The Clueless Person’s Guide to Super Bowl LVII
Almost 100 million Americans watched the Super Bowl in 2022. Compare that to the average Monday Night Football game this year, enjoyed by “only” about 20 million sports fans. If you’re one of those 80 million or so casual viewers, I’ve assembled a thumbnail sketch of the themes, dramas, and players to watch for in Super Bowl LVII to give some context to The Big Game.
Where and when is Super Bowl 57?
State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ will host Super Bowl LVII (or 57, if you prefer modern numerals) on Feb. 12. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST. It will air on Fox, and stream through any service that carries Fox, including Hulu, Fubo, Sling, AppleTV, and more.
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What teams are playing in Super Bowl 57?
This year, the Kansas City Chiefs will be facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles. This isn’t a season where a fluke of scheduling or injuries resulted in a less-than-worthy team making it to the big show (except your team, Sports Fan. They was robbed!) Both teams are excellent, with matching 14 and 3 records during the regular season. The Eagles are currently favored to win, but barely: The spread has been hovering under three points, so it’s anyone’s game, and gamblers expect a close one.
Quarterback face-off: Mahomes versus Hurts
Both the Eagles and Chiefs are led by ridiculously good quarterbacks, but each has suffered a late-season injury that could be the deciding factor in the game. Patrick Mahomes has an ankle injury, while Jalen Hurts is plagued by a shoulder issue. Maybe the time off between playoffs and Super Bowl will be enough for them both to experience full recoveries—but maybe not.
The easy read on the difference between the two quarterbacks is that Mahomes is passing quarterback while Hurts is a running quarterback. While that’s true to a point, Hurts’ passing game is anything but weak, and Mahomes will take the ball across the line himself if needed.
Overall, the Chief’s offense is heavier on passing, while the Eagles are known for a more balanced mix between the air and ground games. But again, you don’t get to the Super Bowl without being dominant in all aspects of football.
Defending against Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes is a walking highlight reel—the dude’s innovative, casual athleticism and almost supernatural passing game put him in the rarified air of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. But none of that will mean anything if the Eagles defense, regarded as among the best in the NFL, shows off its terrifying pass rush.
The Eagles led the league in sacks this season, and it wasn’t close. The Birds tackled the QB 70 times, where the second place team managed “only” 55 sacks. The second place team was the Chiefs, though, so it’s not a one-sided defensive battle.
A pair of Super Bowl firsts: Brother vs. brother, and two Black QBs
For the first time in Super Bowl history, siblings will be facing off against each other: Both Jason and Travis Kelce have been to the pro bowl multiple times, and they are both locks for the Hall of Fame. Travis plays tight end for the Chiefs, where his older brother Jason is the Eagles’ star center.
Another first for Super Bowl 57: This is the first time both Super Bowl teams are headed by Black quarterbacks. Only three Black quarterbacks have ever led a team to Super Bowl victory, and one of them of is Patrick Mahomes, who took home the ring after the Chiefs defeated the 49ers in Super Bowl 54.
Coach versus coach: Age meets experience
Kansas City coach Andy Reid has been around the block—his first head coaching spot dates back to 1999. Over the last five years, Reid led the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC championship game five times and brought them to the Super Bowl in three of the past four years, but he cut his teeth in Philly, coaching the Eagles for 14 seasons, beginning in 2001. While the split between Reid and the Birds seemed as amicable as these things can be, there has to be a part of Reid that wants to show his old team a thing or two.
Standing in Reid’s way is Nick Sirianni. Known for his aggressive, risk-taking style, Sirianni is a spry 41, and he’s only been an NFL head coach since 2021, when he took the job leading the Eagles. An outspoken favorite among Philly fans, Sirianni is no doubt hungry for the ring.
Who is playing at the halftime show?
Enough sports; let’s talk music! This year, the halftime show will feature singer/icon Rihanna. I would bet a sizable sum of money that a number of guests showing up, but none have been announced. It’s not a competition, but if it was, Rihanna better have something amazing planned to top last year’s excellent halftime show, which featured Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar.
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