Super Bowl Preview: What you need to know about the big game and more


Hansen Hasenberg, Staff Writer

One of the biggest annual sporting events in the world is ready to kick off this weekend in Tampa, Fla. Super Bowl LV will air on CBS at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021.

The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the National Football League’s most coveted prize, the Lombardi Trophy. 

The game is a rematch with the first game being a 27-24 win for the Chiefs.

With the game taking place in Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers have about as good of a home-field advantage as any team can. This is the first time in the Super Bowl era that a team will play for the trophy in their home stadium. 

Despite playing in front of what is likely to be a friendly crowd, Tampa Bay will have their hands full with Kansas City’s explosive offense, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes, who was named the NFL MVP in 2018, was injured in the divisional round when the Chiefs survived the Cleveland Browns 22-17. 

Despite suffering a concussion in that game, as well as nursing a toe injury, the 25-year-old quarterback was cleared to play in the AFC championship game and led the Chiefs to an impressive 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Kansas City comes into the Super Bowl with a 16-2 record, including their two playoff victories.

Aside from Mahomes, the Chiefs bring a litany of talent to Tampa.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who is arguably the best player at his position, broke George Kittle’s receiving yards for a tight end in a season record with 1,416 yards this year. He comes into the Super Bowl having back to back 100 yard receiving games in the two wins over the Browns and Bills.

Other stars for the Chiefs include wide receiver Tyreek Hill, safety Tyrann Mathieu, and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

The Chiefs are looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, something that only seven franchises have been able to do.

The Buccaneers on the other hand are playing in the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years.

In large part, this is due to key additions made to the team during free agency this past offseason.

Most notably, the addition of Tom Brady.

Brady, who is 43, chose to become a Buccaneer after splitting with the New England Patriots, a team he had been a part of since 2000. 

His impact on the team has been mostly felt through his leadership, as he has seemingly brought his winning mentality to Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The four-time Super Bowl MVP is playing in his 10th Super Bowl, more than any other player has in NFL history.

Brady is widely considered the greatest of all time at his position and if he wins the Super Bowl this Sunday, he will have more Super Bowl wins than any NFL franchise. 

Aside from Brady, the Buccaneers also added Antonio Brown, the talented and controversial wide receiver, and tight end Rob Gronkowski, a familiar face to Tom Brady from his days in New England. 

Tampa Bay finished the regular season 11-5 and played every game on the road for the NFC playoffs.  

They defeated the Washington Football Team 31-23, the New Orleans Saints 30-20, and the Green Bay Packers 31-26.

Throughout the regular season, the Buccaneers played inconsistently. Beating the Packers 38-10 in the regular season but losing to the Saints 38-3.

Despite the ups and downs, the Buccaneers were able to right the ship and now find themselves with an opportunity to win it all.

The matchup of Brady and Mahomes may be the main event for many fans, but don’t sleep on other matchups, especially along the line of scrimmage.

Kansas City comes into the Super Bowl with one of the best offenses in the league due in part to their offensive line.

But the Chiefs will be without two-time pro bowl tackle Eric Fisher, who protects Mahomes’ blind side. He suffered an Achilles injury against the Bills.

It remains to be seen if the Buccaneers’ front seven will be able to apply enough pressure to make a difference against Mahomes, who is one of the best improvisational quarterbacks in the NFL.

Another key matchup to watch is how the Tampa Bay defense deals with Kansas City’s receivers. 

With so many weapons, the Chiefs can be hard to handle, as many teams have found out this season, including the Buccaneers.

Defensive back Carlton Davis III, who leads the team in interceptions with 4, will have to go toe to toe with Tyreek Hill, one of the fastest players in the NFL. 

Hill’s nickname is “Cheetah,” if there were any doubts.

The Buccaneers are probably best at the linebacker positions with Devin White and LaVonte David accounting for most of the production on defense.

Despite being one of the greatest players of all time, Tom Brady struggled in the second half of the NFC championship, throwing 3 interceptions on three consecutive drives. 

If he does something similar against the Chiefs, it may be a long night.

Beyond the game itself, the Super Bowl will look a little different this year for several reasons.

With COVID-19 still raging in America, the NFL has taken precautions to ensure the health and safety of the people coming to the game.

According to the NFL, hand sanitizer will be readily available, and they are encouraging people to use it. In addition, face coverings are required, and social distancing measures will be implemented.

The first few rows of seats in front of the player benches on the sidelines will be blocked off in keeping with social distancing.

The NFL will also be giving 7,500 free tickets to vaccinated health care workers as a gesture of gratitude for their work over the past year. 

Another change with this Super Bowl is the commercials.

Budweiser, who has been a Super Bowl advertising staple for more than 30 years, will not be showing an ad this Sunday.

Other familiar brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi will also sitting out this year. Although, Pepsi is still the title sponsor of the halftime show.

Some of the companies that will not be showing an ad are going to put their resources and focus into COVID-19 relief and vaccine awareness. Other companies are just saving their money after an economically stressful 2020.

For some people, the halftime show is the main event.

This year’s Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show will feature The Weeknd.

Fresh off being named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people and a highly successful album, The Weeknd, who is a Canadian singer, will perform at the same event that musical icons such as Michael Jackson and Madonna have. 

To catch the halftime show, as well as the game itself, tune in to CBS Sunday night. You can also watch it for free on your phone with the CBS Sports app or on