What you need to know about Super Bowl LIV

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will play for the NFL championship
Photos by Associated Press and Getty Images

In the NFL’s 100th season, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will battle for the league’s crown in Super Bowl LIV.

For Kansas City, this moment — reaching the Super Bowl — is immense. That was underscored during the AFC championship game, when Clark Hunt, owner of the Chiefs, was handed the conference trophy as his team advanced to its first Super Bowl in 50 years. The trophy bears the name of his father, Lamar Hunt, a key figure in the league’s history.

The Chiefs will face the 49ers, who hadn’t finished with a winning record in five years before they burst on to the scene with a balanced offense and dominant defensive line. They rode those units, and Coach Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling, to the NFC’s top seed this year.

When is the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl LIV is Sunday, Feb. 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

Where is the Super Bowl?

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., home of the Miami Dolphins, will host this year’s game. It’s the sixth time the stadium has hosted the Super Bowl — most recently in 2010 — and the 11th time the game has been played in the Miami area, starting with Super Bowl II in 1968.

Have the Chiefs played in the Super Bowl before?

Yes, years and years ago. The Chiefs lost Super Bowl I to the Green Bay Packers in the 1966 season and then won Super Bowl IV in the 1969 season, back when the matchups were still known as the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game.”

Chiefs Coach Andy Reid holds the Lamar Hunt Trophy on Sunday. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Chiefs Coach Andy Reid is one of the league’s best, but he lost the only Super Bowl in which he has appeared. That was in the 2004 season, when Reid, who was with the Philadelphia Eagles at the time, lost to the New England Patriots. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City’s brilliant quarterback, will be playing in his first Super Bowl.

What about the 49ers?

The 49ers have played in six Super Bowls and won five of them (in the 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989 and 1994 seasons). They were the most successful team of the 1980s.

How do the teams match up?

The Chiefs and 49ers built similar rosters to succeed in the modern NFL. They rely on young quarterbacks, versatile defenses and creative, offensive-minded coaches. The key for the Chiefs is slowing a 49ers defensive line stuffed with stars, including rookie defensive end Nick Bosa. The 49ers need to contain the reigning league MVP, quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs have an array of offensive weapons around Mahomes, including receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Sammy Watkins. The 49ers have one top-flight option in pass coverage, cornerback Richard Sherman, but will need the rest of the unit to step up and prevent the Chiefs from running wild.

The 49ers’ offense is predicated on the ground game with a three-headed monster at running back in Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. They’re keyed by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who most often targets his elite tight end, George Kittle, and supplements them with receivers Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders. The Chiefs’ defense, elite in pass-rushing with linemen Chris Jones and Frank Clark, can be susceptible to vertical attacks. It’ll be on Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a. “The Honey Badger,” to limit Kittle and stifle the 49ers.

Who is Katie Sowers?

Sowers will become the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl on Sunday. She is an offensive assistant on 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s staff and one of three women who have full-time NFL coaching jobs (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers employ the other two).

What jerseys are the Chiefs and 49ers wearing?

The 49ers reportedly wanted to wear their all-white, 1994 throwbacks, but that won’t be happening. The league alternates home and away in each Super Bowl by conference, and the AFC champion Chiefs are the home team this year. This means the Chiefs get to wear their home red jerseys while the 49ers will wear the traditional road uniform of white jerseys and gold pants.

Have they met in the Super Bowl before?

No. The most notable recent history between these teams is that San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore the ACL in his left knee against Kansas City in September 2018. He missed the rest of that season.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo celebrates after running back Raheem Mostert scored Sunday. (Tony Avelar/AP)

What channel is the Super Bowl on? Is it streamed?

The game will be broadcast by Fox, and it will be streamed on Joe Buck will be the play-by-play announcer, Troy Aikman will provide color commentary, and Erin Andrews and Chris Myers will be the sideline reporters.

How is the Super Bowl host city selected?

The owners of the 32 NFL teams used to vote on bids from cities, but that is no longer the case, Michael Zimmer, president of the Miami Super Bowl host committee, told CNN last year. The NFL is transitioning to a model in which the league asks a city whether it would like to host, he said, and if it does, the two parties negotiate the terms.

Why does the Super Bowl use Roman numerals?

The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to avoid any confusion that could be caused by playing the Super Bowl in the year after the regular season, according to the NFL media guide. This is Super Bowl LIV, or Super Bowl 54.

What does the Super Bowl winner get?

The winner of the Super Bowl claims the Vince Lombardi Trophy — a 22-inch-tall, seven-pound, sterling silver football on a stand. Each member of the winning team also gets $118,000.

Why is it called the Super Bowl?

The name’s true origins are somewhat unclear, but there’s a popular legend that it started in 1966, when the established National Football League announced it would merge with the upstart American Football League. The contest between the league winners was, for a few years, called some variation of “the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.” Yet the NFL knew it needed a catchier name.

The story goes that one owner, Lamar Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, suggested “Super Bowl” because his children loved the Super Ball, a bouncy and popular toy. He said “bowl” was a phonetic confusion with “ball.”

How much is a ticket to the Super Bowl?

The average ticket price for a ticket to the Super Bowl is between $4,000 and $5,000, according to The cheapest tickets on the secondary market were more than $3,000 before Sunday’s games, but prices for better seats were many multiples of that.

What are the prop bets?

A prop bet is a wager involving specific players or events, rather than the outcome of the game. This is different from a wager on whether one team will win, or how many points will be scored. They are very popular for sports gamblers every Super Bowl, and the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas releases a massive list of possible wagers each year ahead of the game.

Some are straightforward, such as whether Patrick Mahomes will throw an interception in the Super Bowl. Others are more esoteric, like the one asking which will be higher, Jaylen Brown’s made free throws in the Celtics-Sixers game on Feb. 1 or the number of field goals made by both teams in the Super Bowl. Here are some of the best from the Westgate list if you’re looking to wager a few dollars.

Who are the halftime performers?

(Michael Zorn/Invision/AP) (AP)

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, two pop icons, will be this year’s performers. Shakira, who is Colombian, and Lopez, a Puerto Rican from the Bronx, called attention to the fact that two Latina performers would be sharing such a major stage; Shakira called the gig “a true American Dream.”

This is the first Super Bowl halftime show since the NFL and Jay-Z announced a partnership last year that included having the rapper and his agency, Roc Nation, co-produce the event.

Elahe Izadi, pop culture writer

Who is singing the national anthem?

Demi Lovato. The 27-year-old entertainer has been flying under the radar since an opioid overdose in July 2018, limiting her work to a few acting roles. She will return to the big stage with a high-profile appearance at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 26, but she won’t be singing at the show. “The Star-Spangled Banner” will mark her return to live music for an audience that last year, according to Nielsen, was nearly 100 million people.

Christine Sun Kim will perform to anthem in American Sign Language. Kim, who has been deaf since birth, studied music, arts and sound in college and became an artist. Her work has been exhibited in major cultural institutions across the globe. She will also perform “America the Beautiful.”

How did Super Bowl commercials become a thing?

After Apple’s famous “1984” ad, the value of the 30-second spots exploded. Last year, they reportedly sold for north of $5 million each and would be seen by more than 112 million viewers.

Which team has won the most Super Bowls?

The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls each. The 49ers would join them with a win in Super Bowl LIV.

Which teams have never won the Super Bowl?

Twelve franchises have never won the Super Bowl.

Eight teams have played in at least one Super Bowl but lost: the Minnesota Vikings (four), Buffalo Bills (four), Cincinnati Bengals (two), Carolina Panthers (two), Atlanta Falcons (two), Los Angeles Chargers (one), Tennessee Titans (one) and Arizona Cardinals (one).

Four teams have never appeared in the Super Bowl: the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Read more:

Who is George Kittle? A self-made star who leads 49ers with both brutality and bliss.

Nick Bosa is more than a sack machine for the 49ers

Kyle Shanahan grew up trailing his dad to the Super Bowl. Now he could lead the 49ers there.

What makes George Kittle such a great tight end? Everything.

How Jimmy Garoppolo ended up with the 49ers, gift-wrapped by the Patriots

In tragedies’ wake, Andy Reid and the Chiefs found success through second chances

Andy Reid is the NFL’s most influential head coach

How overtime rules work in the playoffs

How the new pass interference instant replay rule works

The NFL is fine with its postseason format, even though fans think it’s unfair

We noticed you’re blocking ads!

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on.
Unblock ads
Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us