SUPER BOWL LVIII FOR DUMMIES
A Guide to Who You Should Root for in the 2024 Super Bowl
The annual primer for the final football game that is about so much more than merely football is here once again. This year, in the dystopian society of gambling and buffet-ridden Las Vegas ran by supreme overlord and Cheeto-dust covered billionaire Mark Davis, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will face off for the second time in five years. That means more eye sores from the clashing shades of red and gold, but more of the same electrifying play from consistently dominant organizations in the sport.
We’ll also get the first year of the Nickelodeon broadcast, where you could potentially see Patrick Star make fun of an interception in a dumb voice or even slime dumped on a touchdown-celebrating dancing offensive lineman. From former Lifetime sitcom star of Reba, Reba McEntire on the National Anthem, to Usher performing at halftime while everyone in unison is awaiting whether or not Taylor Swift will make an appearance and steal the show, this, as Stefon from SNL would say, has everything.
You may be watching for any of those absurd reasons or to see the commercials that provide more shock value year after year, but it’s event viewing for the entire world. Whether you’ve watched every football game religiously or are watching a game for the first time, while you’re here, let’s break down the two teams that made it here to potentially give you a rooting interest and some stakes in the game.
The Kansas City Chiefs
If you have turned on a single football game within the last 4 years, you’re probably already well-versed in the Kansas City Chiefs already. They’re the team with “Taylor Swift’s boyfriend” on it (Travis Kelce, who also is a top-3 tight end in NFL
history already, has the 2nd-most listened to podcast in the world with his brother, and is in every commercial). They’ve got Patrick Mahomes, who if he retired right now would walk into the Hall of Fame already as he makes a “Peter Parker discovering his powers” level throw where it’s something you or he has never seen done before on a football field (and is also in every commercial). They’ve also been in the Super Bowl 4 of the last 5 years and made the AFC Championship every year that Mahomes has been their quarterback, winning two titles in the process. We went from one dynasty of the New England Patriots with this guy named Tom Brady seamlessly to this one. Their dominance has made it to where you’re probably rooting for them if you’re a Swifty with a Kelce shirsey or someone from the state of Missouri, otherwise the fatigue is setting in. It’s either the Chiefs have brought your team heartbreak year after year, you’re tired of watching football only for the news to cutaway because Taylor has been spotted in a suite eating chicken fingers, or the dominance has simply become too much.
What’s different about the Chiefs dynasty is that truly the only constants has been Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and lovable, big red head coach Andy Reid. They’ve gone through phases of winning merely because Mahomes could throw the ball for
400 yards and it wouldn’t matter what the defense would allow on the other side. This year, Mahomes has had his worst statistical passing season and Kelce has looked his age despite still being able to make high-level catches for about a half per game. Mahomes has had to throw the ball to either rookie, Rashee Rice, or a plethora of receivers that have led the league in dropped-passes. However, they finally have the best runningback in the Mahomes era in Isaiah Pacheco, a 7th-round rookie who looks like an angry child racing his older brother every time he has the ball, and possibly the best defense, too, with a secondary that makes plays in Trent McDuffie, L’Jarius Sneed, and elite pass-rusher Chris Jones on the line to make the other quarterback’s life miserable. It didn’t matter that Mahomes had his most difficult season of his life; what was seen as the most-vulnerable season to finally get the Chiefs didn’t matter, and now everyone is wondering if we should ever bet against him again.
Classmate Comparison: The student council president everyone is tired of seeing on the announcements
Celebrity Fans: Taylor Swift, Paul Rudd, Brad Pitt, Rob Riggle, Eric Stonestreet, Melissa Etheridge, Jason Sudeikis, Miranda Lambert, Henry Winkler
Culture: Barbecue sauce is applicable to every meal of the day, you’ll shove a map in a
nyone’s face if they think Kansas City is in the state of Kansas, and you’re in the odd divide of somewhat rock ‘n roll, somewhat country, somewhat blues region
Pop Culture Comparisons: Regina George from Mean Girls, a guilty-pleasure repetitive song, Gordon Ramsey being somewhat vulnerable and likable every now and then because he’s ultimately a conceited, yet talented chef
Level of Flash: The guy who is really into his lifted truck and posts pictures of it daily
Song to Describe Team: “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift
San Francisco 49ers
It’s been a long time coming for this San Francisco 49ers team, and it’s the first time it sort of feels like everything has finally lined up perfectly into place for head coach Kyle Shanahan to finally jump the ship and hoist the Lombardi.
Ever since he was the young protegee as the son of a legendary coach, his offensive scheme and how easy he makes it for whomever is taking the snaps has been the story as now everyone is trying to hire their own young, up-and-coming coach that replicates Shanahan. Innovating with motion offense to maximize speed for the receivers and running backs, building a brick wall offensive line, and making life easy for the quarterback has made it not seem to matter who is under center. With a plethora of injuries, plaguing his teams with pure bad luck, it hasn’t seemed to bother him one bit as he’s gotten production out of names like Jimmy Garoppolo, CJ Beathard, Nick Mullens, Trey Lance, and now, Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, who was taken 262nd overall in 2022 and has been the best arm in his system so far. After being the OC of the Falcons team that blew a 28-3 Super Bowl lead, losing the 2020 Super Bowl, losing the 2022 NFC Championship game to his former colleague Sean McVay and the Rams, and losing the NFC Championship last year to Philly when Purdy got injured, Shanahan is trying to finally bring
home the big one with no bad luck or excuses.
For some reason, Brock Purdy has been the most controversial figure in all of sports because of his proximity to Shanahan. With this team around him an unbelievable amount of weapons for him to use, Christian McCaffrey, the All-Pro receiving-threat runningback who scores in every game and has quads like Thor, George Kittle, a blocking and receiving tight end who looks like a cross between the actual Thor and a WWE wrestler, and Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk running practically at a downhill slope after Purdy gets him the ball, the Purdy haters will tell you there’s a reason he was drafted last and is just a beneficiary from getting to drive a Ferrari every single week. Based on the eye test, too, he throws a few Tony Romo “AHHH I DON’T KNOW JIM,” balls that could have easily been intercepted.
The Purdy defenders will tell you to just look at the numbers and compare it to any other quarterback Kyle Shanahan has ever had; leading the league in QBR, passer rating, and top-5 in yards, he’s playing at a level where the quarterback position has no longer been seen as a vulnerability like in previous years. It’s a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” situation for Purdy and what he would look like without the benefits of Shanahan’s system, his targets, and a talented defensive group on the other side, but if he keeps winning, does it really matter?
As a franchise that dominated the 80’s and 90’s and has 5 Super Bowls already, they’re not exactly a Cinderella story here amongst the league. However, the Purdy narrative as a doubted Mr. Irrelevant and Kyle Shanahan finally cementing his legacy with a ring will be the ultimate feel-good narrative around the team here. And, of course, fullback Kyle Juszczyk out of Harvard and his wife, Kristin, who designed the jacket Taylor Swift wore to the AFC Championship game and now has apparel licensing rights from the NFL.
Classmate Comparison: The rich friend trying to earn his way into being invited in the cool friend group
Celebrity Fans: E-40, Andy Samberg, Alison Brie, Jeremy Renner, Cristo Fernandez, Miranda Cosgrove, Aaron Paul, Dana Carvey, Bob Weir
Pop Culture Comparisons: When a band goes on a reunion/”one last ride” tour,
Level of Flash: Environmentally-friendly Sports Car
Song to Describe Team: “Try Again” by Aaliyah
The Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 11th at 6:30 EST on CBS, streaming on Paramount+, and Nickelodeon.