Super Bowl 55: One of the biggest sporting events you have probably never watched

This Sunday marks the finale of the American football season; an event that is a staple on the American calendar now has a growing audience in the UK.

By George Buksmann
Friday, 5th February 2021, 5:28 pm
The Buccaneers home stadium is prepared for Super Bowl 55, and even has its own pirate ship. (Photo: Mike Ehrmann)

What is the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl is the final game in the NFL season, following the regular season 14 playoff teams battle it out in a knockout tournament - like the FIFA World Cup - to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and be crowned the best team in the league that year.

On average it is watched by over 100 million people in the United States alone each year and it is common for viewing parties to be held.

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Quarterback Tom Brady hopes to make NFL history on Sunday. (Photo:Dylan Buell)

Who is playing?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs in what promises to be an explosive and exciting game.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady - the NFL equivalent of football's Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo - could further cement himself in the sports' history as he aims to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy for a record seventh time in his 10th appearance in a Super Bowl game.

The Chiefs are hoping to become back-to-back champions after beating the San Francisco 49ers last year in Miami, with the feat not achieved since Brady did it with his former team, the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005.

This year the Super Bowl takes place in the Bucs home stadium - The Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida - the first team to ever have home-field advantage.

The attendance will be limited to just 25,000 fans including 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers from the local area who were invited by the NFL as thanks for their service during the pandemic, and 30,000 cutouts.

What is this halftime show?

The Super Bowl is notorious for having a spectacular half-time show with musical greats - from Beyoncé to Prince, and Michael Jackson to The Rolling Stones.

Last year 104 million people watched the half-time show by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, this year the it will be performed by The Weeknd.

Fans also tune in for the half-time adverts, which usually cost millions to make and contain the biggest celebrities.

American football, in the UK?

American football is a growing sport in the UK. The NFL started playing their International Series at Wembley Stadium in 2007, where teams fly over to play in London, and it has proven to be a huge success.

A game has been held every year since, with four played in 2019. Games regularly sell out with record attendances, which led to Tottenham Hotspur agreeing a 10-year deal to host two regular season games a year.

There are amateur leagues in the UK too ran by the British American Football Association. If you are feeling inspired to try your hand at American football you can get involved with nearby teams in Leeds and Hull, you can find out more information HERE.

How can I watch?

Coverage starts at 11pm on BBC Two before kicking off at 11.30pm on Sunday, February 7.