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Kevin Harlan, daughter Olivia will make Super Bowl history by calling, covering game

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Posted at 11:13 AM, Feb 06, 2024

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Super Bowl will be a broadcasting family affair.

Veteran radio play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan and his daughter, sideline reporter Olivia Harlan Dekker, will become the first father-and-daughter duo to cover and call a Super Bowl.

"You think of it like the accolades of your career that will end up meaning anything, when all of this is said and done and something you'll tell grandchildren about and that they'll tell grandchildren about, and that's really something to be proud of generationally," Harlan Dekker said. "No one will care about the midseason games you work or how many seasons you even work. But everyone will remember this in our family. So it means the world to me and to make history doing it. I like to think that there's some little girl out there that is going to catch wind of this story in some way, and just think: 'I never thought of that.'"

The 30-year-old Harlan Dekker, who previously covered the NFL and NBA for ESPN, CBS and Fox Sports, now works for Sky Sports' and Westwood One Radio's NFL and NCAA coverage as an in-studio host, presenter and analyst as well as a sideline interviewer.

The 63-year-old Harlan, the son of former Green Bay Packers executive Bob Harlan, is completing his 39th consecutive season as an NFL play-by-play announcer, and is in his 37th season doing NBA play-by-play.

The Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl on Sunday will be his 14th consecutive for Westwood One Radio. He has been the lead NFL radio voice for Westwood One and "Monday Night Football" since 2009. He also does television play-by-play for CBS and calls preseason games for his hometown Packers.

Harlan said he sensed his daughter would have a career in broadcasting when she took a keen interest in the profession growing up. Once she got to the University of Georgia and he saw her work ethic, he knew she'd make it.

"I told her, I said: 'You'll be judged on a different scale than the men. They're going to look at your earrings and your lipstick and your hairstyle and what you're wearing, as opposed sometimes to what you're saying, and so you've got to be a great reporter,'" Harlan said.

"She would miss a lot of social events at her sorority and would be involved in covering games, but not just games, equestrian, swimming, all the events, male and female, that were going on in that campus. And she was a tireless worker and was a perfectionist. She's always been a perfectionist."

WAVING TO RASHEE

Not every NFL player lives in an exclusive enclave surrounded by the rich and famous, especially when they are rookies. And one of the benefits of living among a broader community was experienced by Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice when he left for the airport on Sunday.

Lining the streets Rice's middle-class neighborhood were kids, parents and hundreds of other Chiefs fans, many of them holding up posters and signs. As they waved to Rice, he waved back from his car with a smile on his face.

Rice has been a revelation for Kansas City this season, catching 79 passes for 938 yards and seven touchdowns. The second-round pick out of SMU has helped the Chiefs overcome a wide receiver corps that led the NFL in dropped passes this season and struggled to alleviate the constant double-teams of tight end Travis Kelce.

The postseason hasn't been too big for Rice, either. He has 20 catches for 223 yards and a score in the Chiefs' three games.

BRIGHT LIGHTS

The first Super Bowl played in Las Vegas could offer a few distractions with all the nightlife and excitement of The Strip.

But the teams will be staying about 25 miles away in a quieter locale in hopes of avoiding the glitz — and potential trouble — of Sin City.

There might be time for some players to explore early in the week before practices begin in earnest on on Wednesday.

"This Super Bowl's in Vegas, so you might turn up a little bit the first day or two out there, but after that, really just lock in, focus," San Francisco cornerback Charvarius Ward said. "The whole week is really like a movie, like you're going to see celebrities everywhere. Pregame on the field you might see Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kevin Hart, people like that. But it's still a game at the end of the day. We still got to go out there and try to get the win, especially in the Super Bowl. You don't want to (mess) up in the Super Bowl, so you got to go out there all week and just be locked in, be on your stuff."

Teammate George Kittle said the key is to stick to the routine of rest, rehabilitation and study that players follow in the regular season. The parties can start after the game.

"Vegas. The Strip, all the lights. It is what it is," he said. "But what's really cool would be winning the Super Bowl. Anything else before that is who cares, really."