Here’s what you need to know:

  • Despite the pandemic, some fans worked hard to get into the game.

February 7, 2021, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • It’s a traditional match for Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • For the first time, two women are coaching the Super Bowl. And Sarah Thomas will be the referee.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • Mahomes was unreal on third down.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • The choice of fan has public health implications.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • A pandemic leads to Super Bowl ads filled with singles and roommates.

February 7, 2021, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

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Travis Kelce has celebrated plenty, including when the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC championship game.

Travis Kelce celebrates even though the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC championship. Credit…Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Travis Kelce has spent a lot of time at home watching replays of old Super Bowl games since the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC championship game on January 24.

“These games have been on television like an endless loop, one after another,” Kelce said last week. The Chiefs’ All-Pro team said they sometimes try to learn something by watching yesterday’s great players play in the spotlight, but the biggest lesson has come home – losing the Super Bowl has to suck.

Kansas City might practice in the Super Bowl, but Kelce tries not to think of another possibility.

“We put so much effort and thought into it, and you dream and imagine two weeks,” Kelsey said. “Dude, for those who haven’t found a way to win, I hope I never have that feeling. I don’t want it to come to life. I don’t even want to think about it.”

The Kelce family won the Super Bowl 2-0. Travis’ brother Jason won as an offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2017 season. Jason delivered a lively and powerful speech after what was perhaps the most memorable moment in Philadelphia’s winning streak.

“We want to maintain Kelsey’s winning streak,” Travis said. “That’s another reason to come out on top.”

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Benjamin Hoffman headshot

 

Benjamin Hoffman reports from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The scene outside the Raymond James is not much different than this year’s, with a loud crowd and lots of security. But inside, you’ll notice how many seats are filled with cardboard cutouts for fans.

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February 7, 2021, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Kevin Draper.

Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs strolled Tampa Riverwalk during leadup events for the Super Bowl.

Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs took a walk along the Tampa River during preparations for the Super Bowl….Eve Edelheit in the New York Times.

Kansas City Chiefs are making another attempt for the Super Bowl in Florida. It’s the only thing that has anything to do with last year’s circumstances.

Soccer fans across the country are trying to figure out how to celebrate the Super Bowl in the middle of the pandemic. Some, like Jeremiah Coleman, a fan of the Wichita Chiefs, Kan. flew to Tampa and paid nearly $7,000 for a ticket to see the game in person.

Others, like Christian Mollon, tried to get rid of Super Bowl tickets all week. Mollon, a Buffalo Bills fan who now lives in Kansas City, bought tickets to the C.F.A. championship game in hopes that his team would make it to the Super Bowl. That’s not what happened.

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Tom Brady already has six Super Bowl wins with the New England Patriots. He is seeking his seventh with a new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tom Brady has already won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots. He wants to play his seventh game with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Credit…Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Tom Brady has already won more Super Bowls (six) than any other quarterback and played in more Super Bowls (nine) than any other NFL team except the New England Patriots. So it’s safe to say that Tom Brady needs a Super Bowl win to cement his football legacy.

But there is a school of thought that says a victory on Sunday night at Tampa Bay would elevate Brady in soccer history because it would simultaneously stop Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes, Brady’s potential heir apparent in the discussion of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who will broadcast Sunday’s game on CBS, called the game a “legacy game” – the legacy of Brady against Mahomes.

“The fact that Mahomes is somehow involved in this discussion shows how incredible this man is,” Romo told reporters. “There is a chance for Patrick Mahomes, who is playing this game, to win. If Mahomes wins, he keeps the door open. If Brady wins, I don’t know how we can beat him.”

Romo compared their game to a hypothetical match between two of the greatest NBA players of all time, Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

“You talk about that with your friends,” Romo said. “Can you imagine Michael Jordan leading his team to the finals against LeBron – who’s going to be the face of the league? That’s what we’re going to get in this Super Bowl.”

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February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

Kevin Draper.

Sarah Thomas, a down judge, will be the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl.

Judge Sarah Thomas will be the first woman to speak during the Super Bow ….l Brian Westerholt/Associated Press.

The 55th Super Bowl will feature a first: two women will participate in the game as coaches.

Lori Locust, defensive assistant, and Maral Javadifar, strength and conditioning assistant, are both on the staff of Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians.

Before 2015, there was never a female coach in the NFL. But this season, there were eight, by far. Among them was Jennifer King, whose recent promotion by Washington football made her the first black woman to become a full-time coach in the league.

Advocates for women in sports are cautiously optimistic that the number of female coaches in the NFL will continue to increase. But they are cautious about the number of minority head coaches in the league, as well as the progress made by the league’s Rooney Rule. In 2017, there were eight minority head coaches; now there are only three.

Sunday’s game will be another first for the women. When Javadifar and Locust shake hands with the referees, they will shake hands with referee Sarah Thomas.

She is the first woman to host the Super Bowl.

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February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

Ben Spiegel

The stats show that Mahomes is remarkably good at making sure his Chiefs convert on third down.

Statistics show that Mahomes has been surprisingly successful in getting his Chiefs to convert in the third quarter. Credit… Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

The chiefs’ offense prefers to avoid third failures. But since this is not practical, at least they have Patrick Mahomes. Among the many things he erases on the soccer field – deficits, defenses, conflicting expectations – is the difficulty of a third and long, defined here as at least 7 yards.

On 80 of the occasions when Mahomes returned to complete a pass in this situation, he won the first runs 40% of the time and gained 8.4 yards per game, according to Football Outsiders and Sports Info Solutions.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself and tell myself it doesn’t always happen,” said Austin Reiter of the Chiefs’ Center.

No, he didn’t. The league average is 28%, and Tom Brady converted only 20% of his third and long dropbacks, averaging 6.9 yards per game. However, Brady made up for this low percentage with touchdowns (four) and big plays, trying to gain more yards than he needed for the first few runs.

Unlike Mahomes, who tried to convert a third and 20 against the Chargers in Week 2, Brady is no threat to run. At least not at this point.

“I’m going to work on my speed in the offseason and try to get it up a little bit,” Brady said. “I see all these guys running around. I need to do more plays like that.”

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February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:01 p.m. Eastern Time.

Ken Belson.

A fan experience in Tampa attracted crowds ahead of the game.

The fan experience in Tampa drew crowds before the game was even axed….AJ is the masthead of the New York Times.

Common sense says that gathering 25,000 people during a pandemic can lead to an increase in the number of coronavirus infections, and the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida is no exception. But attempts to determine the number of infections that may have been caused by the event have frustrated scientists because contact tracing is often erratic, especially when fans return home across the country after Sunday’s game.

Donald Burke, an epidemiologist who teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, is trying to develop a way to estimate the potential spread of the virus using cell phone tracking data, virus transmission statistics and other information. He hopes that the models created by his company, Epistemix, can be used by public health officials and event operators to decide whether large gatherings, including soccer games with fans, are safe enough.

“The question is what is the impact of an event,” Mr. Burke said. “Every institution tries to determine what the relative impact is.”

But the models only record the people who attend a particular event, not the many other events taking place nearby. The NFL can impose behavioral restrictions on its facilities, but events like the Super Bowl attract tens of thousands of other people, as has happened in Tampa, where large gatherings of people without masks have been reported.

And while fans sometimes wear masks at stadiums, they often visit bars and restaurants before and after games. Texas health officials reported in November that eight people who tested positive told contact coaches that they had recently attended home games of the Dallas Cowboys. It is not known whether they were infected before, during or after the games.

There will be about 25,000 fans at the Super Bowl, but 7,500 of them will be vaccinated by health workers. The rest of the fans will be in small groups separate from the rest. The league does not require fans to be tested or vaccinated before entering the stadium, but some may be tested or both. The NFL gives each fan a KN95 mask and hand sanitizer, and fans must wear masks except when eating or drinking.

One of the variables will be the selection of fans after the game. Some will get tested upon their return or proactively practice self-quarantine to avoid infecting others. Others may wait until they experience the first symptoms. At this stage, it is likely that they have transmitted the virus during the day.

“Modeling the virus is the easy part,” Burke said. “Modeling people is the hard part.”

He believes the NFL doesn’t have to worry too much about widespread gambling infections because it has taken steps to protect fans. But Burke’s models could be improved with data on the origin of fans, the parts wearing masks, and other information.

“It’s the science we have to do,” he said.

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February 7, 2021, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

February 7, 2021, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Tiffany Hsu.

The job search site Indeed did not shy away from addressing the difficulties of pandemic life in a new commercial, the company’s first for a Super Bowl.

Job search site Indeed didn’t hesitate to bring up the pandemic in a new ad, the first for a company on the Super Bow….Really…

The Super Bowl commercial breaks are usually the setting for extravagant shoots, with performers indulging in fantastic sets whose production costs rival the million-dollar prices of broadcast slots.

This year, 30-second placements each cost about $5.5 million. But if the production of Sunday commercials seems to have decreased, the pandemic is to blame.

After months of angst with Covid 19, the freeze on major productions such as Batman and Jurassic World: Dominion”, “Super Bowl advertisers have largely avoided concepts involving large crowds and high-profile venues.

Mercary’s e-commerce marketplace is said to feature players who are already living together. In an ad for the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, actor Brad Garrett appears in scenes he shot himself (a spokesman said the company wanted to respect pandemic safety rules and be “sensitive about depicting things that might be perceived as inappropriate in the eyes of consumers in 2021”).

Rachel Ferdinando, director of marketing for Frito-Lay North America, said that about 90 percent of the staff involved in the Super Bowl ads were virtual. The spots featured brands such as Doritos, usually with Matthew McConaughey alone or in small groups, and Cheetos, with couple Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher and their guest Shaggy).

“It was no small thing,” Ferdinando said.

Frito-Lay began planning its Super Bowl campaigns in the spring, but did not commit to running ads during the CBS broadcast until December, Ferdinando said. The company will not be hosting events in Tampa this weekend, as it normally does.

“We were just working with a longer timeline and planning as much as possible to minimize the risks, but we weren’t sure the season would go as planned and we weren’t sure how it would play out over the course of the year,” she said.

Huggies, the diaper brand that decided to make its Super Bowl debut late last year, will not finish its ads until Sunday – the company plans to post already-recorded footage with images taken and shared by virtual families of babies born earlier in the day.

“We’re not doing anything, we won’t be in hospitals,” said Rebecca Dunphey, president of personal care for Huggies’ parent company, Kimberly-Clark North America. “We’re doing this 100 percent out of safety concerns, because we want to make sure we don’t cause any more stress on these parents.”

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Frequently asked questions

Who should win the 2021 Super Bowl?

Languages

Where can I watch the halftime show of Super Bowl 2021?

Venue: Raymond James Stadium Television (Tampa, Fla.): CBS | Feed: FREE on CBSSports.com and CBS Sports App.

Can you watch Super Bowl 2021 live?

CBS Sports offers expanded access to pre-game coverage of this year’s LV Super Bowl. … CBS Sports HQ, a streaming sports news network available 24/7 for free on digital platforms, services and connected devices, will broadcast the week before CBS Sports live from Tampa.

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