike wearing Chiefs paraphernalia, a mustache, headset and holding a color-coded playsheet in front of his face.
The “Blue Man Group” troop that kicked off the three-hour, made-for-TV session marched from player to player to pose for selfies.
Guillermo Rodriguez, a TV personality from “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” interviewed players and then handed them a sharpie as he revealed a grid of Super Bowl score squares on his bare belly.
Chiefs safety Justin Reid took the bait, and the marker, before signing his name on the man’s gut.
“This is crazy,” Justin Reid said.
The 49ers hit the field carrying an oversized boom box typically controlled by left tackle Trent Williams.
Williams said he wouldn’t give away any decisions yet, but said NBA YoungBoy has been the team’s sound during the entirety of their playoff run.
“As long as we keep winning, we keep the music the same,” Williams said.
Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie was stumped when asked for his favorite Taylor Swift song, and head coach Andy Reid drew a blank, too.
“Nothing from me. Travis (Kelce) knows a few,” Reid said with a chuckle. “My wife knows them. She can sing all of them.”
BOOK OF ISIAH
Plenty has been written about seventh-round pick and Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft Brock Purdy lifting the 49ers back to the Super Bowl. Don’t forget about Isiah Pacheco.
The Chiefs’ second-year running back was selected 11 spots ahead of Purdy. On Sunday in Super Bowl LVIII, Pacheco would become the first player at his position to start Super Bowls in each of his first two pro seasons since Tony Dorsett in 1977-78 with the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’m not surprised, not surprised to be here,” said Pacheco, who unseated first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire after entering the league as the 251st overall pick. “I would say this was all predetermined, destined. I am meant to be here.”
MEET ME IN MURFREESBORO
At least three players at Super Bowl LVIII can find Murfreesboro on the U.S. map.
The Tennessee town and location of Middle Tennessee State University has been home to 49ers Pro Bowl cornerback Charvarius Ward and Chiefs linebacker Darius Harris and wide receiver Richie James, who stretch the streak of Super Bowls with former Blue Raiders on the field to five in a row.
Ward, who broke into the NFL with the Chiefs in 2018 and signed with the 49ers as a free agent in March 2022, played against James (then with San Francisco) when the teams squared off in Super Bowl LIV.
“It’s better over here,” Ward said. “In every way.”
Ward, whose Chiefs team claimed the title four years ago, wouldn’t say that Kansas City made a mistake letting him go.
“But it was a great addition for the 49ers,” Ward said.
Ward was undrafted and signed out of college by the Cowboys in 2018, then was traded to the Chiefs during his rookie training camp.
–Field Level Media
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