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NFL-Five storylines to follow at the Super Bowl

NFL-Five storylines to follow at the Super Bowl

Preview for Super Bowl LV, in Tampa, Florida

TAMPA, Fla: Five storylines to watch when the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in Tampa on Sunday:

1 - Can the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes pull off a repeat win?

The Chiefs ended a Super Bowl drought lasting five decades in Miami last year and after going 14-2 in the regular season they are favored to win the Lombardi Trophy once again.

Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mahomes showed why the Chiefs handed him a reported US$450 million, 10-year contract extension by throwing for 4,740 yards in the regular season, second only to Houston's Deshaun Watson.

The Chiefs are also stacked at receiver with the league's top tight end Travis Kelce, who had the second-most receiving yards of any player, and speedy wideout Tyreek Hill, who gouged the Bucs for 13 catches, 269 yards and three touchdowns in Week 12.

2 - Brady's second act

Quarterback Tom Brady packed up his record six Super Bowl rings this off-season after two decades with the New England Patriots to join the Buccaneers, setting out to prove he is still a dominant force in the league, even at 43.

By virtually every available metric, he succeeded.

The four-time Super Bowl MVP threw 40 touchdown passes during the regular season - his most since 2007 - and finished third in the league in passing yards as the Bucs overcame three straight road-game losses to finish the year 11-5.

He told reporters this week he would consider playing past the age of 45, and as he prepares to play in his 10th Super Bowl there is every chance he will be around for a few more years.

A win on Sunday would also see Brady catch up with former rival Peyton Manning, the only starting quarterback to have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy with two different teams.

3 - Mask up, game on

A season once in peril due to the COVID-19 pandemic will come to a climax in front of a limited crowd of 22,000 mask-clad fans at Raymond James Stadium with strict social distancing protocols in place.

As public health experts urge NFL fans to avoid private Super Bowl gatherings in close quarters, the league is out to prove its own party can go off without a hitch.

The NFL distributed free tickets to the game to 7,500 frontline healthcare workers and said this week it is currently in talks with its players' association for a future vaccine policy.

4 - Tampa will root, root, root for the home team

After the Lightning took home the NHL's Stanley Cup in September, Tampa will hope its good luck continues as it becomes the first city to host their own team at the Super Bowl.

Despite an inauspicious introduction that saw Brady thrown out of a Tampa park in April amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Bucs fans have fully embraced the GOAT candidate, who delivered a winning season and ended the Bucs' 13-year playoff drought.

While the public health crisis put a damper on what would have been a huge bash in the days leading up to the game, Florida's third-largest city is making the most of its hosting gig with outdoor events lining Tampa's two-mile-long riverwalk.

5 - U.S. President Joe Biden on the 'Super' stage

Newly sworn-in Democratic President Biden will appear for a CBS interview on Super Bowl Sunday, reaching a massive potential audience for America's most-watched sporting event, which pulled in an estimated 99.9 million viewers last year.

The traditional interview, which former President George W. Bush started in 2004 and former President Donald Trump skipped last year, could be a platform for Biden, an avowed fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, to promote his US$1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery;Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: Reuters


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