Here are five things to know when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
Viva Las Vegas
The Super Bowl is being played in Las Vegas for the first time. Well, technically, it's not Las Vegas. Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, is actually in adjacent Paradise, Nevada.
"Sin City" has long been taboo, but the lure of Las Vegas was too tempting for American professional sports leagues to ignore, as the last decade has seen the birth of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights and the relocation of the NFL's Raiders and, soon, Major League Baseball's Athletics, both from Oakland, California. Still, the NFL has a strict policy forbidding gambling and sports betting, so don't expect to see Patrick Mahomes or Christian McCaffrey at the Luxor. The teams are staying about 25 miles away from the Las Vegas Strip near Lake Las Vegas.
Nevada becomes the 11th state to host a Super Bowl and the Las Vegas Valley is the 15th different region to stage the NFL's championship game, following in the footsteps of other first-time hosts like East Rutherford, New Jersey, in the New York metropolitan area, Arlington, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and Jacksonville, Florida. Although the Super Bowl sites have been set through 2027, it's safe to assume that Vegas won't be a one-and-done host.
The world will be watching the Super Bowl, but it won't just be for football or the commercials. Enter the "Swifties."
As the relationship between pop star Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has often overshadowed the NFL season, headlines galore have pondered whether Swift could and would travel from Tokyo amid her "Eras Tour" to make it to Vegas in time for the game.
She's also the reason apathetic fans are likely to be rooting for the 49ers on Super Bowl Sunday.
The questions will be plentiful. How many times will CBS cut away to Swift during its Super Bowl broadcast? Will Kelce propose to her after the game? If the Chiefs win, will they go to Walt Disney World together?
That's just super.
Super Bowl LVIII is a rematch of the last Super Bowl played in South Florida. It was Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium that began the Chiefs' remarkable run and marked a sort of passing of the baton from the New England Patriots to Kansas City.
The Chiefs join the Buffalo Bills and Patriots as the only teams in NFL history to play in four Super Bowls in five years. The Bills advanced to four straight Super Bowls during the 1990-93 seasons, losing them all, while the Patriots won three of their four Super Bowl appearances during the 2014, 2016 and 2018 seasons, losing only to the Philadelphia Eagles to cap the 2017 season.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is chasing a third Super Bowl ring in six years as a starter. But he still has a way to go before he catches retired seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the Patriots and another with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a five-time Super Bowl MVP. Mahomes, by comparison, is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Kansas City's lone loss in its Super Bowl appearances was to Brady's Bucs in Super Bowl LV before a partisan crowd at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Speaking of super…
The 49ers had the NFL's No. 2 total offense in the regular season, while the Chiefs had the league's No. 2 total defense. Something's got to give in the Super Bowl.
Kansas City lost more regular-season games (six) than in any other season since Mahomes became the starting quarterback. At one point during the season, the Chiefs were 2-4 after their bye week. Still, the Chiefs managed to win the AFC West Division again and clinch the No. 3 seed in the conference.
They seem to have found their stride in the postseason. After soundly defeating the Dolphins 26-7 at home in the wild-card round, the Chiefs had to leave Kansas City in the playoffs for the first time in the Mahomes era, notching road wins against the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in the divisional round and the Baltimore Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship game.
Kelce has 19 career receiving touchdowns in the playoffs – three shy of tying Jerry Rice for the most in NFL history. He struggled in the regular season, catching just five touchdowns, but he's already racked up 262 yards and three scores so far this postseason.
A Kansas City victory would give the NFL its first back-to-back Super Bowl champions since the Patriots did it during the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are trying to win their sixth Super Bowl, which would be tied with the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for the most of any team in NFL history. San Francisco hasn't won a Super Bowl since the 1994 season.
Sunshine State shines on Super Bowl
There are 12 players between the Chiefs and 49ers who have ties to the Sunshine State.
The Chiefs lead the way with eight players who either played high school or college football in Florida.
Running back La'Mical Perine, offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, wide receiver Kadarius Toney and punter Tommy Townsend played college football for the Florida Gators.
The Chiefs also have a pair of safeties with Florida ties. Miami native Deon Bush, who signed with the Chiefs in 2022, played for the Miami Hurricanes in college. Rookie safety Chamarri Conner, who was born and raised in Jacksonville, was a fourth-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech.
Wide receiver Richie James, who is in his first season with the Chiefs, played high school football in Sarasota before becoming Middle Tennessee's career leader in receiving yards (3,261) and receiving touchdowns (23).
Fellow receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling played high school football in St. Petersburg and then went on to play for North Carolina State before transferring to South Florida for his final two seasons of eligibility.
For the 49ers, receiver Ray-Ray McCloud was a high school running back in Tampa before winning a national championship at Clemson.
Versatile offensive lineman Jon Feliciano, who is in his first season with the 49ers, played high school football in Davie and then for the Hurricanes in college.
Wide receiver Willie Snead spent his freshman year at Glades Central Community High School in Belle Glade before moving to Michigan, where his father was a high school football coach. Snead spent his college years at Ball State and found a place in the NFL despite being undrafted.
Defensive end Nick Bosa, who played football at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale and then at Ohio State, has been with the 49ers since they selected him second overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Bosa's father, John Bosa, was a first-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1987, and his brother, Joey Bosa, who also played at Ohio State, was the third overall pick by the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers in the 2016 draft.