By Mark Nagi
Coming up on Sunday in Glendale, Arizona the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles take on the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.
The Super Bowl almost singlehandedly keeps Roman Numerals in the public consciousness.
Enjoy it while you can, because this is the final football game that matters for about seven months.
I don’t want you to be the lone person with nothing to say at the Super Bowl party, so take a few minutes to read this insightful article.
There are storylines a plenty for Super Bowl LVII. It matches the team that won this game six years ago (Philadelphia) with the team that won it four years ago (Kansas City).
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid knows the Eagles franchise very well, as he was their coach for 14 years. Philadelphia got to the Super Bowl once in that time, losing to New England in 2005. The Eagles always seemed to be a Super Bowl contender during his tenure. Reid finally got that elusive title with KC.
This game also features the biggest brother-versus-brother matchup since Kane and Abel. Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, considered to be the best tight end in the game, will look across the field and see his brother Jason, starting center for the Eagles.
The quarterback matchup is a great one, with MVP candidates on each team. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has been a starter for five seasons, and the Chiefs have made it to at least the conference championship game in each of those years. Mahomes has that one Super Bowl win on his resume, and with a second joins the exclusive company of QBs with multiple Super Bowl victories.
Mahomes is playing through a high ankle sprain he suffered in the Divisional round against Jacksonville. His mobility is a concern.
Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts has had quite the career arc. From getting benched in the national championship game with Alabama to transferring to Alabama, and finally being a second-round draft pick in 2020 by the Eagles. He became the starter near the end of his third pro season and has the Eagles on the cusp of their second Super Bowl title in team history.
Hurts has a bad shoulder but hasn’t seemed bothered by it.
If you are looking for Tennessee connections to this game, we’ve got a couple. Derek Barnett, the all-time sack leader for the Vols, is an Eagles defensive end, but tore his ACL in the season opener and will not play in his second Super Bowl.
Kansas City offensive lineman Trey Smith is one of the feel-good stories in this game, even if that has been mostly ignored nationally. Smith was a 5-star recruit and a standout with the Vols but suffered through blood clots during his UT career. Smith saw his stock drop because of those health issues, all the way to the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Smith became a starter quickly for one of the best offenses in the sport, protecting the game’s best player. He hopefully has many years of football ahead of him and could achieve the top team award early in his career.
The Super Bowl has seen its share of great games over the years, and this one has the potential to be another classic. These are two terrific teams and the top seeds in their conferences. The folks in the big, shiny buildings in the desert at last look have the Eagles as a slight favorite.
Try not to overindulge in food and drink and enjoy the commercials, everyone.