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LAS VEGAS, USA – Las Vegas, the premier party town in the US, is relishing its role as a first-time Super Bowl host, welcoming fans from all over the country eager to be part of America’s biggest sporting event.
Traffic on the Las Vegas Strip has been at a near standstill in recent nights as an influx of several hundred thousand football fanatics descend on the city in anticipation of the title clash between the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, February 11 (Monday, February 12, Manila time).
All week, the giant glowing orb has been busy promoting the game with its massive LED exterior displaying the helmets of the teams, highlights of the matchup, and a countdown clock to kickoff.
All eyes were also on the skies in anticipation of the expected arrival of pop superstar Taylor Swift into the city to cheer on her boyfriend and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce as her plane reportedly touched down in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 10, after the pop megastar wrapped up her show in Tokyo.
Here are the five storylines to watch during the blockbuster battle:
The Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years and a win over the 49ers would secure their status as the National Football League’s (NFL) newest dynasty.
Led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes – who in only six years as a starter in the NFL, has already built a resume worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame – the Chiefs are eyeing their third Super Bowl win across a five-year span.
That is a feat accomplished only by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s, the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s, and New England Patriots of the 2000s and 2010s.
BAD BLOOD REMATCH
This year’s Super Bowl is a rematch of the February 2020 title clash when the 49ers took a 10-point lead into the final quarter before the Chiefs roared back and scored 21 unanswered points for a 31-20 victory.
While many of the same players return, this 49ers team also includes dynamic running back Christian McCaffrey, acquired in a 2022 trade, and quarterback Brock Purdy, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise since being selected last in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Among those on the losing side in 2020 and looking to settle a score is 49ers tight end George Kittle, who said after that game that he would return with a “vengeance.”
SWIFT RATINGS BOOST
The Super Bowl is the most-watched TV broadcast in the United States and ratings could reach new highs this year due in large part to the budding romance between pop superstar Taylor Swift and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Since they started dating in 2023, Swift and Kelce have become the world’s most talked-about couple and Chiefs games have become appointment viewing for her mammoth fan base hoping to get a glimpse of her when Kelce is playing.
While some NFL fans and experts have suggested Swift has been a distraction to the Chiefs, the team has won nine of the 12 games she has attended this season.
BATTLE OF THE COACHING MINDS
Two offensively minded head coaches will go head-to-head on Sunday with the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan hoping to outfox his Chiefs counterpart Andy Reid, a two-times Super Bowl winner widely considered one of the best in the business.
The 44-year-old Shanahan, whose father Mike won the Super Bowl in 1998 and 1999 as head coach of the Denver Broncos, is in his seventh season at the helm of the 49ers and still seeking that elusive championship.
The more experienced Reid, 65, enters the game as only the fourth coach to reach the Super Bowl at least five times, joining Bill Belichick (nine), Don Shula (six), and Tom Landry (five).
PLACE YOUR BETS
The Super Bowl is a betting bonanza each year and Sunday’s edition could be the biggest yet with the American Gaming Association expecting a record 67.8 million American adults to bet an estimated $23.1 billion on the game.
The number of Americans adults planning to bet on the NFL’s title game is up 35% from 2023 while the estimated record value of wagers is up $16 billion from last year, according to the casino industry group.
The AGA also said this week that bettors are nearly split on the outcome of the game with 47% planning to bet on the Chiefs and 44% planning to bet on the 49ers.