Super Bowl LVIII Preview

The reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in Super Bowl LVIII. If that matchup sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a rematch of Super Bowl LIV from four years ago, when the Chiefs won 31-20. Here’s what you need to know about the β€œBig Game,” and how your fellow Bengals feel about the event.

Meet the teams

The teams may be the same as they were in 2020, but some of the players have changed. The #3 seed Kansas City Chiefs are still led by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, and head coach Andy Reid. The burgeoning dynasty went 11-6 in the regular season, winning the AFC West division. Despite concerns at the wide receiver position, the Chiefs defense, led by captains Chris Jones and Nick Bolton, has dominated their opposition. The Chiefs have won all three of their playoff games up to this point, including the AFC Championship over the Baltimore Ravens to reach the Super Bowl.

The 49ers, on the other hand, have changed quite a bit since they lost Super Bowl LIV. San Francisco is now led by surprising new star quarterback Brock Purdy, who emerged last year after their first two QBs suffered season-ending injuries. Purdy, the last pick in the draft and so-called β€œMr. Irrelevant,” took the reins and never looked back. He has brought the Niners to the NFC Championship game twice in two years, winning it this year with a dramatic victory over the Detroit Lions. San Francisco’s all-star cast, including RB Christian McCaffrey, receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, and defenders Nick Bosa and Fred Warner, all contributed to the 49ers’ 12-5 record and #1 seed.

Storylines to know

If you haven’t already heard by now, Taylor Swift and Chiefs All-Pro TE Travis Kelce are dating, and Swift has made appearances at his games to show her support. The musical megastar has drawn a new audience of Swifties to the NFL, and to the Kansas City Chiefs. A big story for Swifties will be if she can find a break in her busy touring schedule to show up for the Super Bowl. Focusing more on football itself, the Chiefs won last year’s Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles and will be looking to go back-to-back for the first time since the New England Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005.

For the 49ers, β€œMr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy will look to secure the 49ers’ sixth franchise Super Bowl victory, their first in nearly 30 years, tying them with the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers for teams with the most Lombardi trophies. Purdy will attempt to outplay Patrick Mahomes, who is widely considered the current best quarterback in the league.

What do the Bengals believe?

When asked who they are supporting in the Super Bowl, Blake students gave some interesting results. An overwhelming 46.2% of Bengals are rooting for the 49ers, with only 15.4% in favor of the Chiefs. Blake students don’t want to see Kansas City win back-to-back championships and continue their ascension to dynasty status.

Forms response chart. Question title: Who are you rooting for in Super Bowl LVIII?. Number of responses: 26 responses.

A large number of students are also planning to watch the big game, with 48% definitely interested in the game and an additional 28% watching only for the halftime show and special advertisements. 12% on the other hand, indicated that they had no interest in the event.

Forms response chart. Question title: Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl this year?. Number of responses: 25 responses.

Additionally, over 15% of students responded that they were interested in the Super Bowl due to the Taylor Swift effect β€” that they were interested mostly due to the Swift/Kelce connection. About 23%, however, responded that they strongly disliked the constant coverage of the β€œMidnights” singer’s relationship in NFL media. Whether it’s panning to Swift celebrating after a Chiefs touchdown, or official NFL social media accounts posting Taylor-related videos, these students would prefer to see less of her.

Finally, the Bengals gave their opinions on this year’s halftime show, headlined by Usher. The consensus among Blake students was, for an overwhelming 50% of students, that their excitement largely depends on the special guests Usher will bring out during the performance.

Overall, the Chiefs vs. 49ers matchup promises to be an exciting and interesting experience for everyone. Whether you’re watching for the Taylor Swift cameos, the ads and halftime show, or a competitive ballgame, Super Bowl LVIII has something in store for all viewers.