Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Super Bowl In Los Angeles To Take Place Between Los Angeles Rams And Cincinnati Bengals; Former Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores Files Lawsuit Against NFL Claiming Racial Discrimination In Hiring Process; Former NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning Discusses His New Sportscasting Show; Former NFL Quarterback Troy Aikman Discusses Sportscasting For NFL Games. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 12, 2022 - 14:30   ET




ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: For the first time since 1993, the Super Bowl is back in Los Angeles. The matchup a Hollywood script.

CROWD: Who dey, who dey, who dey think they going to beat them Bengals?

SCHOLES: Joe Burrow has the Cinderella Bengals a win away from glory.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joey Bird, he's got ice in his veins.

JOE BURROW, CINCINNATI BENGALS QUARTERBACK: Whatever anybody wants to call me is OK with me.

SCHOLES: Standing in their way, the star-studded Rams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These opportunities are what you play the game for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It definitely would mean a little bit more to have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl at home.

SCHOLES: We'll talk to former champions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you get into a Super Bowl, anything can happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I expected a close game and a really exciting game.

SCHOLES: And we hear from the greatest of all time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the greatest to ever do it.

(LAUGHTER) SCHOLES: This is "Kickoff in Los Angeles, A CNN Bleacher Report Special."


SCHOLES: Hello, I'm Andy Scholes, and welcome to a sunny and hot California. Certainly, a buzz here in L.A. as the Rams are the second team ever to play a Super Bowl at their home stadium. The only place probably more excited about tomorrow's game is Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals, they have never won a Super Bowl, they haven't played in the big game since 1989. Since then, they have been one of the worst teams in the NFL. Their fans have certainly been through a lot the last three decades. And we went to Cincinnati to see how they are feeling now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Bengals' Super Bowl chances rest on his right foot. The kick is up. It is good!


CROWD: Who dey, who dey, who dey think they're going to beat them Bengals?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How happy are you, dad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Cincinnati Bengals are headed to Super Bowl LVI.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see their reactions on social media, to see the emotion and passion around this team, this city is on fire right now for our Cincinnati Bengals. It's awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing I did is I called my dad, and I got him crying, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was at the AFC championship game, cried my eyes out. I'm ready to do it again. Who dey, baby?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see more people out, more in their orange and black, more shouting "Who dey" than ever before. It is everything. We believe we are ready, and it's time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot of swagger, a lot of energy, a lot of excitement here in the city. Everybody is wearing the Bengal gear. We can't even keep black and orange on the shelves and hangers. It's crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Joe Burrow has done that. He's made the Bengals cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The swagger of Joey Bags.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joey franchise.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't go wrong with Joe Shiesty.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It starts with Joe Burrow. He brings his calm, cool, collected demeanor. And that transfers to the rest of the team, and weirdly, that transfers to the rest of the city as well. We are feeling it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This fan base I think is the most deserving fan base in the NFL. What we suffered through, we deserve a Super Bowl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be great for us, the alumni. We are rooting them on, we are behind them 1,000 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we win the Super Bowl, you will see this town party like you have never seen us party before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would mean everything. We have been waiting three decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't put into words how much it would mean if the Bengals won the Super Bowl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to die a happy man at that point if the Bengals get that Super Bowl win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't even imagine. The energy in the city right now is crazy already, and we have not even won it all yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This tiger is going to have some tears rolling out of these eyes because it's been a long time coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who dey think going to beat them Bengals? Nobody. Not those Rams, baby. Who dey, Cincinnati.


SCHOLES: Cincinnati is certainly pumped up. And joining me now is my CNN+ colleague Cari Champion. Cari, thanks for being here.


SCHOLES: Can you imagine that we may live in a world where the Cincinnati Bengals are Super Bowl champions tomorrow?

CHAMPION: I can believe that, but it feels very special. It's such a Cinderella story. I love their head coach's story. The first two seasons he wins only collectively six games. And then you have Joe Shiesty, my favorite and what he did.


Rookie year, he gets injured. He comes back, and he leads them to the Super Bowl. It is so special, is feels so destined. But I am from L.A., so I feel a way about how happy I feel for them. But it's a big deal.

SCHOLES: Why don't we get your predictions a little bit later in this show.

But much of the leadup to tomorrow's game, it has been overshadowed by former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and the law suit he has filed against the NFL, claiming racial discrimination in the hiring process that all these coaches go through. Commissioner Roger Goodell was peppered with questions about this earlier this week in his state of the league address. He didn't offer any real solution. Are there solutions? How does this get fixed?

CHAMPION: That's a great question, and I think everyone has been asking about solutions. And I'm going to say something that's very honest, and I think people need to speak about this in a very candid way. You cannot force billionaires, 32 owners, if you will, to hire someone they don't want to be hired. I often hear things saying, oh, let's investigate the NFL. You can't investigate the NFL. They can't investigate their bosses. It is logically just not possible.

It's unfortunate because what's happening is you're seeing that black head coaches by and large are being discounted because they are just not in the club, and that's sad. What can be done is transparency. We can try to redo the Rooney rule, we can try to make sure that it's being enforced and not just to check boxes. But at the end of the day, the work really has to come from ownership, and that is where the pressure needs to be.

SCHOLES: I heard something similar. I spoke with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders about this recently, and I asked him, why aren't black coaches being given more opportunities? Take a listen to what he had to say.


DEION SANDERS, TWO TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: You can't tell a white billionaire who to hire. This guy who has made the correct choices in his life to be where he is in life, and you are going to tell him to who to hire? That's not going to work. That's not going to happen.


SCHOLES: And so Deion, Cari, kind of echoed what you said. It is up to the owners. What is your reaction? CHAMPION: I thought, and people might be shocked by that, but he is

absolutely correct. I think that if I owned a business, no one could tell me who I should hire.

However, the problem is that when you're in these special group, these billionaires, you don't see the brown faces, you don't see marginalized faces, so you're not given a chance to really get to know that person and socialize with them, which is why there is this is this stereotype or this belief that these head coaches can't get the job done.

I go back to the head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals briefly. He was given two years to get it together. Two years. He won six games over two years. Everyone isn't given that opportunity that is not brown or black.

SCHOLES: He only got one.

CHAMPION: One. It's just not fair, and they need to start looking at it in that perspective. And then you can probably see some sort of change.

SCHOLES: All right, well, there was a lot of talk on Wednesday at Roger Goodell's press conference, not a lot of solutions offered. We'll see what that NFL comes up with this off season, because they said they are going to something about the Rooney rule.

CHAMPION: Something, yes.

SCHOLES: So we'll wait and see what it is But don't go far Cari --

CHAMPION: I won't.

SCHOLES: -- because I want to get your thoughts on this year's halftime performance a little later on in the show.

But coming up next, two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning is going to talk to us about the Manningcast, and he reveals what he sent to Tom Brady after Brady announced his retirement.



SCHOLES: SCHOLES: Welcome back to SoFi Stadium. Could we see a Manningcast Super Bowl one day? Peyton and his brother Eli had a huge hit, and they've extended their deal with ESPN through 2024. And I caught up with Peyton earlier. I asked him about his budding broadcasting career and if we could eventually see him as an NFL owner one day.


SCHOLES: All right, Peyton, the Manningcast, it was so much fun to watch this year. When you guys came up with the idea, did you think that it was going to be this big of a success right away? PEYTON MANNING, TWO-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: Well, we really didn't

know what to expect. And we really didn't believe that it was actually going to happen. Eli and I were like, wait a minute, we get to watch football together with our brother from our house? Yes. That sounds awesome.

And we haven't done that since the early 90s when we were in New Orleans growing up. If the game is exciting, you're talking about the game. If the game is not great, you're talking to Charles Barkley or Condoleezza Rice or Marshawn Lynch or Sue Bird just about how much they love football. So it was really fun for Eli and I to see how many people in different fields really love football.

SCHOLES: You were hilarious on "SNL" again recently, even though I had no idea what show you were talking about. How much do you enjoy doing comedy?

MANNING: It was fun to do. That Washington kind of a father-daughter trip, if you will. I took my son to the Packers-49ers game at Lambeau Field in the element, and he came home talking about how great it was. And my daughter missed it. So I kind of reached out to "Saturday Night Live" and I said, I know you all have been trying to get me to do a weekend update. What about this weekend, I am going to bring my daughter down there? So it was fun for her to come behind the scenes.

And look, I like to laugh at myself. I don't take myself that seriously. That's what "Saturday Night Live" is all about.


MANNING: The French have a saying, "Parlez-vous francais?" which means, you do you, girl.



MANNING: I have never seen "Emily in Paris." I think I'm going to get asked that, a cameo on the show after all the attention we created for it, but it was a lot of fun to do.

SCHOLES: They certainly owe you for something after how many people probably went straight to Netflix to watch it after the "SNL" skit. But Peyton, you've had so many catchy commercial over the years, chicken parm, you taste so good, football on your phone, which I always thought was just an incredible ad plus song all in general. What do you have in store for the Super Bowl on Sunday?

MANNING: I am really excited to be teamed up with Michelob Ultra, and Serena Williams, Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Butler, Alex Morgan, Nneka, female athletes and male athletes coming together, hanging out in a bowling alley, and we're talking about the joy of life, right, and the joy of the journey. Think about how much fun Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow are having. They're enjoying the moment.

[14:45:04] We were having a little bit of a competition in a bowling alley. It was a lot of fun to be a part of, and you still feel like you are a part of the Super Bowl in some way even though you are not playing. It's still kind of cool.

SCHOLES: Now, Peyton, your former team, the Broncos, they are now for sale. What are the chances we see you as an NFL owner?

MANNING: I keep looking at that $5 billion it is going to cost, but I can't find it. It is not just sitting around. It's just amazing the numbers that they're talking about it possibly getting to. There's a lot of interest out there, but because it is such an iconic and important franchise, and really out of respect for what Pat Bowlen has built, I see it. I see why there is the interest.

So I don't know. I don't have a plan. I haven't formed any partnerships or alliances with anybody. I have had some conversations. I live here, I go to the games, I cheer for the Broncos. I am friends with the staff and the players, and so I still feel like I'm a part of it just as a fan and maybe as an ambassador. So we will see if something else happens along the way.

SCHOLES: The last few weeks in the football world, it's been reflecting on the amazing career of Tom Brady. You were Brady's biggest rival. You guys really pushed each other to be the best. How important do you think brady was to your success, and vice versa?

MANNING: Well, Tom and I have such great respect for each other. And look, I am just honored to call tom a friend. And great competition on the field, but a lot of fun moments together off the field. And I have so much respect for the level that he played at for as long as he played it. He did it the right way.

There's no doubt that when the Colts teams that I've played on, the Broncos teams that I've played on, when we were playing the Patriots and Tom Brady, you had to be at your best. You had to be on your a- game. He brought that out of you. So there's no question that he definitely raised the bar for anybody competing against him. But I wrote him a handwritten note just yesterday, I told him, I said a text doesn't do justice to a 22-year career like you've had. So I sat down and wrote him a handwritten letter and just told him how much I respected him, how much I appreciated the commitment, the dedication, the discipline. It's extremely impressive, and what an awesome career.


SCHOLES: That letter is one cool piece of sports memorabilia.

Tomorrow is Joe Burrow versus Matthew Stafford matchup, just the second time that we have ever had two quarterbacks picked first overall square off in the Super Bowl. And coming up, another former top overall pick, Troy Aikman, is going to break down the matchup.


[14:51:30] SCHOLES: Welcome back to Los Angeles. Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford took very different paths to get to this Super Bowl. Stafford with the Lions for 12 years, never winning a playoff game. Burrow, meanwhile, tried to become the first quarterback ever to win the Heisman Trophy, National Championship, and Super Bowl.

And I spoke with three-time Super Bowl champion Troy Aikman here in Los Angeles to get his thoughts on this quarterback matchup.


SCHOLES: Troy, back in the day you were once the top overall pick in the draft, made it to a Super Bowl in your fourth season. How impressed are you that Joe Burrow has gotten there in his second season?

TROY AIKMAN, 2006 PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Pretty incredible. I love everything about the guy and what he's been able to do, and real proud of that organization. And Joe Burrow, obviously he is the ringleader of that group, and he does everything right. I love everything about him. I love how he carries himself. I love how he has galvanized that team and the confidence that he brings to that locker room.

I think when you get into a Super Bowl, anything can happen, because the game is so big and how do players handle the emotion of that, and we've seen a lot of crazy things happen over the years. And we've seen a lot of teams that no one gave a chance to win, and they've begun their story, and maybe this is what happens for Cincinnati.

SCHOLES: Throwing the ball on the other side is Matthew Stafford. He's waited so long for this moment. The Rams traded for him for this moment. How much pressure do you think is on him for the game Sunday?

AIKMAN: I think there was pressure on him throughout the season to get to this point. I really don't feel like he has any more pressure than what Joe Burrow may feel or any player on the field. I think he's gotten them to this point, he knows how he was able to do it. And the key for him is just to be able to go out and relax and play. But I think he proved throughout the whole season it was about he hadn't won a playoff game. He hadn't beaten teams with 500 records, and all the things that went against him when he was in Detroit. Now he's got a good team and we've seen what he's been able to do, and he played flawless really throughout the post season.

SCHOLES: You and Joe Buck has been calling the top FOX game for the last two decades.


SCHOLES: How many times have you called a Bengals game in the last 20 years?

AIKMAN: Well, not many. Not many.

(LAUGHTER) AIKMAN: We took on the Thursday night package, and so we've gotten some Cincinnati games early in the season. As far as when we last called one when they were a marquee matchup, that goes back quite some time for a Sunday afternoon game.

So this is fantastic. I just love it for the NFL. I love it for Bengals fans. Fans that wait a long time and they invest in these clubs and they get heartbroken each year, to be able to have a year like this in the Super Bowl I think is awesome.

SCHOLES: You're not working this week, not calling this year's Super Bowl. What's keeping you busy?

AIKMAN: I came out with my own beer, and so I've been talking about it, which came out February 1st, and it's doing fantastic. It's exclusive to Texas. It's called Eight Elite Light Lager. It's a low calorie, low carb beer. I do like beer and I like celebrating with family and friends in special moments. And so I thought if we could do something that's different than what's on the market, and I do feel that this category needed something fresh and new, then I was all in favor of doing it.


SCHOLES: And I'm sure lots of beer will be consumed this weekend.

Here's a fun fact as we go to break. Tomorrow's game is going to feature the youngest coaching matchup in Super Bowl history. The Rams Sean McVay is 36 years old. His former assistant, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, 38. They're breaking the combined age record by almost nine years.




COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Just a prediction, Los Angeles Rams playing in their home stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals, who haven't been to the Super Bowl in like three decades. Who are you taking?

NATHAN CHEN, BEIJING 2022 FIGURE SKATING SINGLES GOLD MEDALIST: That's hard to say. I like both teams. I like Joe Burrow, I like OBJ. I don't know, it's going to be hard. But I might take the Rams on this one.

WIRE: The quad king is going with the rams. I like your pick. I'm going with the Rams, too.

SHAUN WHITE, THREE-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: We have a 10-hour layover in Tokyo. I fly from there straight to L.A. and then go straight to the game. So I'm pumped. I've never been. I'm excited my first one.

WIRE: Who do you have?

WHITE: I've got to go rams, right?

WIRE: I think so.

WHITE: Yes, hometown.


SCHOLES: That's our Coy Wire in Beijing. You've got Nathan Chen, Shaun White, everyone going to Rams. Cari Champion back with me now. Cari, who you got tomorrow?

CHAMPION: I say this homegrown from L.A., I'm going with the Rams, but unpopular opinion. Again, the Bengals story feels special, so if they win, I wouldn't be surprised. But I'm going Rams.

SCHOLES: It's certainly hard to bet against Joe Burrow after everything we've seen the past three years.

Before we go, I want you to talk about one of the most hyped halftime shows we've had in a very long time -- Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and of course, Snoop Dogg. What are you most looking forward to tomorrow?

CHAMPION: The concert. I hear there's a football game and there's a concert.


CHAMPION: So the reality is, is this is an ode to Los Angeles in a very special way. You're looking at the generations of different rappers, west coast rappers that really set it off here.


And I think it's special with Kendrick Lamar really being that new generation, that next passing the torch, if you will. Dr. Dre was the genesis of it all when it came to West Coast rap because of the producer he was. And I'm just excited about it.

SCHOLES: Yes. Hopefully it'd bring me back to my college days.

CHAMPION: Yes. We're dancing. We're dancing.

SCHOLES: All right. Thanks, Cari. On behalf of all of us here in Los Angeles, enjoy the game. The news continues right now, Jim Acosta.