Once again, American Football blogger Liz Bhandari aka NFLGirlUK tells us all we need to know about the upcoming Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LIV
Super Bowl LIV (Or Super Bowl 54 if you can’t read Roman numerals) kicks off at 11:30pm on Sunday 2 Feb 2020. The action takes place at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins in Miami Gardens, Florida, marking the 11th time that South Florida has hosted a Super Bowl.
Grammy-nominated, and multi-platinum selling singer and songwriter Demi Lovato will perform the National Anthem. She is joined by Christine Sun Kim, another internationally renowned sound artist and performer, who will sign the National Anthem on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf. And let’s not forget that the halftime show will feature both Shakira and Jennifer Lopez – the first time either of these superstars will have performed at the Super Bowl.
The game itself will be a clash of strength against strength, with one of the NFL‘s best defenses in the San Francisco 49ers looking to slow down the offensive juggernaut that is the Kansas City Chiefs.
What you need to know about the Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City last appeared in the Super Bowl 50 years ago, when they beat the Minnesota Vikings to win Super Bowl IV. They previously lost to the NFL Champions Green Bay Packers as the AFL representatives in the very first Super Bowl ever played. In fact, the Chiefs founding owner Lamar Hunt actually coined the term “Super Bowl”.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has long been thought of as one of the premier offensive minds in the NFL, both during his time with the Chiefs and previously as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Yet for all of his success in the regular season, this will only be the second time Reid has led his team to the Super Bowl. His Eagles team came up short against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
They booked their tickets to this year’s dance with a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans, having trailed by 10 points early in the AFC Championship game. The star of the show on that occasion, as he has been for most of his time in the league, was Patrick Mahomes, their star quarterback who threw for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns, and rushed for a team-high 53 yards. This included a dazzling 27-yard touchdown run, more befitting the likes of Lamar Jackson than the gunslinging Mahomes.
What you need to know about the San Francisco 49ers
For the 49ers, their championship game victory over the Green Bay Packers was pretty much over at halftime, with the team going on to claim the NFC Championship with a 37-20 victory. Running back Raheem Mostert was the driving force behind their victory, as former journeyman and free agent rushed for an incredible 220 yards and four touchdowns.
The 49ers have five Super Bowl wins in their history but did fall short the last time they got to this stage. The Baltimore Ravens came out on top at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans following the 2012 season with a 34-31 victory. But a 5-1 record in the big game is nothing to be sneezed at. They are the first team in NFL history to make the Super Bowl in a season after losing ten or more games in each of the five previous seasons.
Things look promising for the 49ers with the rebirth of the team thanks to General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. In similar fashion to his father Mike, Shanahan’s offense is built off the zone running game, where good offensive line play and one cut bursts from the RB are a priority. Shanahan’s offenses use a great deal of pre-snap motion, allowing them to find favourable match-ups in both the running and passing game. Tight end George Kittle is a player who is frequently used as the motion man. The 49ers offense goes as the ground game goes and even their wide receivers like Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders are willing blockers when not running routes.
What to expect from the match-up
It’s a tough game to call, so now it’s down to these two historic franchises to fight it out to become the Super Bowl Champions.
The Chiefs offensive is built on speed and pre-snap motion. Their defense has been one of the most improved units in the NFL during the 2019 season, after it was among the league’s worst in 2018. The hiring of long time Reid assistant Steve Spagnuolo certainly contributed to this, as did the addition of players like Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu.
Mahomes is one of the most unique, and no doubt most feared quarterbacks in the game. He has the ability to make a throw from any position on the field, and to release the ball from a variety of angles and trajectories. There is not a throw he cannot make. Mahomes is not the first talented sportsman to carry his name, as Pat Mahomes Senior enjoyed a 13 year career as a pitcher in the MLB.
Super Bowl LIV will also see two of the best tight ends in the league, namely George Kittle and Travis Kelce, on display. Both are excellent receivers and can impose their will as blockers.
49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will be a huge personality on the side-line. The team have invested heavily in the Draft with its defensive line, and they’ll need to get to Mahomes to have chance of winning the game. The Chiefs should be particularly wary of rookie Nick Bosa coming off the edge. Bosa had 9.0 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in the regular season, as well as another three sacks and three TFLs in two playoff games.
How to watch this years Super Bowl?
Super Bowl 54 takes place on Sunday 2nd February 2020 from 11:30pm with coverage being brought to live on Sky Sports. Download the We Love Sport app to find your nearest Super Bowl party and be rewarded with a free Budweiser or Bud Light before 10:30pm.