Super Bowl or Kelce Bowl? – your guide to NFL showpiece
|Venue: State Farm Stadium, Glendale Date: Sunday, 12 February Start: 23:30 GMT (16:30 MST)|
|BBC coverage: Listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and follow live text on the BBC Sport website and app|
Whatever happens in Super Bowl 57, history will be made in Arizona’s state capital of Phoenix on Sunday.
It was thought the Buffalo Bills would be here after the pre-season Super Bowl favourites were carried into the play-offs by an emotional wave of support.
But while their safety Damar Hamlin continued to recover from suffering a cardiac arrest on the field last month, the Bills were stopped by the Cincinnati Bengals.
That got last year’s runners-up excited about the prospect of returning to the NFL’s championship game. Alas, the Bengals were edged out in a thriller by the Kansas City Chiefs.
That ensured a rarity in that the Super Bowl will feature the season’s best two teams and best two players as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs face Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles.
It will be the first Super Bowl to feature two black players as the starting quarterbacks. It will also be the first to feature brothers on opposing teams. But which ones will be lifting the Lombardi Trophy is a tough one to call.
If that’s not enough, superstar Rihanna will make her first live performance in five years as she performs this year’s half-time show.
You’ll be able to follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, plus live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live.
There will also be post-match video highlights.
Super Bowl or the Kelce Bowl?
From the moment the Chiefs booked their spot alongside the Eagles, Jason and Travis Kelce knew what was coming – a media circus.
They have tried to play down the significance of two brothers facing each other in the Super Bowl. After all, 53 players will suit up for each team on Sunday, and the brothers will never be on the field at the same time.
That’s because they both play on offence. Eagles centre Jason snaps the ball to his quarterback then blocks the other team’s defence. Tight ends like Travis block too but the Chiefs star is also one of the NFL’s most prolific receivers.
But try as they might, questions about the ‘Kelce Bowl’ keep coming during Super Bowl week. Now the brothers have embraced it. Their mother has even become a celebrity too.
Expect to see plenty of Donna Kelce in her half-and-half jersey on Sunday, as well as Jason’s wife Kylie. She is heavily pregnant with their third child so will be accompanied by her nurse at the big game.
‘A special moment that hopefully lives on forever’
Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts will become the eighth black quarterback to start a Super Bowl and aims to be the fourth to win it – after Doug Williams (1988), Russell Wilson (2014) and Mahomes (2020).
But this Sunday’s showpiece in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale will be the first where both the starting QBs are black.
Historically, black players have been steered away from ‘thinking’ positions such as quarterback towards ‘athletic’ positions such as receiver because of doubts over their leadership qualities, but this landmark helps to further bust that myth.
“I think it’s historic,” Hurts said on Opening Night, which kicks off Super Bowl week. “It sets the foundation for what’s to come.”
Mahomes added: “To be playing with a guy like Jalen, who I know is doing it the right way, it’s going to be a special moment that hopefully lives on forever.”
Coaches face their former teams
Mahomes, 27, is expected to be named this season’s Most Valuable Player on Thursday ahead of Hurts, 24, after both led their teams to a 14-3 record.
There were then no major shocks in the play-offs so this year’s Super Bowl will be the first to feature the top seed in each Conference since 2018 – when the Eagles beat the New England Patriots for their only previous Super Bowl win.
There is now a statue of the moment Doug Pederson and Nick Foles called the ‘Philly Special’ play which gave the Eagles victory, but both have already moved on.
A core group of veterans remain from Super Bowl 52, including Jason Kelce, but otherwise the Eagles have successfully rebuilt their roster. They handed Nick Sirianni his first head coach job in 2021 while Hurts is in his second season as a starter.
Kansas City also have recent Super Bowl pedigree – this is their third in four years – but their success has been driven by the same coach-QB partnership of Andy Reid and Mahomes.
In all five seasons as a starter, Mahomes has reached at least the AFC Championship game, but the Chiefs did have to rebuild their offensive line after failing to protect Mahomes as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers denied Kansas City a third Super Bowl win in 2021.
Reid, 64, will face his former team after leading the Eagles to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl in 14 years, before taking charge of the Chiefs in 2013.
Sirianni spent four years coaching with Kansas City before Reid brought in his own staff but the 41-year-old did acknowledge this week that Reid took the time to talk about his career, praise him on his development and wish him well for the future.
It’s certainly gone well with the Eagles, and Sirianni’s side are slight favourites in the tightest betting since the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 – the last Super Bowl to be held at the State Farm Stadium.
Rihanna makes long-awaited return
This is the fourth Super Bowl to be staged in Arizona – all in Phoenix – and the third at the State Farm Stadium, previously called the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Nicknamed ‘the Big Toaster’ for its appearance, it has a retractable roof which is expected to be open on Sunday – as it was in 2008 and 2015 – with this set to be Arizona’s warmest Super Bowl as the temperature is forecast to hit the mid-20s this weekend.
Phoenix is also hosting a PGA golf event this weekend and a record 180,000 passengers are expected to pass through Sky Harbor airport on Monday – 60,000 more than an average day.
Fan events and tailgate parties will be staged across ‘the Valley’, as the Phoenix area is known, including two hosted by four-time Super Bowl winner Rob Gronkowski and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
There’s also a free-to-enter fan park which will hold the first-ever official watch party and stage a set by local band Jimmy Eat World.
Rapper Cardi B is doing two shows this weekend while country singer Chris Stapleton will perform Sunday’s national anthem but the Super Bowl headliner is most definitely Rihanna.
The Barbadian singer, 34, will perform live for the first time since 2018 in what should be a memorable half-time show.
This year’s Super Bowl stats
- Completed in 2006, the State Farm Stadium cost $455m and has a capacity of 73,000
- The US TV audience is expected to be about 100m (one in three US adults)
- The TV broadcast is set to feature 70 commercials, costing $7m for a 30-second slot
- The cheapest resale ticket costs about $4,400
- The American Gaming Association expects a record 50.4m to bet a total of $16bn
- Patrick Mahomes could be the 13th quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls
- Mahomes could also be the seventh player to win the NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP and Super Bowl in the same season
- No player has won the NFL MVP and Super Bowl in the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999. Since then, nine MVP winners have gone on to lose in the NFL’s title game.