Donald Trump, Tony Romo and Martin Luther King's daughter Bernice will all make appearances during CBS's Super Bowl pregame marathon.
ATLANTA—President Donald Trump, Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice, and analyst/sensation Tony Romo will all make appearances Sunday during a Super Bowl pregame marathon hoping to offer something for everyone.
Altogether, CBS has seven hours of football to offer before Super Bowl LIII kicks off, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET with That Other Pregame Show. Moving from CBS Sports Network for the occasion, it will become the first Super Bowl show led by women (producer Deb Gelman and director Linda Malino).
Fans longing to see Romo’s return to the screen after wowing critics in the AFC Championship Game won’t have to wait long after that. He’ll talk with John Elway, Drew Brees and others during a 1 p.m. special, leading up to the beginning of the four-hour Super Bowl Today broadcast at 2 p.m. That show will feature the man Romo replaced in the CBS booth, Phil Simms, who called eight Super Bowls before moving to the studio last season. He'll be joined by James Brown, Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher and Nate Burleson, as well as Ian Eagle.
“I'm going to start the show with Phil on a nice pedestal,” producer Drew Kaliski said. Alongside Burleson, Simms will walk from the locker room to the set live, talking about the experience of playing in—and winning—a Super Bowl. Later in the afternoon, look for him to break down Jared Goff and Tom Brady’s throwing motions and provide a detailed analysis of Brady’s role running the Patriots’ offense.
But Kaliski will mix heavy football discussion with more mainstream fare, too. Joe Namath will come on to discuss the 50th anniversary of Super Bowl III. Russell Wilson participated in a lighthearted spot from a Wilson football factory.
Around 3:30 p.m., CBS will air a pre-recorded interview with the President by Margaret Brennan. Trump reportedly declined a sit down with NBC last year. The football-adjacent presidential conversations have varied widely in tone and topic since President George W. Bush talked with Jim Nantz in 2004. Don’t expect much promotion for the four-minute clip earlier in the pregame, nor much on-air discussion of it once it runs. “We'll do football before,” Kaliski said. “We'll do football after.”
CBS has also put together a feature on Atlanta’s historic role in the civil rights movement. “I just don’t think we could come to Atlanta and do a show for the entire world and not address the civil rights movement,” Kaliski said.
Talking earlier this week, Brown made it clear that he wants the work to be more than just retrospective. “The question is: Have we made significant progress?” Brown said. “Are we getting complacent?... When we talk to these people now, it will be a matter of, that’s what was, where are we today? Have we really made any progress?”
While Los Angeles and New England were common preseason picks to make the Super Bowl, most of the buzz in Atlanta has not revolved around Sunday’s game. On Thursday night, none of ESPN.com’s seven NFL ‘Top Headlines’ were about either team. The no-call that cost the Saints a spot in Mercedes-Benz Stadium—and what to do about it—is still the hottest topic in town. It’ll be CBS’s job to appropriately pivot the conversation and set the table for the big game. Then it’s on the Rams and Patriots to make us forget about everything else.