It’s nearly with us and excitement is steadily mounting. At 6.30pm ET on Sunday February 12th Super Bowl LVII will kick off in the State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona. It promises to be quite an encounter with the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Philadelphia Eagles for the honour of picking up the Vincent Lombardi Trophy.
An estimated 100 million Americans will be glued to their screens with a global audience that should make it into the billions.
This year’s half-time entertainment could be one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows ever, Rihanna is taking to the stage for one of the first times in the last six years. She has also hinted that some special surprise guests could be joining her there too.
Speculation is also rife about whether the Eagles or the Chiefs are going to prevail on the day. In the run-up to the game, the odds to win Super Bowl 2023 seem to be very much in favour of the Philadelphia Eagles – but perhaps we should also be ready for a surprise.
Previous Super Bowl Form
It’s far from being the first appearance for either team in the biggest event of the NFL season.
In fact, it was the Kansas City Chiefs who took to the field way back at the first ever Super Bowl in 1967. That day they were pitted against the Green Bay Packers who delivered a comprehensive 35-10 beating.
It was three years later, in 1970, that the Chiefs were back, this time taking on the Minnesota Vikings when they enjoyed a 23-7 victory at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
Fast forward to 2020 when they made their next appearance, emerging victorious over the San Francisco 49ers. Next year they were back, losing 9-31 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Nor will it be the Eagles’ debut in the game. They were the losing side in 1981 and 2005 against the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots respectively. But they enjoyed the sweet taste of revenge in 2018 beating the Patriots 41-33.
This season and the playoffs
Turning our attention to how both teams have performed in the 2022-23 season, as well as in the run-up to the final, at times there has been little to choose between them.
This is especially true of the main part of the season. Both the Chiefs and the Eagles ended up heading AFC West and NFC East divisions with identical 14-3 records. The only slight difference is that Kansas lost just one of their home games compared with Philadelphia’s two – but as home advantage will play no part in Glendale this is hardly a relevant fact.
However, performance in the playoffs could be a little more significant. In both the games that the Eagles won to reach the final, their victories were by a decisive margin. First they beat the New York Giants 38-7. Then they followed this up with a 31-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Chiefs’ progress has been a little more tentative with the far closer scorelines of 27-20 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and 23-20 over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Who’ll be making the play?
Of course, it’s all going to come down to the players themselves on the day. So the strongest team, helped with a little good fortune, are set to be victorious.
The Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid is certainly not short of talent to rely on. The shining star in the team has to be Patrick Mahomes. Regarded as the greatest quarterback of his generation, his ability to take games away from the opposition is legendary. He has a string of records to his name and, at 27, is probably at his prime right now.
Another player who could prove critical is tight-end Travis Kelce. A joint franchise record-holder in his own right for receiving four touchdowns in a game, we should expect great things from him. As an interesting side note, this will be the first Super Bowl when brothers meet on opposing sides with Jason Kelce turning out as center for the Eagles.
Turning to the Philadelphia team, the NY Giants’ safety Julian Love stirred things up recently by saying that coach Nick Sirianni had such a talented squad that he was effectively redundant.
While this might underestimate the contribution that Sirianni has made since his arrival last season, he does have some stellar talent to rely on. For example, quarterback Jalen Hurts has really come into his own this season.
And, with the recruitment of experienced players like Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph, there is also a formidable defense for the Chiefs to overcome.
So we’ll just have to wait and see what Sunday February 12th holds in store for us. But one thing’s for sure – it’s set to be a classic Super Bowl encounter.