Super Bowl LV: What you need to know

Super Bowl LV is this Sunday. It pits the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Here’s everything you need to know about game day.

  • Q: When and where is the Super Bowl?
  • Super Bowl LV is Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.

    This is the 17th time the Super Bowl has been played in Florida, the most of any state.

  • Q: Who's playing?
  • Well, definitely not the Washington Football Team.

    The Kansas City Chiefs are facing off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • Q: Who are the QBs?
  • Patrick Mahomes will lead the Chiefs.

    Tom Brady will lead the Buccaneers.

    It’s Brady’s 10th trip to the NFL title round — making him one of the only players in the four major North American sports leagues to do that in more than 30 years. It’s also the first time the QB will be playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium.

    Brady and LeBron James are the first players to make it to the title round for a 10th time since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in his final season in the NBA, in 1989.

    A win on Sunday would be Brady’s seventh championship to go along with his three regular season MVP awards, a feat only Celtics legend Bill Russell, Yankees icons Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio have achieved in the four major sports leagues.

    Apropos of nothing, it should be noted that Mahomes’ mother is not a fan of people shortening his name to “Pat.”

  • Q: Who's on play-by-play?
  • Jim Nantz will be in the booth for CBS. It’s his eighth Super Bowl.

    Former Dallas Cowboys star Tony Romo has been tapped to join Nantz.

  • Q: Who's singing the national anthem?
  • Grammy-nominated artists Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church will perform the national anthem ahead of the big game. Grammy-award winner H.E.R. is also slated to sing America the Beautiful.

    Poet Amanda Gorman, who stole the show at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, will also recite a poem during the pregame ceremony.

  • Q: What about the halftime show?
  • The Weeknd will headline this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

    He said he’s humbled by the opportunity.

    “We all grow up watching the world’s biggest acts playing the Super Bowl and one can only dream of being in that position,” the singer said in a statement. “I’m humbled, honored and ecstatic to be the center of that infamous stage.”

    The Weeknd broke through into the mainstream with his smash hit “Can’t Feel My Face” that was featured on his second studio album, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” which topped the Billboard 200 in 2015 and won a Grammy. He’s had three other chart-topping albums including his recent offering “After Hours,” which was released in March.

    He joins a list of celebrated musicians who have played during Super Bowl halftime shows, including Madonna, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Katy Perry, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and last year’s duo of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

  • Q: Are there concerns about COVID-19?
  • There are always concerns about the coronavirus.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he doesn’t want the Super Bowl to turn into a super spreader event.

    When it comes to Super Bowl parties during the pandemic, people should “just lay low and cool it,” he said.

    “You don’t want parties with people that you haven’t had much contact with,” Fauci told NBC’s “Today” show. “You just don’t know if they’re infected, so, as difficult as that is, at least this time around, just lay low and cool it.”

    The NFL has capped game attendance at 22,000 people because of the pandemic and citywide coronavirus mandates.

  • Q: How does Mahomes stack up against Brady?
  • LeSean McCoy is a good person to ask. He spent last season with the Chiefs and Mahomes, helping them win the Super Bowl, then signed with Brady’s Bucs during the offseason and is back in position to win another.

    He compares the quarterbacks to Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

    “They both are competitive, extremely competitive,” McCoy said. “They always want to win at any cost. They have that superstar quality to them. I think that Pat’s younger and Brady’s older, more established, so successful, and I think Pat is chasing that. I think he’s on the verge of being the next Brady. I love to watch them lead but lead differently, but they all have the ultimate same goal — they want to win.”

  • Q: Chiefs offense
  • Defenses have had a hard time slowing down Kansas City’s dynamic duo of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce this postseason. Hill has 17 catches for 282 yards, while Kelce has 21 catches for 227 yards.

    Both have topped 100 yards receiving in the first two playoff games and can be the first set of teammates to do that three games in a row in a single postseason.

    Kelce and Hill can be the third set of teammates each to top 300 yards receiving in a single postseason, joining Carolina’s Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad (2003) and New England’s Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan (2016).

  • Q: Brady's drive
  • Brady has taken time to get started in his first nine trips to the Super Bowl. Brady has been the quarterback for 17 drives in the Super Bowl that started and ended in the first quarter and has scored on only one of those possessions, a field goal against Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52.

    The fourth quarter has been a completely different story for Brady in those games. He led game-winning field goal drives in his first two trips to the title game and has been even better late in the game in his last four trips. Brady is 47 for 63 for 538 yards, four TDs, no interceptions and a 121 rating in the fourth quarter and overtime of those games.

  • Q: Super Bowl betting
  • Flag Super Bowl betting as one more thing the coronavirus pandemic has ruined for at least some people.

    The American Gaming Association, the gambling industry’s national trade group, released a report Tuesday predicting that the number of people planning to make a bet on the big game will decrease this year.

    That’s largely because many people still haven’t returned to work settings, where office pools and squares pools are often circulated and filled out, as well as because fewer people are planning to make bets at in-person sportsbooks, including casinos and horse tracks.

    But at the same time, the report predicts that the rapid growth of legal sports betting in the U.S. should easily smash records in terms of the amount wagered online — the manner in which most sports bets are made.

    The AGA report says 23.2 million Americans plan to bet on the game. That would be a decline of 12% from last year’s levels.

    It says the $4.3 billion they are projected to wager, both legally and otherwise, would be down 38% from last year’s Super Bowl.

    But it also forecast a record 7.6 million Americans betting with online sportsbooks, up 63% from last year.

  • Q: What else?
  • Well, Tampa’s famed strip clubs are apparently preparing for a weird Super Bowl week because of coronavirus.

    When Tampa was chosen host of this year’s Super Bowl, strip club owners anticipated a windfall. Now, though, making it rain is less of a guarantee. There’s a global pandemic, citywide mask mandates and an attendance cap of one-third of the stadium’s capacity, so only 22,000 fans can go. Plus, the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the game, which means fewer people will be traveling and spending money. That leaves the owners and dancers of Tampa’s numerous strip clubs worried about how this year will shake out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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