American Football: Big, bigger, Super Bowl in Las Vegas: NFL before an XXL spectacle

American football
Big, bigger, Super Bowl in Las Vegas: NFL before an XXL spectacle

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and his team will try to defend the title with a victory in the Super Bowl. photo

© Matt Slocum/AP/dpa

The Super Bowl is taking place in Las Vegas for the first time. A fantastic show and top-class football are expected in the gaming metropolis. And then there is a pop star with a tight schedule.

No superlative seems too great for this one Super Bowl in Las Vegas. Especially not when the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs meet the San Francisco 49ers and alongside Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Christian McCaffrey – three of the most popular stars in the National Football League – pop giant Taylor Swift is also expected in the stadium.

For the first time, the NFL is holding the championship finals in the gambling metropolis in the US state of Nevada and is expecting a spectacle that has never been seen before.

“More parties, more events, more hotels. The whole show will be different,” said German football professional Jakob Johnson, who plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, to the German Press Agency. The US capital of gamblers, entertainers and bon vivants, which was avoided by the NFL for decades, is also the capital of football fans on Sunday (local time).

Chiefs star Kelce wants “dynasty”

Days before kickoff on Monday night in Germany (12:30 a.m. CET/RTL and DAZN), the duel between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in Vegas was omnipresent. Dealers everywhere were selling fan items, and it felt like every hotel and casino was showing advertising for the new edition of the Super Bowl from four years ago on a video wall. Back then, the Chiefs won 31:20 in Miami and established their supremacy in the league.

For Mahomes, Kelce and coach Andy Reid, Super Bowl LVIII in Allegiant Stadium at the southern end of the legendary strip is the fourth participation in the NFL finals within five years; Another success against San Francisco would be the trio’s third Super Bowl victory. “One is not, with two you are special, but with three you cement your legacy, then you are part of a dynasty,” said Kelce, describing the value of another triumph in the country’s most important sport.

Fairy tale about “Mr. Irrelevant” before a happy ending?

Despite their much greater experience on this stage and convincing performances in the playoffs after a weak main round, the Chiefs are slight outsiders among betting providers. This also suits Jakob Johnson, who doesn’t support the Chiefs due to old rivalries, but can also cite fundamental reasons for San Francisco. “This is a team that hasn’t been reported enough about in recent years, how consistently good the 49ers are,” said the Stuttgart native. He believes San Francisco will win “because they simply have a strong, experienced defense.” There are also “playmakers on offense and offensive plays that you don’t see on any other team.”

Responsible for the 49ers’ offensive system is quarterback Brock Purdy, for whom the Super Bowl is the current highlight of a fairytale development. He wasn’t even in the NFL at the time of the 2020 loss. Two years ago in the draft, the 49ers selected him 262nd and last. In the USA you get the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant” (“Mr. Unimportant”).

Because two other 49ers quarterbacks were injured last season, Purdy unexpectedly played and won. And won. And won. It was only an injury that slowed him down and dashed the San Francisco fans’ dreams of a sixth Super Bowl victory (NFL record). Now, in the second year of his NFL career, the 24-year-old wants to fulfill it and has the support of outstanding teammates such as running back Christian McCaffrey, tight end George Kittle and defender Nick Bosa.

100 million Americans, Messi and “Friends”

More than 100 million people in the USA alone will watch the spectacle in the desert. No other event in the sports-loving country captivates people as much as this one football game at the end of the season. For 30 seconds of advertising time, around seven million dollars (around 6.5 million euros) are due. Elaborate spots with superstars are being produced especially for the Super Bowl – announced this year include football idol Lionel Messi as well as Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, former co-stars of the cult series “Friends”.

73 percent of all American adults want to watch the Super Bowl – that’s 10 percent more than a year ago. And the Chiefs’ victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in Phoenix 2023 already holds the record for the Super Bowl with the most viewers: 115 million people in the USA.

Parking worries for pop star Swift

This record could be broken. Because apart from all the sports stories, there is another factor this year: Taylor Swift. The pop superstar has been in a relationship with Chiefs professional Kelce since last fall and has therefore attended numerous Champions games. With her millions upon millions of fans, the 34-year-old has brought an enormous number of people new to the sport and brought her friend, his team and the NFL an advertising value of 331 million US dollars. This was the result of a study by the Apex Marketing Group.

Whether Swift, who plays the last of a series of concerts in Tokyo on Saturday evening, will get to Las Vegas in time was a big topic of conversation in the USA. Even detailed questions such as whether she can get a parking space for her private jet in Las Vegas were discussed by the US media.

Usher, as the singer for the always highly anticipated halftime show, has not been the most talked about artist in the run-up to the Super Bowl for a long time. But his show in the stadium will probably help ensure that the Super Bowl is what everyone expects: a huge spectacle in Las Vegas.


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