Our NFL fan SEÁN HOLLAND brings us up to date ahead of Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday night
What is the Super Bowl?
It’s the All-Ireland final equivalent of American football. It pits the best two teams in the country in a winner-takes-all decider. The two best teams from the AFC and the NFC every year hit the gridiron to attempt to claim the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Where, when, what and who?
This year’s Super Bowl will be held in Las Vegas, at the Alligent Stadium home of the Las Vegas Raiders, this Sunday, February 9th. Kick off at 11.30pm Irish time. It sees AFC champions Kansas City Chiefs take on the NFC winners San Francisco 49ers.
Who are the favourites?
At the time of writing, the San Francisco 49ers are slight favourites, favoured to win by one point, but this game is as 50/50 as you’ll get.
Got that, so explain the rules?
Here we go. Buckle up. Each team has an offense and a defense. The object of the game is to score a touchdown or field goal. It’s also possible to score a touchdown on defense. The main concept is that the offense has to get ten yards in four downs (attempts) to progress up the field. If they don’t the opposition team’s offense takes over. Commonly when it gets the fourth down the attacking team either punts the ball away or kicks a field goal. The overall objective is quite simple: score more points than your opponents.
How long is a game?
While the official game time is one hour, it tends to be closer to three hours. That is because of timeouts, replays, scoring reviews, and in this case the half-time show. Each quarter is split into 15 minutes. It is a running clock at all times unless a team uses a timeout or it’s the ‘two-minute warning’. This is when there are two minutes left before half-time and full-time.
We’re with you so far. Now explain the points system.
1 point – This is a ‘safety’ in a ‘two-point conversion’. It has never happened in the NFL and probably never will.
2 points – This is when the offense gets tackled in their own endzone. It’s called a ‘safety’.
3 points – This is known as a ‘field goal’. It’s pretty much the same theory as kicking a penalty in rugby.
7 points – Touchdown scored. When the offense gets into the opponent's endzone (similar to a try-line in rugby) they get six points. Typically, teams will kick the ‘extra point’ which is a 35-yard kick after the touchdown has been scored.
8 points – Touchdown scored. This is a slightly different option that teams may elect to use. A team can select to have one play from the two-yard line to attempt to get into the endzone. If they succeed this is known as a ‘two-point conversion’.
Fill us in on the players to watch this Sunday night.
Patrick Mahomes – The unquestioned best player in the league. The Kansas quarterback will be the difference-maker in this game.
Christian McCaffrey – San Francisco’s running back will see a lot of action and is the most likely candidate to score a touchdown.
Travis Kelce – When you’re going out with one of the most famous women on the planet, Taylor Swift, you’re going to get a lot of attention. He’ll get even more from the San Francisco defense as he is one of the very best in the game.
Deebo Samuel – San Francisco’s number 19 can do it all. He’s a big game player and will need to be at the peak of his powers if they’re going to claim the trophy.
Who will be there?
The Super Bowl is the hotbed for all the biggest global celebrities. While the halftime show will be a little throwback for those 00s kids with Usher on the mic, there’s sure to be a recognisable face for all ages. None more so than the girlfriend of Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, Taylor Swift, who will be in a race against the clock to make it back from performing a show in Tokyo. It is estimated that Swift's relationship with Kelce and her appearances at Chiefs games has generated $331.5 million in equivalent brand value for the Chiefs and the NFL. So expect to see her on your TV’s on Sunday.
Who will win?
It’s 50/50 but having won last year, being doubted all year, and having that situational experience, I’ll give the edge to the Chiefs.