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Super Bowl LVIII Preview: History and The Occasion of the Big Game

The exciting Super Bowl LVIII is about to go down between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Fransisco 49ers. So, join us as we take a look at the history of the big game and do a bit of a preview of the Super Bowl LVIII.

In less than two weeks, the US will witness the 58th Super Bowl. This would be the third year that the second Sunday of the second month of the year (February) will be the end of the American football season or as we know NFL.

One of the most important sporting moments of each year is undoubtedly the end of the NFL season and the coveted Super Bowl match. The match has always been extremely popular but it seems that its ever-expanding audience is still getting bigger every year. So, stick with us as we explore the 58th Super Bowl in all its glory as NFL titans Kansas City Chiefs and San Fransico 49ers prepare to clash.

Super Bowl 58 Preview

The matchup for Super Bowl 58 features the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers, marking the second time these teams have met on the NFL’s grandest stage in four years. Last time these two met, the Chiefs, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, emerged victorious over a San Francisco team led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

However, in this rematch, the Chiefs face a formidable 49ers roster that recently orchestrated a remarkable 17-point, second-half comeback in the NFC championship game. The outcome of this highly anticipated showdown will be revealed in two weeks’ time.

Super Bowl’s History

Now let’s take a look at the competition’s history and find out why the Super Bowl is so unique among American supporters and now worldwide.

A Genuine Final

One of the main reasons that the Super Bowl is held in such high regard in the US is the fact that it’s a genuine final. A final, like that of the FIFA World Cup, with all its glory, heartbreak, and luster.

This is opposed to the championship game in Basketball (NBA) or Baseball (MLB), as the finalists must play each other at least 4 times and only a possible 7th game could turn it to a sudden-death final.

In Major League Soccer (MLS), the conclusion of events often mirrors that of American football, particularly the NFL. However, it’s important to acknowledge that in a country where even the greatest soccer player on the planet, Lionel Messi, can casually carry out his daily routine, including grocery shopping in Miami without any hassle, soccer cannot be simply equated with football.

The allure of the Super Bowl is undeniable, exemplified by the fact that even the organizers of the preeminent US motorsport, NASCAR, revamped their championship format in 2004 to emulate a Super Bowl-like model, adopting a playoff-style system.

The world before Super Bowl

In the initial 12 seasons of American football, there was no final match; a straightforward league style prevailed. The determinant factor was the win percentage, not the sheer number of victories, considering that teams did not play an equal number of matches.

In the 1932 season, Portsmouth Spartans and Chicago Bears found themselves with identical win percentages. To break the tie, organizers arranged for a decisive match on an indoor pitch with dimensions smaller than the standard field. The Bears emerged victorious, marking the second instance of such a playoff before the Super Bowl era.

From the subsequent year onwards, organizers opted to split the league into two conferences, with the best team from each conference clashing in a single final game. Initially, these conferences were typically categorized as East and West. However, a significant issue emerged wherein a formidable team could render the remaining conference games inconsequential by securing a spot in the championship game. Compounding this matter was the wealth and strength disparity between the Eastern and Western teams, perpetuating Eastern dominance despite changes in conference line-ups.

The turning point came in 1966 with the merger of the leagues, ushering in a new era for the NFL—the Super Bowl era.

Super Bowl’s Unique Naming Conventions

The Super Bowl stands apart from other American sports in certain aspects, notably in how it designates the year of its occurrence. Sports like baseball and motor racing, which commence and conclude within a calendar year, face no challenge in using the year number. The NBA, while somewhat similar, handles it casually by beginning in one calendar year and ending in another. To announce the final winner, they employ the year number, specifying the season’s year using the numbers from both years. For instance, Joel Embiid was the MVP of the 2022/23 NBA season, and the Denver Nuggets were the 2023 NBA champions.

However, the Super Bowl follows a slightly different timeline. The primary segment of the regular season takes place in one year, with the remaining regular season and the entire playoffs unfolding in January of the following year. As mentioned earlier, the Super Bowl occurs in February of that subsequent year. This created confusion in the early stages about which year or season people were referring to. Lamar Hunt, the then-owner of the Kansas City team, proposed a solution by suggesting the use of Roman numerals to indicate the Super Bowl. From the 8th Super Bowl onward, this practice was adopted, with an exception for the 50th edition in 2015. In celebration of the golden anniversary, the NFL decided to use Arabic numbers and a gold color scheme for that particular Super Bowl.

It’s worth noting that the 58th Super Bowl, or LVIII, is scheduled for this year between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the 11th. Super Bowl LVII refers to the previous year when the Kansas City Chiefs triumphed over the Philadelphia Eagles to claim the championship. Looking ahead, LIX will be used for the next Super Bowl in New Orleans.

The infamous Half-Time Show

The halftime show of the Super Bowl has become one of the most captivating aspects of this sporting extravaganza. Last year marked the end of Pepsi’s decade-long sponsorship contract, and in a departure from previous years, Apple Music chose Rihanna as the sole performer for its inaugural appearance at the event. There were no announcements of special or surprise guests. This year, Usher is set to take center stage as the main performer, likely delivering a blend of his new hits like “Good Good” alongside nostalgic favorites such as “Yeah!” at Allegiant Stadium.

Over the years, the halftime show has featured renowned artists like Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Shakira, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Madonna, and Prince, each taking the stage for a brief yet electrifying performance lasting less than 15 minutes. One perennial question has been whether the organizers or the performers themselves, along with their sponsors, foot the bill for these star-studded showcases.

The answer? A resounding no. Neither party pays a fee for the performance. In fact, in an interview, Katy Perry confirmed that halftime performances are entirely free. The responsibility for security and logistical arrangements rests squarely with the NFL, the event’s organizer.

The halftime performances of the past 10 Super Bowls are prominently featured on the NFL’s official YouTube channel, ranking among its top 10 most-watched videos. Shakira’s memorable 2020 performance alongside Jennifer Lopez, for example, has amassed an impressive 301 million views, nearly 18 times the viewership of the recap of the Patriots’ historic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI!

The Most Profitable Advertisement in the World

The role of television advertising in American sports, particularly in the NFL, differs significantly from that in Europe. Unlike soccer, American football games are played in stadiums without advertisements lining the sidelines. Interestingly, the NFL has long possessed the technology for virtual broadcasting of advertisements but historically opted to utilize it solely for displaying field markings like lines and downs.

During every NFL game, including the illustrious Super Bowl, there are frequent switches between offense and defense, with TV commercials airing during breaks. These commercials typically don’t exceed a minute in duration, often not even reaching double-digit seconds. In the last Super Bowl, a 30-second TV commercial commanded a staggering $7 million price tag, according to Forbes. This figure may substantially increase with additional costs. For instance, in 2022, Amazon made headlines by shelling out $26 million for a 30-second spot featuring the Alexa voice command, making it the most expensive ad in Super Bowl history and potentially one of the priciest in television history overall.

Despite the steep costs, companies generally view Super Bowl advertising as a lucrative opportunity to reach a vast American audience and, given the event’s global viewership, audiences in other countries as well. Brands like Tide, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser owe much of their success to these seemingly costly yet highly profitable and cost-effective few-second ads.

Comeback of the Century and the Greatest Upset Ever

Over the course of the previous 57 Super Bowls, there have been more instances of compelling, high-quality games than contests where the halftime show and TV commercials stole the spotlight. Particularly in recent years, advancements such as proper drainage and heating systems under stadium grass have mitigated the impact of February cold, ensuring quarterbacks’ passes and receivers’ catches remain steady—a far cry from the shivering hands of players in the 1970s.

As a result, there have been numerous memorable Super Bowl matchups, and ranking them often boils down to personal preference. However, two games stand out unequivocally, both featuring the Patriots with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm.

Greatest Upset Ever?!

While Americans witnessed Mike Tyson’s unexpected defeat to Buster Douglas, the greatest upset in the eyes of experts and the public occurred during Super Bowl XLII in 2007, when the New York Giants clinched victory over the previously undefeated Patriots. The Patriots had entered the game having won every regular season and playoff match, while the Giants, considered the weakest team, advanced to the Super Bowl as wild cards. Yet, in a stunning turn of events, Eli Manning and the Giants, with an unexpected performance, thwarted Brady and the Patriots in Phoenix, securing another Lombardi Trophy. For years, this game was hailed as the best Super Bowl in history.

However, that narrative shifted during the 51st Super Bowl in Houston, where Brady and Belichick orchestrated an extraordinary comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. Trailing 21-3 at halftime and facing a further deficit in the third quarter, the Patriots rallied, erasing a 25-point gap—a feat never before achieved in Super Bowl history. Brady’s heroics not only cemented his legendary status but also clinched his fifth Super Bowl ring, tying him with Charles Haley at the time. Today, Brady stands alone atop the Super Bowl pantheon with an unmatched seven rings—a truly heavenly achievement.

The G.O.A.T

Initially bestowed upon Muhammad Ali, and later associated with Michael Jordan due to his unparalleled legacy and six NBA championships, the title now unanimously belongs to Tom Brady, the quarterback for both the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady’s remarkable seven Super Bowl victories stand as a testament to his unparalleled dominance in the sport, surpassing even the legendary Charles Haley, who celebrated his 60th birthday this past January.

Brady’s journey to greatness is nothing short of remarkable. Drafted as the 199th pick, he was initially intended to serve as a backup quarterback for the Patriots due to concerns about his physique—he was perceived as too slim and slower than the bulky offensive tackles during NFL combine tests. However, Brady’s astute vision and keen understanding of the game ultimately propelled him to unparalleled success.

Much like Ali, Jordan, and Tiger Woods, who also laid claim to the G.O.A.T title at one point, Brady’s ascension to this prestigious status is largely attributed to his extensive trophy collection, particularly his seven Super Bowl rings. His performances, such as the unforgettable comeback in Super Bowl LI, have solidified his status as a living legend.

Even in the absence of Brady from this NFL season, his presence continues to loom large, with organizers and broadcasters potentially leveraging his iconic status in presentations or studio appearances. The enduring legacy of Tom Brady, the undeniable G.O.A.T of American football, remains an indelible mark on the sport’s history.

Super Bowl underachievers

Indeed, the Super Bowl trophy remains elusive for some of the most illustrious figures in American football history, spanning players, coaches, and teams alike. While Tom Brady may hold the title of G.O.A.T for many, there are others who, despite their undeniable talent and contributions to the game, never had the opportunity to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Barry Sanders stands out as one such example—a running back whose skill and legacy transcend words. Despite his otherworldly talent, Sanders was unable to secure a Super Bowl victory due to factors like team quality and fortune, particularly during his tenure with the Detroit Lions.

Similarly, Randy Moss, a remarkable talent in his own right, was part of the 2007 New England Patriots, widely regarded as one of the greatest NFL teams ever assembled. However, despite their 17-1 record, they fell short of winning the championship.

Among quarterbacks, greats like Larry Fitzgerald Jr. and Dan Marino left the field without a ring, their brilliant careers marred by this absence. Marino may even serve as a co-commentator for the next Super Bowl.

Regrets Regrets Regrets

In the realm of coaching, figures like Paul Brown stand out for their undeniable impact on the sport, despite never reaching the pinnacle of Super Bowl success. Brown’s legacy is cemented by his remarkable achievements with the Cleveland Browns, despite his inability to guide the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl.

When it comes to teams, the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings loom large as franchises with remarkable stories of Super Bowl disappointment. The Bills’ four consecutive appearances in the early 90s, all ending in defeat, stand as a testament to their resilience. Similarly, the Vikings’ consistent presence in the league has not translated to Super Bowl triumph, despite reaching the game four times.

Even the Cleveland Browns have been unable to capture the coveted trophy. Despite their past glory, they remain one of the unluckiest teams in NFL history, forever chasing the elusive Super Bowl victory.

LVIII

Super Bowl LVIII is set to take place on February 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada. This will be the first Super Bowl held in Nevada, adding to the excitement of the event.

The matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs promises to be an electrifying rematch of Super Bowl LIV. It’s particularly significant as the Chiefs, the defending champions, aim to reclaim their title after falling short against the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

Football fans around the world are eagerly anticipating this showdown, ready to witness the spectacle and drama that only the Super Bowl can deliver. So, let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the action as these two powerhouse teams battle it out on the gridiron.

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