Early in the morning on Monday (Sunday evening in USA), millions of people on the other side of the world will spend their evening glued to their television sets watching what is one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar: the Super Bowl.
As we stand on the cusp of Super Bowl LVIII — that’s Super Bowl 58 — here’s an explainer on everything you’d want to know but didn’t know whom to ask:
What is the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is the final of the National Football League (NFL) season. It’s the sport the Americans like to call football (while referring to the sport the rest of the world calls football as soccer!) The American’s version of football involves an oval ball that is mostly lobbed using your hands.
It’s hard to win the Super Bowl, of course. But it’s notoriously hard to retain it. Over the last two decades, no NFL franchise has won back-to-back Super Bowl championships.
Who are the two teams competing in this year’s Super Bowl?
This year’s Super Bowl will be contested between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The Chiefs are led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce. The 49ers are powered by quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive standouts like Nick Bosa.
The Chiefs come into the showpiece clash as the defending champions. They also have a formidable track record recently: making it to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in 2024 in the last five seasons.
The 49ers, meanwhile, last won a Super Bowl in 1995. The five-time champions had come close to winning another title at Super Bowl 54, but it was the Chiefs who denied them.
What is Taylor Swift’s link to this year’s Super Bowl?
Taylor Swift has been a regular at NFL games to cheer on her boyfriend, Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce. She is expected to be in the stands on Monday as well cheering on the Chiefs (despite performing in Tokyo a day before the game).
The relationship has meant that the sport has seen an influx of a newer demographic of fans.
A report in CBS 8 noted, “Market watch reports that Swift’s association with the NFL has boosted the league’s brand value by over $122 million in just a few months. Her impact on female viewership is staggering: a 53 percent increase among those aged 12-17, a 34 percent rise in those over 35 and 24 percent in the 18-24 demographic.”
What’s the big deal about the Super Bowl?
Since the Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the American football season, it attracts a lot of eyeballs. How much is a lot? The viewership figures of the last two Super Bowls was 101 million and 113 million.
American football is one of the most followed sports in USA. The Super Bowl is the showpiece event for the NFL. In contrast, other American leagues like the NBA play their summit clashes in a series of games (the NBA Finals is a best of seven contest). Over the years, the Super Bowl has become more than a sporting event: it’s a cultural event of sorts where entire families watch it huddled in front of their TV sets or people host tailgating parties for their friends around the Super Bowl.
In 2023, in the top 100 list of programs with the highest viewership, there were 93 NFL games.
Why is everyone talking about the half-time show?
NFL games are divided into four 15-minutes periods called quarters. After the first two quarters end, there’s a slightly lengthy halftime break. it must be noted that the halftime for a regular NFL game is 13-minute long. Super Bowl halftimes, meanwhile, last longer since the organisers have to set up the stage and then take it down.
At half-time, those in the stadium are serenaded by musical performances by the biggest stars. In the past, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Prince have performed at Super Bowl half-time. This year, Usher will be the main performer.
Why are people excited about the commercials?
Since the Super Bowl attracts millions of eyeballs, traditionally advertisers go out of their way with their advertising: enlisting high-profile actors, using dazzling special effects among other things. The cost of a 30-second commercial can be as steep as $7 million.
Ananya Das is your guide to the latest trends, viral sensations, and internet phenomena. Based on a keen understanding of digital culture, Sophie navigates the ever-evolving landscape of trending topics. With an insightful and engaging approach, she explores what’s buzzing across social media platforms, ensuring readers stay in the loop with the most talked-about and shareable content online.