If you're a die-hard football fan, I don't have to tell you that the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are only a few hours away from battling it out in Super Bowl LVII for a chance to call themselves champions.
But what if you aren't really that into the NFL? What if, say, the only things you know about chiefs and eagles are that they're actually birds and tribal leaders? What if the extent of your annual engagement with the Super Bowl is going to a party and trying to think of things to contribute to the conversation in between commercials?
In this case, we've got you covered. This is the sixth annual casual fan's guide to everything you could possibly need to know about the Super Bowl.
Who's playing in Super Bowl LVII? And why is it called Super Bowl LVII?
First and foremost, it's important to know everything about the participants in the NFL's title game. Representing the NFC, we have the Philadelphia Eagles. They're favored by 1.5 points as of this writing. That means betting experts at Caesars Sportsbook think this is going to be a close game, but that the Eagles are the slightly better team. Representing the AFC, meanwhile, are the Kansas City Chiefs. The two teams can be told apart by their respective color schemes. The Eagles wear green, white, and black uniforms, while the Chiefs are in red, gold, and white.
It's called Super Bowl LVII because it's the 57th Super Bowl, and 57 in Roman numerals is LVII. The NFL has been using Roman numerals for every Super Bowl (except Super Bowl 50) since Super Bowl V (five). According to the NFL's media guide, "The Roman numerals were adopted to clarify any confusion that may occur because the NFL Championship Game -- the Super Bowl -- is played in the year following a chronologically recorded season. Numerals I through IV were added later for the first four Super Bowls."
What time is the Super Bowl? Where is it?
The Super Bowl starts at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. The game will be played in State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The NFL rotates the location of the Super Bowl every year because it generally wants to provide a neutral site so no team has home-field advantage. That had worked every year up until two years ago, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Last year, the Los Angeles Rams did the same. Now, we are back to a neutral site.
And how long is it going to last?
As our Cody Benjamin noted a few years back, the average Super Bowl broadcast over the past 20 years or so has been about three-and-a-half hours. It's pretty long. That includes a halftime show that generally lasts 20 to 30 minutes.
Who's performing at halftime?
An up-and-coming artist you may or may not have heard of. Here's a hint: She's a nine-time Grammy winner with 14 number-ones and 31 top-10 singles in the United States who was twice named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She's the second-highest-selling female recording artist of all time with sales of over 250 million records. She is also a philanthropist, actor, and fashion mogul, as well as an ambassador of education, tourism, and investment for her home country of Barbados.
That's right, folks. It's RIHANNA.
Who are the quarterbacks of the Eagles and Chiefs?
It's always a good bet that the quarterbacks will play a big role in the Super Bowl. A quarterback usually wins MVP of the game, after all. A quarterback has won 31 of the previous 56 Super Bowl MVP trophies, and 14 of the last 22 since 2000.
The quarterback of the Eagles is Jalen Hurts (No. 1). One of the league's premier dual-threat quarterbacks, Hurts is equally capable of defeating defenses through the air and on the ground. He completed a career-best 66.5% of his passes this season, averaging a career-best 8.0 yards per attempt, while throwing for a career-best 22 touchdown passes against only six interceptions. He also ran for 760 yards and an incredible 13 additional touchdowns.
Hurts began his college career at Alabama, where he quickly became a star quarterback and led his team to the National Championship Game. However, when the Crimson Tide fell behind 13-0 at halftime against Georgia, Hurts was benched in favor in future Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who led a second-half comeback. Hurts stuck around the following season as Tagovailoa's backup, and led a comeback victory against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game after Tua left the game due to injury. The following year, Hurts transferred to Oklahoma, where he had the best season of his collegiate career and finished second to Joe Burrow in Heisman Trophy voting.
The Eagles selected Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft despite already having Carson Wentz on their roster. When Wentz struggled for much of the season, Hurts was given a shot to play toward the end of the year, and flashed considerable talent. He entered the 2021 season as Philadelphia's starter and kept the job all year despite some up-and-down performances. Philadelphia added some new weapons this past offseason to take its passing game to a new level, and Hurts rose to the occasion to lead one of the best offenses in the NFL. Despite a late-season shoulder injury, he has looked no worse for the year during the Eagles' playoff run.
The quarterback of the Chiefs is Patrick Mahomes (No. 15). The likely league MVP had perhaps the most impressive season of his career in 2022. Despite the Chiefs trading away wide receiver Tyreek Hill (one of the most explosive playmakers in the league), Mahomes still led the NFL in both passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41), as well as more advanced measurements like QBR, DYAR, and EPA per play. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his five seasons as a starter, and has now been named an All-Pro in two of those five campaigns. He already has both a regular-season and Super Bowl MVP award, and he's looking to become the first player since Kurt Warner in 1999 to do both in the same season. (He hasn't been officially named MVP yet, but it is considered a foregone conclusion.)
Mahomes was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He sat behind former Chiefs starter Alex Smith for a year before taking over under center, then had a spectacular debut season during which he threw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. He has been the best quarterback -- and arguably best overall player -- in the league ever since. No matter which measurement of quarterback play you choose to look at, Mahomes is already one of the best (if not the single-best) players in the history of the position. He and Chiefs coach Andy Reid have become the league's most unstoppable duo thanks to Reid's creative play-design and play-calling and Mahomes' otherworldly talents.
Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain (an injury that typically knocks players out for 4-6 weeks) during the team's divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but returned to play later in the game and suited up against the Bengals in the AFC title game. All he did was put together two of the most impressive games any quarterback has played during the playoffs, completing 51 of 73 passes for 521 yards and four touchdowns, with zero interceptions, to lead the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl for the third time in five years.
Are there other notable players I should know about?
Of course! You don't get to the Super Bowl without a ton of quality talent on your team.
Let's start with the Eagles:
- Wide receivers A.J. Brown (No. 11) and DeVonta Smith (No. 6). Brown is one of the most physically imposing wide receivers in the league, an elite run-after-catch threat who can also beat defenses deep. The Eagles acquired him in a trade from the Tennessee Titans last offseason in a deal that was widely seen as an absolute steal, and ended up being exactly that. Smith is a former Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama who was the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has elite speed and outrageous body control, and is a picture-perfect complement to Brown. With these two players on the outside, the Eagles can force the opposition to cover every blade of grass on the field.
- Center Jason Kelce (No. 62) and right tackle Lane Johnson (No. 65) anchor what is likely the best offensive line in the NFL, working in concert with left tackle Jordan Mailata (No. 68), left guard Landon Dickerson (No. 69), and right guard Isaac Seumalo (No. 56). Both Kelce and Johnson were named First Team All-Pros this season, meaning they are considered the best player in the league at their respective positions. Kelce's brother, Travis, is the top passing-game option for the Chiefs. More on him below.
- Edge rushers Haason Reddick (No. 7) and Josh Sweat (No. 94) form the bookends of what this season was the best pass rush in the league. The Eagles led the NFL with 70 sacks during the regular season, with Reddick (16 sacks) and Sweat (11) being joined by No. 97 Javon Hargrave (11) and No. 55 Brandon Graham (11) as the first quartet of teammates to finish with double-digit quarterback takedowns in the same season. Not to be discounted is interior lineman Fletcher Cox (No. 91), who might be the most well-rounded and consistent player on the defensive line. This group will go up against a very strong Chiefs offensive line in what should be one of the premier matchups of the game.
- Cornerbacks Darius Slay (No. 2) and James Bradberry (No. 24). In what you can surely sense is becoming a theme, this duo forms one of the best perimeter cornerback tandems in the NFL. Slay was acquired via trade from the Detroit Lions back in 2020, and after a down first year in Philadelphia, has rebounded with back-to-back Pro Bowl campaigns. Bradberry was released as a salary cap casualty by the division rival New York Giants last May, and the Eagles picked him up for a pittance. He responded with arguably the best season of his career, for which he was named a Second Team All-Pro. The Eagles typically play sides with the cornerbacks, which means you will almost always see Slay line up at left corner (70% of snaps) and Bradberry at right corner (72%).
- Tight end Dallas Goedert (No. 88). Goedert might be overshadowed by his counterpart on the Chiefs, but he is also one of the league's top tight ends. Despite missing five games this season due to injury, he finished the year with 55 receptions for 702 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished the season third in the NFL in yards after catch per reception, a strong indicator of his dynamism with the ball in his hands.
- Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (No. 23). CJGJ was the finishing touch the Eagles put on their roster when they acquired him via trade from the New Orleans Saints at the tail end of training camp. Despite arriving in Philly mere days before the start of the season, Gardner-Johnson was an important part of the Eagles defense all year. His calling card is his versatility, which allows him to play a number of different roles in Philadelphia's scheme. You could see him line up as a deep safety (414 snaps), box safety (184 snaps), or slot corner (202 snaps), depending on the situation.
- Running back Miles Sanders (No. 26). Philadelphia also uses Kenneth Gainwell (No. 14) and Boston Scott (No. 35), but Sanders is the lead back who benefits most from the play of the offensive line and the threat of Hurts as a runner. He's had an excellent playoff run so far, rushing 28 times for 132 yards and two scores across Philadelphia's two blowout wins.
And what about the Chiefs?
- Tight end Travis Kelce (No. 87). As previously mentioned, Kelce's brother is Eagles center Jason Kelce. They will be the first brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl. Travis is the best tight end in the league, and one of the best of all time. He is Mahomes' favorite target, and is on a monster run in the playoffs, with 21 catches for 176 yards and three touchdowns. The weakness of the Philadelphia defense is likely at linebacker, so the Chiefs will surely try to get Kelce matched up against those players as often as possible.
- Defensive tackle Chris Jones (No. 95) and edge rusher Frank Clark (No. 55). Jones is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year after tying his career-high with 15.1 sacks this season. He's a four-time All-Pro, though this year marked his first appearance on the First Team rather than the second. He spends most of his time rushing from the interior, but will occasionally move out to the edge, as he did on the most important play of the AFC title game. Clark was a big-ticket trade acquisition for Kansas City several years ago and has generally been disappointing relative to expectations, but he's played at an extremely high level during the playoffs. Expect to see him rush mostly off the right side of the line, working against Mailata, rather than Johnson.
- Offensive tackles Orlando Brown (No. 57) and Andrew Wylie (No. 77) figure to be the most important players on Kansas City's excellent offensive line, even if only because they are less consistently reliable than the interior trio of left guard Joe Thuney (No. 62), center Creed Humphrey (No. 52), and right guard Trey Smith (No. 65). Brown and Wylie will also be tasked with handling the aforementioned Reddick and Sweat, and keeping them away from Mahomes. Philly's pass rush is most dangerous from the edge, and that's where Kansas City's line is most vulnerable. That makes for one of the game's more important battlegrounds.
- Running backs Isiah Pacheco (No. 10) and Jerick McKinnon (No. 1). Pacheco is a rookie who was selected in the seventh round. McKinnon is 30 years old, in his ninth NFL season, and has an extensive injury history. The Chiefs roll with this pair of players over former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire (No. 25), who suffered an injury midseason but had fallen behind Pacheco and McKinnon in the rotation anyway. Pacheco runs with a lot of power behind his pads, while McKinnon is largely a passing-game specialist.
- Cornerbacks L'Jarius Sneed (No. 38), Trent McDuffie (No. 31), and Jaylen Watson (No. 35). Sneed was a fourth-round pick in 2020 who quickly became one of Kansas City's most trusted corners. He has played both on the outside and in the slot, depending on where the opponent uses its best wide receiver. McDuffie and Watson are each rookies, and they have gradually played better as the season has gone along. In recent weeks, McDuffie has slide into the slot while Sneed has worked more often on the perimeter. Watson has the most size of the bunch and might therefore see a lot of A.J. Brown, who is one of the league's most physically imposing receivers.
- Wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (No. 9), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (No. 11), Justin Watson (No. 84), Kadarius Toney (No. 19), and Skyy Moore (No. 24). Kansas City's receiver room is a mess at the moment. Speedster Mecole Hardman (No. 17) is out with a pelvic injury. Both Smith-Schuster and Toney missed practice all of last week with injuries suffered during the AFC title game. Watson was inactive for that game, although that may have been because he was dealing with an illness. Valdes-Scantling has typically been the most inconsistent and frustrating member of the corps, but he had his best game of the year against the Bengals. Moore was a second-round pick this season, but has failed to take on a significant role in the offense. We don't yet know which of these guys will even be available for Sunday night, let alone which of them Mahomes will be able to count on.
There are obviously more notable players, but this list is a good start.
Who are the coaches of the Eagles and Chiefs?
The head coach of the Eagles is Nick Sirianni. Sirianni was named a finalist for Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to a 14-3 regular-season record. He was hired prior to the 2021 season after serving for three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts under former Eagles assistant Frank Reich. Reich was hired in Philadelphia by then-Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who got that job after serving as the offensive coordinator of ... the Chiefs. Sirianni himself also previously worked in Kansas City, having been a quality control coach, assistant quarterbacks coach, and wide receivers coach under Romeo Crennel and Todd Haley. Despite being an offensive coach, he decided during the 2021 season to give up calling offensive plays so he could have a more holistic focus, and that decision has worked out quite well for the team.
The head coach of the Chiefs is Andy Reid. Considered arguably the best offensive coach of his generation, Reid is now fifth-winningest coach in NFL history and ranks behind only Bill Belichick among active coaches in wins. Prior to landing with the Chiefs in 2013, Reid spent 14 years as head coach of the Eagles, compiling a 130-93-1 record, and at one point making four consecutive appearances in the conference title game and one Super Bowl. He never won the Super Bowl with Philly, and it took until his seventh year in Kansas City before the Chiefs finally claimed the Lombardi Trophy. That win was considered the crowning achievement of Reid's career; and win or lose on Sunday night, it seems likely that he will one day be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Eagles and Chiefs also both have several well-known assistant coaches, some of whom have been considered candidates for available head coaching jobs this offseason.
The Eagles offensive coordinator is Shane Steichen. Steichen was a candidate for numerous head coaching jobs this offseason, and reportedly remains a candidate for the two positions that are still vacant. Steichen has shown the ability to shapeshift his offense to suit the personnel on the team. He played a role in the fantastic rookie season of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in 2020, helped the Eagles pivot to a run-focused, option-heavy offense around Jalen Hurts in 2021, and spearheaded their transition to a more pass-heavy system this season. Even if he does not land a head-coaching job after the Super Bowl, it likely will not be much longer until he does.
Philly's defensive coordinator is Jonathan Gannon. Like Steichen, Gannon was a candidate for multiple head coaching jobs this offseason. However, he has already announced that he'll be staying in Philadelphia in 2023. When he's had the proper personnel to run his system the way he wants, the Eagles have been a fantastic defense. He's been criticized at times for not making adjustments, but has routinely put talented players in position to succeed and gotten the best out of players who were under-utilized with other organizations.
The Chiefs offense coordinator is Eric Bieniemy. He's held that role for five seasons and been a candidate for seemingly every available coaching job in each of the subsequent offseasons, but has yet to land the top job anywhere. It took Bieniemy's two predecessors as the offensive coordinator under Reid -- the aforementioned Doug Pederson, and Matt Nagy -- just three seasons and one season, respectively, to be hired away by other organizations as head coaches; and Kansas City's offensive results under Bieniemy have been considerably better than they were under Pederson and Nagy. There is perhaps no greater current example of the lack of opportunity afforded Black coaches compared with white coaches than Bieniemy, who is reportedly considering becoming the offensive coordinator somewhere other than Kansas City so that he can get experience calling plays, even though numerous coaches (including both Pederson and Nagy, as well as Sirianni) have not had their lack of play-calling experience held against them when interviewing for job openings.
Kansas City's defensive coordinator is Steve Spagnuolo. A former head coach of the then-St. Louis Rams and (briefly) New York Giants, Spagnuolo is considered a strong game-planner. He comes up with creative blitzes to confuse opposing quarterbacks and force them to make bad decisions under pressure. Spagnuolo previously spent eight years working under Reid with the Eagles, in what was his first NFL coaching role. His work as the defensive backs and later linebackers coach landed him the gig as defensive coordinator of the Giants, which led to his opportunity with the Rams. Spags later went back to the Giants as defensive coordinator and eventually interim head coach, but has been with the Chiefs for the past four seasons -- the first of which saw Kansas City win the Super Bowl.
What's an interesting talking point to bring up with fans of each team?
- Eagles fans: When Hurts is healthy, we've been the best team all year! (Philly is 16-1 in Hurts' starts this season.)
- Chiefs fans: Mahomes can beat anybody! (Fact check: True.)
When will people start caring about next year's Super Bowl?
Literally the exact second this game ends. Get ready.