While the action on the field takes centre stage, the Super Bowl always creates a storm surrounding the gambling industry with thousands of bets available on every part of the NFL’s showcase event.
This year we see last season’s champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the luxury of being able to play the big game at their own home, Raymond James Stadium, for the first time in the league’s history.
Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, arguably the league’s two biggest stars, will headline this match-up, with this game set to split their head-to-head record, with two wins apiece from four games so far – while also serving as a rematch from the AFC Championship game two years ago, which saw the Patriots win in overtime on their way to their Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
After an unprecedented year in the NFL, which has coped almost as well as any sport with the Covid-19 pandemic, there is now a calm before the storm as we build up to the final game of the season.
The talent spreads beyond the quarterbacks too, with eye-popping plays expected from the likes of Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, with the potential for a high-scoring game to delight the casual fan.
Will Brady win his first ring since leaving Bill Belichick to move to 7-3 all-time in the big game, or can Mahomes continue his meteoric trajectory in his young career by going back-to-back in just his fourth year in the league and only his third full season as a starter.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game:
Who is playing and how did they get here?
After defeating the San Francisco 49ers in last year’s Super Bowl 54, the Chiefs (14-2) are back after clinching the No 1 seed in the AFC conference, they enjoyed a wildcard weekend bye before a 22-17 win over the Cleveland Browns during the divisional weekend, then a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship game.
They play the hosts of the Super Bowl in the Buccaneers, led by Tom Brady in his first year in Florida since ending a 20-year association with the Patriots. It’s been a trickier run for the Bucs, who ended the regular season at 11-5 and had to settle for a place in the play-offs as a wild card team, with the New Orleans Saints (12-4) winning the NFC South division.
Bruce Arians’ side first went to the Washington Football Team during wildcard weekend, winning 31-23, before a 30-20 win over the Saints in the divisional round, then booking their place in their own Super Bowl with a 31-26 win at the Green Bay Packers to clinch the NFC Championship and a third successive road win in this year’s play-offs.
When and where is the game?
Super Bowl 2021 takes place on Sunday, 7 February in Tampa Bay at the Buccaneers’ own Raymond James Stadium, which holds 65,000, though due to the pandemic, there will be around 20,000 in attendance.
The game will kick-off at 11:30pm GMT (6:30pm ET).
How can I watch and is there a live stream?
The game will be live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer with coverage starting at 11pm GMT on BBC Two, before switching to BBC One at kick-off at 11:30pm GMT.
The BBC will also bring radio coverage on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. A live stream is available through the iPlayer.
You can also watch the game live on Sky Sports Main Event and NFL. If you’re not a Sky Sports subscriber, you can sign up to NowTV to watch the big game with Sky Sports’ coverage. It’ll be £9.99 for a single day or £33.99 for the month, neither with a commitment beyond the specified dates purchased. A live stream of Sky Sports’ coverage will be available through the Sky Go and NowTV apps respectively.
The third option is to purchase a subscription to the NFL Game Pass, which also gives you on-demand highlights of other games and the NFL’s own library of programming, with the app allowing users to stream the game on all their mobile devices and games consoles.
The two payment options are “Pro”, which is £14.99 and gives you all of the above content until 31 July, or “Super Bowl Pass”, which gives you access for 31 days at £7.99, both include the Super Bowl.
In the States, the game is being carried by CBS, with the iconic Jim Nantz and Tony Romo calling the game.
Starting at 2PM ET on Sunday, 7 February, CBS Sports’ streaming coverage will be available across numerous platforms and devices, including CBSSports.com and on the CBS Sports app for OTT devices and services, smart TVs and mobile devices.
Who is singing the national anthem and who is performing in the half-time show?
The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, will headline as the half-time show at Super Bowl 55, with the Canadian artist, 30, succeeding Jennifer Lopez and Shakira from last year.
Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan will sing the national anthem.