Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Reba McEntire leads national anthem ahead of kick-off

By 37ci3 Feb11,2024

Reba McEntire gave a bombastic performance accentuated with pyrotechnics and planes flying above. “Coda” star Daniel Durant also performed the anthem in ASL.

Synergy alert! Keep your eyes peeled for these movie trailers

Don’t be surprised if you see trailers for movies from Paramount Pictures, CBS’ corporate cousin.

“A Quiet Place: Day One,” the third installment in the horror franchise, was the first to appear during commercial breaks.

John Krasinski’s “IF,” “Bob Marley: One Love” and “A Quiet Place: Day One” are also likely to debut.

All three movies all slated to roll out in theaters in the first half of the year.

It’s not clear if any of the other big Hollywood studios booked ad time this year. I’m curious whether Disney plans to advertise the fact that it has exclusive streaming rights on “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.”

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Post Malone goes acoustic at the Super Bowl.Michael Reaves / Getty Images

The rapper busted out an acoustic guitar for his rendition of the classic song. Taylor Swift and Blake Lively were seen swaying along to Malone’s performance.

The teams are introduced and we’re getting closer …

The Chiefs were loudly booed as they took field … this feels like a Niners home crowd.

Andra Day kicks off preshow

Andra Day graced Super Bowl viewers with a beautiful, soulful rendition of “Lift Every Voice And Sing” to start the game.

If that’s any indication of tonight’s performances, we’re in for a great show.

Some American Indians protest Chiefs outside stadium

A stone’s throw from Allegiant Stadium, surrounded by fans streaming in for the big game, a group of about 20 American Indians protested what they called the “racist stereotypes” of the Kansas City Chiefs’ name and logo and their fans’ signature “Tomahawk chop” hand gesture.

One held a sign reading: “Taylor Swift doesn’t do the Tomahawk Chop. Be like Taylor.”

“It’s too bad, because I love sports,” said Fawn Douglas of the Las Vegas Paiute tribe.

Normally, she said, she would have been excited that the Super Bowl was in her hometown: “But how am I supposed to enjoy this?”

The group of protesters included Native people from southern Nevada, as well as several who traveled in from Kansas City and other places.

Gaylene Crouser of the Standing Rock Sioux, who lives in Kansas City and is the executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center, watched as fans walked by doing the Tomahawk chop in an apparent effort to taunt the protesters.

Gaylene Crouser, executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center
Gaylene Crouser, executive director of the Kansas City Indian CenterDavid Noriega / NBC News

“It seems like blatant racism against Native Americans is the only socially acceptable form of racism these days,” she said. “It’s not just socially acceptable — they’re celebrating it.”

The campaign against Native American team names and logos has had several high-profile victories in recent years: In 2020, both the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins opted to change their names after years of pressure, and they are now known as the Guardians and the Commanders, respectively.

Among the protesters outside Allegiant Stadium was Amanda Blackhorse, a Dine (Navajo) activist from Arizona who was deeply involved in the protest campaign against the Redskins. She said that the Chiefs’ ownership knows their team name is offensive — hence their decision to ban headdresses from their stadium in Kansas City — and that it’s only a matter of time before they follow in the footsteps of their Washington counterparts.

“These guys are next,” she said. “They know they are.”

Las Vegas has invested billions into sports. Will it pay off?

Once known mainly for gambling and debauchery, Las Vegas has catapulted itself to the world of professional sports in recent years. Now it’s hosting Super Bowl 58.

Allegiant Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be played, has spurred change. The $2 billion venue was built for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and opened in 2020. Its capacity is of 65,000 people. That has allowed the city to host events of major magnitude, such as sold-out Beyoncé and Taylor Swift concerts in 2023 and now the biggest U.S. sporting event of the year. 

“We’re not really concerned about our supply of fun being more than the United States or the world can handle,” Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill said in August. “We’re going to keep adding to that, and we’re confident that people around the globe are going to continue to come.”

Allegiant Stadium brought 1.52 million incremental visitors to the area, according to the 2023 impact report by the Las Vegas Raiders, with 88% of those visitors saying it was “the primary reason for their visit.”

Read the full story here.

Gayle King, Gwen Stefani and Kelly Clarkson are wearing silver, red and purple puffer vests designed by Kristin Juszczyk, who is married to San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

Juszczyk’s designs went viral in January after she made Taylor Swift a custom jacket featuring No. 87, Travis Kelce’s jersey number. She has since landed a licensing deal with the NFL.

The puffer vest seen on various celebs today is the first licensed NFL drop by Kristin Juszczyk Designs. Juszczyk and the NFL auctioned off one of the vests in a charity bidding that ended yesterday. The proceeds are going toward the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Usher has arrived!

Our halftime headliner is in the building, arriving in what appeared to be an all-black sweatsuit and a blanket draped over his shoulders.

The R&B star was all smiles in a clip posted by the NFL, offering a small wave as people cheered him on.

Carl Weathers’ final role

Actor Carl Weathers, famous for his roles in the “Rocky” movies, as well as “Predator” and a more recent turn in “The Mandalorian,” died this month at 76.

But perhaps his final role is in FanDuel ads as Rob Gronkowski’s coach, as the former NFL tight end preps to kick a field goal as part of a promotion from the gambling company. One of the ads featuring Weathers aired about an hour before the game started.

FanDuel execs consulted with Weathers’ family before deciding to keep him in the ads, Variety reported.

We’ve got about 45 minutes to kick off.

The lively hourslong scene outside Allegiant cleared out in a hurry, and the stadium is filling up. It’s already loud — like a low-level roar at almost all times.

It’s not full — but pretty full considering we still have a little while to go as the DJ plays Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas.”

Players to watch: Nick Bosa

San Francisco’s all-pro defensive lineman Nick Bosa has 15 total quarterback pressures in two playoff games this year. Two of those have gotten home for sacks.

The Chiefs’ tackle duo on the offensive line might be the easiest matchup he’s seen this postseason. 

SpongeBob is performing during Nickelodeon’s Super Bowl broadcast

Usher will have some competition today — live from Bikini Bottom. Five years ago, a petition to have “Sweet Victory” from “SpongeBob Square Pants” performed at the Super Bowl in honor of the late Stephen Hillenburg — the creator of “SpongeBob SquarePants” — got over a million signatures. “You asked for it. You got it,” CBS Sports said in an announcement on X.

Fans of the iconic animated sponge will finally get the Super Bowl moment they have been waiting for — “Sweet Victory” will kick off the Nickelodeon presentation of the broadcast.

Here are the details on Taylor Swift’s Super Bowl look

Swift arrived at the stadium in a Chiefs bomber jacket from WEAR by Erin Andrews, according to Sarah Chapelle, who meticulously documents the singer’s looks on her popular fashion blog, “Taylor Swift Style.”

Chapelle has grown a following of 243,000 on Instagram, where she goes by the handle @taylorswiftstyled.

Swift paired the jacket with the Crystal Slit Jeans from AREA, Chapelle wrote in her Instagram post.

The pop star’s shirt is a Crochet Corset Top from Dion Lee, Chapelle wrote in a different post. And her bag is the Football Clutch from Judith Leiber. 

49ers tight end George Kittle ready to go

Will viral Pop-Tart re-emerge from the dead?

I’m not the biggest football fan, but I simply cannot look away when a new sports mascot emerges or a moment from a game goes viral. During the first Pop-Tarts Bowl in December, in which the Kansas State Wildcats beat the North Carolina State Wolfpack, a new celebrity emerged.

Strawberry, Pop-Tarts’ oversized edible mascot, spent the entirety of the game bopping around with glee.

Until, quite literally, the world watched it descend into a toaster and get eaten alive by the winning players. As the Pop-Tart faced its death, it held a sign that read, “Dreams really do come true.”

“RIP in peace,” the games announcer said. “Can’t wait to eat you.”

Of course I know the Super Bowl isn’t the Pop-Tarts Bowl, but I’m still hoping the little mascot re-emerges from the dead and finds its way back onto the field or, at the very least, in a Super Bowl ad.

Chiefs will be without wide receiver Kadarius Toney

The Chiefs have declared Kadarius Toney inactive for tonight’s game.

The mercurial wide receiver has been at the center of storylines around the Chiefs all season long. After he was traded to Kansas City last season — and caught a touchdown in the Super Bowl — his sophomore campaign in western Missouri has been less than ideal.

In the Chiefs’ season opener against the Detroit Lions, Toney almost singlehandedly cost Kansas City the game with dropped pass after dropped pass. He never seemed to get going in an offense that was supposed to be one of the league’s most effective units. In a critical late-season game against Buffalo, he caught a backward lateral pass and ran into the end zone for what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown, only to have the play called back because he had lined up incorrectly. The Bills won.

Toney has been injured throughout the playoffs, and the circumstances around his injury have been controversial, with Toney claiming he was improperly designated. Head coach Andy Reid later suggested Toney could be a healthy scratch for the Super Bowl.

Player to watch: Christian McCaffrey

A focal point of today’s game: 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, arguably the most important playmaker on either team.

McCaffrey’s dad, Ed McCaffrey, played in the Super Bowl 25 years ago as his Denver Broncos were wrapping up their second straight victory in the NFL’s title game.

The coach of that Broncos team? Mike Shanahan — father of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

Kyle Shanahan and Christian McCaffrey can join their fathers as Super Bowl Champions.

A 49ers victory would make them the 9th and 10th pair in history. Most recent members of the club are Howie and Chris Long. Kyle and Mike Shanahan would be the first head coaching duo.

How to decipher sports gambling jargon

If you’re new to sports betting and all of these terms and numbers sound (Jimmy the) Greek to you, no worry. Here’s a quick lesson:

The most basic bet will be taking or giving points. The Niners are a 1.5-point favorite, so a wager on San Francisco means you’d have to win by 2 points or more to “cover the spread.” The Chiefs could win outright or come within 1 point of knocking off the Niners, which would give K.C. backers the win.

Another popular bet is the over/under, when you predict the combined number of points, which in this case is 47.5.

And in all of these wagers, a gambler has to give up a small fee for the honor, known as the vigorish, or vig. The typical vig is an $11 bet that would return a $10 profit.

A third popular bet would be the money line. Here you can root for your team without a care or a concern about the point spread.

The Niners-Chiefs money line is pretty close at -130 or +110, meaning a bet on San Francisco would require a $13 investment for a $10 profit. A bet on the underdog Chiefs means a $10 investment would bring an $11 profit.

It’s also worth noting that sports gambling’s ubiquity is causing some to raise alarms.

“This is a public health emergency happening, and we’re not talking about it yet,” Harry Levant, a gambling addition therapist whose his career as a lawyer was ruined due to gambling, recently told “60 Minutes.”

His patients are generally younger, have access to institutional money, and don’t have the risk-reward intelligence that comes at age 25 and older.

“I have patients who gamble in the shower,” Levant said. “I have patients who gamble before they get out of bed in the morning. I have patients who gamble while they are driving. There are no guardrails.”

Tiësto replaced by Kaskade as this year’s Super Bowl DJ

Tiësto, who was scheduled to be the Super Bowl’s first in-game DJ, said Thursday he will have to miss the game because of a “personal family emergency.”

Previous Super Bowls featured DJs (including DJ Khaled, D-Nice, Zedd and DJ Snake) playing at the pregame during players’ warmups. But Tiësto, a Grammy-winning DJ/producer who spends many weekends playing in Las Vegas nightclubs, was going to play “during featured breaks within the game, some of which will be televised on CBS as well as livestreamed on Tiësto’s social channels,” according to Variety.

On Thursday, hours after Tiësto pulled out of the game, Kaskade announced he has been tapped for the role.

“Las Vegas has been my second home for the past decade, as an architect of creating a landscape that includes House and Dance Music residencies as part of its destination,” Kaskade wrote on X. “To be able to be the first Electronic Musician to be part of the full game experience of the Super Bowl held in Las Vegas seems like coming home, and I’m beyond excited to represent my community.”

From ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ to the Super Bowl: Brock Purdy defied the odds

A wealth manager, a former payroll specialist and a tractor company employee were all — not long ago — rated as superior quarterbacks to San Francisco 49ers star Brock Purdy, who’ll be on pro football’s ultimate stage this weekend.

Purdy’s meteoric rise — from dead-last draft pick to MVP finalist and Super Bowl signal caller — laid bare the nearly impossible task of predicting future skill on the gridiron in evaluations that often make or break careers.

Purdy insists that his long under-the-radar path has been a blessing in disguise.

“It’s been the story of my life, being overlooked in high school. I wasn’t a high recruit,” Purdy told reporters Thursday. “All I needed was a shot and an opportunity, and coach [Matt] Campbell gave it to me at Iowa State, and sure enough life is repeating itself. I was drafted last, went to the Niners and got an opportunity.”

Read the full story here.

People are betting on whether Travis Kelce will propose to Taylor Swift

AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens
Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after the Chiefs’ victory in the AFC championship game on Jan. 28.Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Gambling sites already have a series of “prop bets,” or side wagers unrelated to the game itself, related to pop superstar Taylor Swift and boyfriend Travis Kelce, according to Variety.

Asked at a news conference Monday whether there would be “another ring” if the Chiefs win, Kelce said, “I’m focused on getting this ring, and that’s all my mind’s focused on.”

Bettors are also putting money on Kelce’s play — 90% of bettors believe his total receiving yards will be over 71.5 yards. He has exceeded that number the last two games.

Mahomes warms up

ICYMI: A person tried to climb the Vegas Sphere (and got arrested)

Las Vegas police confirmed last Wednesday that a man was arrested after he climbed a structure on the 200 block of Sands Avenue, where the Sphere is located.

Video of the man scaling the Sphere, a massive, eye-catching entertainment center that opened in September, went viral on social media.

According to NBC affiliate KSNV, police later confirmed that “urban climber” Maison Des Champs was arrested. Des Champs is known for scaling tall buildings across the U.S. and documenting it on social media to protest abortion.

Team Ruff wins the Puppy Bowl

The 20th Puppy Bowl was a close game until the very end, but Team Ruff came out on top. It beat Team Fluff 72-69.

Meet the NFL’s newest sports journalist. He’s 11.

Sorry to all the veteran sports reporters out there, but I think Jeremiah Fennell is my new favorite journalist on the beat.

The 11-year-old was tapped by the NFL to be a correspondent at the Super Bowl, and he’s been crushing it.

“I started to do this at the age of 7 years old because I wasn’t able to play sports due to some medical issues, but I still like the sports environment,” Jeremiah told NFL Network’s Michael Robinson, a former NFL running back.

“So I decided to hone my craft in journalism at the age of 7. And I started my YouTube channel. And, yes, I do think I can keep this as a career because I do still love the sport and I do know a lot about it, so I think that interviewing people can be a long career for me.”

Already, Jeremiah has interviewed Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce and 49ers stars George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner.

Jeremiah also did a red carpet interview with another young NFL correspondent, Taylen Biggs, who was there to interview athletes about their fashion.

Taylor Swift has arrived

Taylor Swift has arrived in Las Vegas, Ian Rapoport announced on “NFL GameDay Morning,” after a highly anticipated race around the world — and against time — to make it to the Super Bowl after her performance last night in Tokyo.

The NFL’s X account shared a video of the pop star arriving with Ice Spice and Blake Lively.

Read more here.

Football jargon: An Octopus

Did you know you can bet on an Octopus in the Super Bowl?

An Octopus happens when the same player scores a touchdown as well as the subsequent two-point conversion. 98% of the betting public believes there will be an Octopus in Super Bowl LVIII.

Looking for tickets? Here’s how much they cost right now

With 2 1/2 hours left until after kickoff, tickets are getting more scarce and expensive.

Shortly after 1 p.m. PT on StubHub, the cheapest ticket was in $9,218 in the upper-deck corner behind the Chiefs sideline.

Behind the 49ers bench, the best deal appears to be in Section 414 for $9,621.

Travis Kelce arrives for game day

Travis Kelce in all black.
Travis Kelce in all black.Getty Images; AP

Travis Kelce is game day ready. According to his stylist, Danielle Vanessa Salzedo, Kelce’s outfit is custom Amiri. She posted the look to her Instagram story.

It’s giving reputation era.

Watch these excited fans gear up for the big game.

Showgirls outside the stadium? Of course, it’s Las Vegas.

If there are no showgirls, is it really a Las Vegas event?

Fans entering the southside of Allegiant Stadium were greeted by event model April Swartz in all her feathery glory.

Showgirl April Swartz at the Super Bowl.
Showgirl April Swartz at the Super Bowl.David K. Li / NBC News

Swartz, a Las Vegas resident, said she never envisioned pro sports, much less a Super Bowl, coming to Sin City.

“It’s been so energetic, high-energy here all week,” Swartz said.

A shift in the betting winds

The point spread for Super Bowl LVIII has shrunk from San Francisco favored by 2 points to the 49ers favored by 1.5 points. That means some sharp/influential bettors have put substantial money on the Kansas City Chiefs today.

A favorite bet for many on Super Bowl Sunday is the coin toss. 57% of the betting public has bet tails.

The spread has largely sat between -1.5 and -2.5 the past two weeks. The public seems to overwhelmingly think that Mahomes will win today, but the market remains steadfast that the Niners are a rightful favorite.

The sharps — including Jay — are all on the 49ers. But a reminder — the sharps were on the Eagles last year.

Where does Taylor Swift get all her Chiefs merch?

Since September, the pop star has been photographed cheering on boyfriend Travis Kelce at Kansas City Chiefs games while sporting red vintage team apparel. It’s prompted many online to ask where Swift gets the team swag from.

Some of her looks are one-of-a-kind finds or were custom made for her. Most of the Chiefs gear Swift has sported comes from local stores and independent fashion designers.

Among the designers? Kristin Juszczyk, the wife of 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk. She went viral in January for the No. 87 puffer jacket she created for Swift.

Read more on where the pop star has sourced some of her most memorable Chiefs game-day looks so far.

The NFL Instagram account shared a video of Kyle Juszczyk’s new jacket designed by his wife for the big game.

The jacket features the signatures of his teammates, who could become Super Bowl champions this evening.

Las Vegas chapel offering free weddings for couples named Taylor and Travis

Forget engagement rumors, one Las Vegas chapel is hoping Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce tie the knot tonight — at its venue.

Chapel of the Flowers is offering a free wedding ceremony on Super Bowl Sunday to any couple with the names Taylor and Travis.

Swift and Kelce are included in that deal, if they choose to make the big day their wedding day as well.

Drake bets big on Chiefs win

Drake placed a $1.15 million wager in favor of a Kansas City Chiefs win ahead of their fourth Super Bowl appearance in five years, NBC Sports reported.

“I can’t bet against the swifties,” Drake wrote in an Instagram post on Saturday, referring to fans of Taylor Swift (who is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce).

The post appears to show a screenshot of his seven-figure gamble on the sports-betting site Stake.

We’re inside the stadium

It’s hours before kickoff and most Allegiant Stadium inhabitants include: workers and security guards going over their plans; a handful of absurdly early fans; and, of course, some cheesy reporters looking for pictures to mark this occasion.

We're here.
We’re here.David K. Li / NBC News

It feels like the calm before the storm right now, or like strolling New York City streets before dawn, appreciating the relative peace and quiet when mayhem is around the corner.

Puppy Bowl’s halftime performance: Kittens

Purr-sher serenaded Puppy Bowl viewers during the game’s halftime show. She was among the several kittens who made an appearance.

Super Bowl security prepares for drones

The NFL and federal law enforcement are on high alert for unauthorized drones after one caused a play stoppage at a playoff game two weeks ago.

The NFL said there were about 2,500 drone incursions near stadiums during the 2022-23 season, an increase of about 90% from a year earlier.

For Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration has banned drones within a radius of 30 nautical miles (about 35 miles) of the stadium beginning one hour before kick off. There have also been restrictions in place for additional events in Las Vegas the past few days.

“So please leave your drone at home,” Cathy Lanier, the NFL’s chief security officer, said at a news conference Wednesday.

Read more here.

What’s on the menu at the Super Bowl

Seth Rubinroit, senior manager of audio and digital strategy at NBCUniversal Local, is outside the stadium.

He has his eye on all the Super Bowl food items (and their respective prices!).

Scenes and eats from the Super Bowl.
Scenes and eats from the Super Bowl.Seth Rubinroit / NBC News

A 49ers PinkBox doughnut (pictured below) costs $5.99.

Seth Rubinroit / NBC News

“Endless pastabilities” is selling pasta treats for $23.

More eats!
More eats!Seth Rubinroit / NBC News

A Bud Light costs $16.

Seth Rubinroit / NBC News
Seth Rubinroit / NBC News

Meanwhile, programs (above) are $25 each.

Mama Kelce is excited

Donna Kelce is ready to return to the Super Bowl to cheer on her son Travis.

“It is going to be a dream to go back to back like this, back to the Super Bowl,” she told “Today” on Feb. 7. “And [I’m] really excited.”

As for where she’ll be sitting? “You can understand that the boxes in Vegas are multimillion dollars, so I have a feeling I’m not in a box,” she said. “I have a feeling I am in the stands. As far as I know, I’m in the stands with everybody else because it is a pricey Super Bowl.”

Mama Kelce emerged as a breakout star when Travis battled his brother, Jason Kelce, for the NFL crown. The Chiefs downed the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35.

She has also made headlines when she’s been photographed with or talking about Swift. Last week, she updated her Facebook cover photo to include a group picture that featured her and the pop star.

Read more here.

Usher ‘goes missing’ in halftime teaser

Ahead of the big show, Apple Music released a “Hangover”-inspired ad in which the halftime performer disappears before the Super Bowl.

Ludacris, Lil Jon and Taraji P. Henson are shown trying to locate the singer and taking viewers on an eccentric tour of Las Vegas. The star-studded short film also featured appearances from reggaeton artist J. Balvin, rapper André 3000 and magician Criss Angel.

Puppy Bowl update: It’s a tie-game

As the first quarter comes to a close, Team Fluff and Team Ruff are tied, 14-14.

Our favorite Super Bowl snacks

Super Bowl Party Snacks in Washington, D.C
Super Bowl party snacks in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 5, 2024. Scott Suchman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Super Bowl live blogging team at NBC News will be working hard on Sunday. But we will also be snacking (a lot). Here are our favorite Super Bowl food items.

Doha Madani: Nachos. Ever since I was a kid, my older brother and I would have them for the World Series and the Super Bowl. It’s a sporting event staple in my life that I simply could not do without.

Tim Perone: Also nachos.

Daysia Tolentino: I have been looking forward to eating buffalo wings all week. I’m also partial to some chips and queso.

Kaetlyn Liddy: Spinach artichoke dip.

Jana Kasperkevic: I feel like you can’t go wrong with chips and an assortment of dips (including spinach artichoke dip).

Jason Abbruzzese: Buffalo chicken dip.

Rebecca Cohen: Pigs in a blanket or baked mac and cheese.

Joy Burton: Traditional wings. None of that boneless garbage!

Saba Hamedy: All of the above (really, also, anything with cheese).

The Puppy Bowl’s ‘it’ couple is watching

The Super Bowl isn’t the only star-studded event today. “Travis Klawce” and “Taylor Sniffed” are in the VIP suite at today’s Puppy Bowl.

We should have Sniffed’s outfit details soon.

Where to adopt puppy bowl puppies

Country singer Miranda Lambert will be introducing the available pups throughout the game.

Animal Planet also has a list available on its Puppy Bowl page.

Puppy Bowl ‘rufferee’  has every dog lover’s dream job

Dan Schachner has been the Puppy Bowl “rufferee” for over a decade.

And yes, he is living everyone’s dream.

Read more in our 2022 feature on him here.

It’s Puppy Bowl time

Another fur-ocious match is taking place on the Animal Planet today at 2 p.m. ET.

Team Ruff will face Team Fluff once again in PUPPY BOWL XX.

This year’s Bowl features 131 puppies, 73 shelters and rescues across 36 states and territories, according to Animal Planet.

Usher is headlining the halftime show

The NFL and Apple Music announced in September that Usher, the beloved R&B singer, will take the highly anticipated halftime slot.

Reality star Kim Kardashian was the one who broke the news on social media using the opening of his “Confessions, Pt. II” music video.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, published on Wednesday, the superstar said his halftime show will be a little longer than others.

Usher said he will have 15 minutes onstage, where as most usually get 13.

“I can’t explain why, but it’s a funny thing that I was able to do and craft,” he told EW. “That was a huge strategic thing that happened between me and my agency.”

Expect traffic jams across Las Vegas

Las Vegas residents may be accustomed to tourism, but Sunday’s traffic is projected to be intense in Sin City. Nearly half a million people are expected to head to Vegas this weekend to celebrate the 58th Super Bowl. Allegiant Stadium, where the big game will be played, was also the venue for Swift’s “Eras Tour” last March.

Hours spent in traffic near the stadium reportedly increased by over 100% during her concert, indicating that Vegas drivers will likely be impacted by Super Bowl festivities. To avoid the worst of the congestion, traffic experts recommend steering clear of the roads during projected peak travel hours — before kick off, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT, and after the game around 10 p.m. PT.

The Super Bowl will be played virtually on top of a major interstate, adding another security challenge to a game being staged in population-dense Las Vegas.

As simple as this sounds, keeping traffic moving on I-15 has emerged as a major law enforcement concern going into today’s big game.

Football stadiums, unlike many baseball parks and basketball arenas in urban cores, are often built in the more open areas with an abundance of space and parking. Allegiant, though, could not be any closer to a major highway.

“It’s a challenge for us, in the proximity of I-15, so that’s our main concern to make sure that traffic continues to flow on I-15, that nobody stops there and lingers,” Nevada Highway Patrol Maj. Kevin Honea told NBC News. “I know that would make security at the NFL a little bit nervous. So that’s our main objective is to make sure there’s no crashes, no stopped traffic in and around the stadium.”

There was record viewership for the NFC championship game

The San Francisco 49ers earned their Super Bowl berth with a dramatic comeback victory against the Detroit Lions, drawing record viewership.

The NFC championship game drew 56.6 million viewers, breaking records for Fox. The game had the fourth-highest numbers for any non-Super Bowl telecast in network history and the most viewers of any NFC championship game since 2012, up 19% from the Eagles-49ers matchup in the same round last year.

Some people want the day after the Super Bowl to be a holiday

About 41% of people think the day after Super Bowl Sunday should be a national holiday, according to a new survey released by Atera.

The AI-powered IT management platform surveyed 1,500 American workers. The results suggest that even without an official holiday, 41% will opt to work remotely on Monday.

Among remote workers, 27% of those surveyed said they plan to feign illness, while 25% will say they have an “appointment.”

President Biden is skipping a Super Bowl interview 

For the second year in a row, President Joe Biden is passing on the opportunity to sit down for a Super Bowl interview that could reach millions of Americans on Sunday — a move his advisers say is part of their larger communication strategy.

Read more on why here.

Super Bowl (Taylor’s Version): See how Swifties are celebrating

Photo illustration of Taylor swift
People are hosting big “Taygates” and parties for the “Swift Bowl” in what’s become a crossover celebration for fans of Taylor Swift and the NFL.
Leila Register / NBC News; Getty Images; Gina CC

Footballs bedazzled with glitter. Friendship bracelets that spell out Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s names. Swift-themed Bingo. Drinks and snacks inspired by popular Swift songs.

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday (Taylor’s Version) — a crossover celebration event that’s bringing people with a love for the NFL, Swift, or both together on football’s biggest day.

Swift’s public and viral love story with Kelce, who is a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, has captivated fans online who have long been rooting for the singer’s happiness. Now, many are cheering on Kelce too.

Read more here.

Brrrrrr… by Las Vegas standards, at least

The “fully enclosed and climate-controlled” Allegiant Stadium will provide a perfect setting for players and fans in attendance — but Las Vegas visitors these past few days have been bundled up in relatively cold temps.

The high never got above 56 degrees Fahrenheit this past week, and the high isn’t expected to get past 51 on Sunday.

That might sound downright balmy for much of America, though the past three Feb. 11s in Las Vegas registered at 63, 80 and 70, respectively.

Chiefs and 49ers players aren’t allowed to gamble while in Vegas

Las Vegas Set To Host 2024 Super Bowl
Gamblers at Caesars Sports Book at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino during Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, 2023, in Las Vegas.George Rose / Getty Images file

It’s Sin City, baby, but the players getting ready to hit the field Sunday afternoon can’t partake until the play clock runs out.

The NFL has forbidden anyone who is in Las Vegas on official Super Bowl business from doing any kind of gambling, NBC Sports reported. Yes, that even includes the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers players.

As soon as the game is over Sunday night, though, the players are free to hit the slots and poker tables, as long as they refrain from placing any bets on the NFL, of course. 

Meet the 49ers cheerleaders who juggle careers

Cheerleaders for the San Francisco 49ers are on the field for every game, but they also juggle careers when they put their pompoms away. NBC’s Kaylee Hartung reports for “Today.”

Trump weighs in on Taylor, Biden criticizes ‘shrinkflation’

Former President Donald Trump seems concerned enough about the possibility of a Taylor Swift endorsement of President Joe Biden that he weighed in on the matter on Truth Social today, claiming “Biden didn’t do anything for Taylor” and probably never will and claiming to like Travis Kelce “even though he may be a liberal.”

On the official POTUS Instagram account, Biden’s team posted a reel decrying so-called “shrinkflation” — the idea that products are shrinking but the price is staying the same. As an ice cream lover, the president says, its unacceptable that companies are shrinking cartons and hoping you won’t notice.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris (a former California senator) is showing off her 49ers pride on social media.

“Game day ready” the VP’s account wrote on X. The post featured video of Harris showing off a denim jacket that reads “Faithful to the Bay” on the back.

Super Bowl ticket prices hit record levels

Super Bowl ticket prices on the resale market are hitting record highs ahead of Sunday’s game, as if Allegiant Stadium hopefuls are trying to see the “Eras Tour” again, or at least the star of that show.

As of Monday, the average price of a Super Bowl ticket on TickPick was $9,815, according to The Associated Press. By Wednesday evening, tickets on the platform ranged from $7,830 to $77,760.

By comparison, tickets on TickPick for last year’s Super Bowl, which also featured the Kansas City Chiefs, were going for $5,795 on average, the AP reported.

Super Bowl gambling by the numbers

It is estimated that 67.8 million people will place a bet on the Super Bowl at a legal outlet, and $1.5 billion is expected to be bet with legal outlets.

Currently, 38 states (and Washington, D.C.) offer legal sports betting in some format. There are 26 states that allow online sports betting via either smartphone apps or websites.

And so far, public bettors are favoring the Chiefs, with 74% taking them to win the game, according to sportsbook DraftKings.

Can the Chiefs take back-to-back Super Bowls? Can the Niners tie the Patriots and Steelers?

The Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champs, could go two in a row if they beat the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles last year. If they win today, it will be the first time in almost 20 years that a team has won back-to-back Super Bowls.

The New England Patriots are the last NFL team to achieve that feat, beating the Carolina Panthers in 2004 and the Eagles in 2005.

Should the Chiefs win, it would mark their third championship within a five-year span, a record matched only by four of the league’s most storied dynasties: the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, the 1990s Dallas Cowboys, the 2000s Patriots and the 2010s Patriots.

For the 49ers it would be a sixth title, tying them with the Steelers and the Patriots for most ever.

2020 deja vu

2024 is shaping up to be the year of the 2020 rematch.

In the race for the presidency, it’s looking increasingly likely that voters will choose between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, just like they did the last time the Niners and Chiefs met in the Super Bowl.

In 2020, the Chiefs staged a furious fourth-quarter comeback, scoring 21 points and defeating the 49ers 31-20.

Another Chiefs win, particularly with the right-wing conspiracies floating around Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship, could be seen as a good omen for Biden later in the fall. A 49ers win may be seen as a sign of change — for Trump.

Watch: What were the Chiefs and 49ers up to this weekend?

Stars of both teams stepped out for Super Bowl opening night.

Post Malone, Reba McEntire and Andra Day to perform pregame

Country superstar Reba McEntire will help kick off the game by performing the national anthem, which “Coda” star Daniel Durant will perform in ASL.

Singer Andra Day will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is often referred to as the “Black national anthem.” Actor and choreographer Shaheem Sanchez will sign it.

Rapper Post Malone will sing “America the Beautiful” ahead of the game. It will be performed in ASL by actor, model and dancer Anjel Piñero.

Will Taylor Swift make it from Tokyo to support Travis Kelce?

Taylor Swift would have to shake off a handful of ground-level challenges to attend the Super Bowl after her concert in Japan the night before — but she could do so in time-reversing style, with hours to spare.

The answer is yes, thanks to time zones that put Tokyo 17 hours ahead of Las Vegas.

As of Saturday afternoon, online sleuths and early news reports suggested she had landed in LAX, a mere hours away from Vegas by car and even closer by jet.

Read more here.

Even the Japanese Embassy weighed in on Swift’s potential journey.

“Despite the 12-hour flight and 17-hour time difference, the Embassy can confidently Speak Now to say that if she departs Tokyo in the evening after her concert, she should comfortably arrive in Las Vegas before the Super Bowl begins.”

Football fans across the country were celebrating after they were surprised with tickets to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. NBC News’ Kate Snow has more on these moments of joy and celebration.

Uber Eats to delete Super Bowl ad’s peanut-allergy bit after angry backlash

This Super Bowl Sunday, don’t forget Uber Eats — but also, as the food-delivery service has learned, don’t forget that trying to make light of a life-threatening allergy is bad PR.

Uber Eats, a division of the ride-sharing company, on Feb. 6 debuted its 60-second 2024 Super Bowl commercial, centered on the running joke of forgetfulness. The spot, which marks Uber Eats’ fourth year in the Super Bowl, features David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston (who forgets she worked with him on “Friends” for 10 years); David and Victoria Beckham (who fail to remember the Spice Girls), as well as Jelly Roll trying to scrub tattoos off his face and Usher blanking on the fact that he just performed the halftime show.

But one scene was decidedly unfunny for many: A man eating a spoonful of peanut butter from a jar — who has broken out in hives and whose left eye has swollen shut in an allergic reaction — glances down at the food label and remarks, “There’s peanuts in peanut butter? Oh, it’s the primary ingredient.”

Click here to read the full article

What time does the game start?

Kick off is at 6:30 p.m. ET, so you better have your snacks ready by then.

Where is the game happening? 

The game is taking place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas … aka Sin City, baby!

Officials expect the Super Bowl to draw more than 330,000 visitors to the city and generate $600 million in revenue, according to The Associated Press.

In classic Vegas fashion, the AP reported that both teams were welcomed to the city by Elvis Presley impersonators and showgirls.

Who is playing?

The Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champ, will play the San Francisco 49ers.

The two faced each other at the Super Bowl in 2020 in Miami, where the Chiefs won.

How to watch the Super Bowl

The Vince Lombardi Trophy at a press conference in Las Vegas
The Vince Lombardi Trophy at a press conference in Las Vegas on Feb. 5, 2024.Perry Knotts / Getty Images

Happy game day! 

Super Bowl LVIII will air on CBS and Paramount+. Those with cable can also use their TV provider to watch on or on the CBS app.

For the first time, there will also be a kid-friendly version of the game on Nickelodeon.

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