Super Bowl 2023: Opening night returns with energetic atmosphere

Phoenix, Arizona– Nick Sirianni answered questions about Rocky, Santa Claus and even which of his players on the Philadelphia Eagles he wants to date his 5-year-old daughter when she grows up.

Welcome to Super Bowl Opening Night, where football talk gives way to the wild and crazy.

The circus atmosphere that kicks off the NFL’s biggest week returned Monday for the first time since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced teams to meet with the media via video conference for the past two seasons.

SEE ALSO: There’s an Eagles fan club in a bar in Scottsdale, Arizona that feels like home

Sirianni and the Eagles took the stage first at the Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Suns. “Fly, Eagles, Fly” chants greeted players and coaches before spending an hour answering wide-ranging questions from more than 2,000 members of the media.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni addresses the media during opening night of NFL football Super Bowl 57 Monday, February 6, 2023 in Phoenix.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Red-clad Chiefs fans took over the arena when Kansas City came out and turned it into an indoor version of Arrowhead Stadium.

It was a new experience for many of the Eagles, who have seven holdovers from the team that defeated New England in the Super Bowl five years ago.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are here for the third time in four years and have already gotten a taste of the media extravaganza in Miami 2020.


The Eagles arrive in Phoenix on Monday, February 6, 2023 for opening night of NFL Football Super Bowl 57. The Chiefs play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

For the record, Sirianni loves the Rocky movies. He identifies with Sylvester Stallone’s fictional character, who is as much a part of Philadelphia as the cheesesteak.

ALSO SEE: Philadelphia Eagles fans in Arizona ready to welcome Birds to Super Bowl 57

“I live and train in America’s greatest sports city,” Sirianni said. “It means so much to everyone there. That’s what you want. When you’re a little kid playing in a peewee soccer game, you want everyone to see you. You want your fans to love it. You want them to be there. You want them to wear green on Friday. You want them to throw snowballs at Santa Claus. You want to showcase talent in front of America’s greatest sports city. I love the fact that my kids are growing up in a sports town where football means so much because football means so much to me.”

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, an AP NFL MVP finalist, drew the most crowds in the early stages. Reporters staked out his spot about an hour before the event began. The first question came from Hall of Famer wide receiver Michael Irvin, an analyst for the NFL Network.


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen hurts during Super Bowl opening night at The Footprint on February 6, 2023 in Phoenix, Ariz.

(AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis)

“I feel like there’s no time to think,” Hurts said of his road to fame. “We came here to finish the job.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid received numerous questions about his time in Philadelphia and the food. The cheeseburger fanatic wouldn’t name his favorite city outside of Kansas City, Green Bay and Philly.

“If I do, they won’t let you back in,” he said.

ALSO SEE: Philadelphia Eagles fans in Arizona ready to welcome Birds to Super Bowl 57

Overall, opening night wasn’t quite as outrageous as it has been in years past.

In 2008, a reporter showed up in Arizona in a white wedding dress and veil and proposed to Tom Brady, who was trying to lead the Patriots to the first 19-0 season in NFL history.


Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid addresses the media during opening night of NFL football Super Bowl 57 Monday, February 6, 2023 in Phoenix.

(AP Photo/David J. Philip)

A radio host walked around shirtless with a keg. A TV reporter from Mexico asked people to tail the donkey and then asked them to toss foam footballs into a basket. Some of the Eagles cheerleaders attended.

Otherwise, it was more about weird questions than weird looks.

SEE ALSO: Super Bowl 57: Andy Reid impersonator interferes in the big matchup between the Eagles and the Chiefs

Someone asked Mahomes and Sirianni if ​​this was a must-win game.

Both agreed as politely as possible.

“The job isn’t finished yet,” said Mahomes, who is also an MVP finalist.

Mahomes received the loudest ovation of the evening.

Oh, his absolute favorite song is Rihanna’s “Umbrella”. Rihanna will be the halftime actress, but he won’t be watching.

“Coach Reid said if we go out to watch, just keep walking,” Mahomes said.

Sunday will see the Eagles (16-3) meet the Chiefs (16-3), both seeking their second Super Bowl titles in five years.


Donna Kelce greets her sons, Eagles center Jason Kelce, left, and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce during opening night of NFL football Super Bowl 57, Monday, February 6, 2023.

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Perhaps the most anxious person in the stadium will be Donna Kelce, mother of All-Pros Jason and Travis.

Donna Kelce, who took part in some of the night’s celebrations on stage, wore a jersey that was half green for Jason’s Eagles and half red for Travis’ Chiefs. She had No. 87 for Travis on the front and No. 62 for Jason on the back.

Who’s the biggest mama’s boy?

Donna held up a photo of Travis.

SEE ALSO: Kelce Bowl 2023: Jason, Travis Interview Their Parents; Does Donna want to flip the coin?

Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Super Bowl 2023: Opening night returns with energetic atmosphere

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