PHOENIX – The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles officially have a date with destiny.
Each team punched its ticket to Super Bowl LVII on Sunday when the Eagles drubbed a wounded San Francisco 49ers team 31-7, and Kansas City won in the final seconds against the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, thanks to a late unnecessary roughness penalty that put the Chiefs in game-winning field goal position.
After 26 weeks of training camp, preseason, regular season and playoff games, the stage has finally been set for the fourth Arizona Super Bowl in NFL history, with State Farm Stadium in Glendale hosting the first matchup of No. 1 seeds from each conference since 2017.
The high profile matchup is setting up exorbitant ticket prices. The average cost for the lowest-priced single ticket Monday afternoon among Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and StubHub was $5,152.
Gamblers are also paying close attention to this game. Most sportsbooks consider the Eagles a slight favorite, suggesting the likelihood of a close contest. And lots of betting.
“You’ve got two rabid fan bases in (Kansas City) and (Philadelphia). In the case of Kansas City, their home market, Missouri, does not have legal sports betting, so this is the next best thing,” said Christopher Boan of BetArizona.com.
This is also a Super Bowl of firsts.
Several things that have never happened in the history of the Super Bowl will transpire on Sunday, Feb. 12 in Glendale.
First, in the first 56 editions of the Super Bowl, no two brothers have ever been on opposite sides of the field as players. In 2013, John and Jim Harbaugh coached against one another in Super Bowl XLVII between John’s Ravens and Jim’s 49ers, with the older brother’s Baltimore securing the championship. More recently in 2019, Jason and Devin McCourty lined up in the same defensive backfield for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams.
Travis Kelce, star tight end of the Chiefs, and Jason Kelce, All-Pro center of the Eagles, will break the Super Bowl brother barrier for the first time. They have combined to play in 320 career games winning two Super Bowl rings and receiving 14 Pro Bowl selections and winning All-Pro honors nine times with 27 playoff starts.
Now, they’re guaranteed to add another ring to the Kelce family collection. The only question is which brother’s name will be engraved on it after the confetti comes down.
Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!!
— Jason Kelce (@JasonKelce) January 30, 2023
Super Bowl LVII also marks the first time the title game will feature two Black starting quarterbacks, fitting perhaps during Black History Month. Several Black quarterbacks have won Super Bowls in the past, including Washington’s Doug Williams, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and most recently, Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes. In some classic Super Bowl games, Black quarterbacks including Tennessee’s Steve McNair, Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick came up just short of a championship.
It’s no secret that Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Chiefs’ Mahomes have put up Most Valuable Player-caliber seasons, with both leading their respective teams to the No. 1 seed in their conferences and, now, the Super Bowl.
In an age when the quarterback position requires a different level of athletic ability than ever before, there may not be a more perfect matchup in terms of dynamic playmaking and clutch performances.
Look for some firsts beyond the playing field.
State Farm Stadium’s crowd for Super Bowl LVII will be the first to experience an on-site sportsbook for the game. The BetMGM Sportsbook opened directly across North 95th Avenue in September, and was the first sports betting facility to open at an NFL stadium.
With two passionate groups of fans coming from different parts of the country for the biggest sporting event of the year, look for as much action at the betting windows as there is on the stadium’s roll-away turf.
Last February alone, Arizona residents placed just under $500 million in wagers on sporting events, the Arizona Department of Gaming reported.
“It’s very likely that we’ll see higher levels of wagering this February as the industry continues to grow,” said Max Hartgraves, public information officer for the ADG.
Even with the sportsbook on-site, “retail wagering is less than 5% of the entire market. The vast majority of wagers are placed in the online format,” Hartgraves said.
“No one has done it before, so we’ll learn a lot after Sunday afternoon,” Boan said.
Fans will be able to place their wagers on the Eagles (-2) or the Chiefs (+130) to win, or they can spice it up by betting on Travis Kelce (+650) or Miles Sanders (+800) to score the first touchdown of the game.
Of course, it’s also a safe bet that those odds will change before kickoff.
After injury reports are released throughout the next two weeks, which Boan described as “an eternity in sports betting,” or any stories come out about players or coaches participating in the game, the numbers can move quickly.
“As the news line moves, so does the betting line,” Boan said. “The spread isn’t necessarily where the (sportsbooks) think the game is going to end up, it’s where they think they’re going to get the most people to bet so they have the best shot at making money,”
If a fan is lucky enough to cash in a $6,000 bet at the game, they might be able to make back the money spent for their single Super Bowl ticket. Even at $5,100 for the cheapest tickets, prices are lower than the average low in Los Angeles of $5,823. However, club seats and other better seating options could be selling for more than $40,000.
Needless to say, fans are putting a lot of money on the line regardless of the outcome.
However, it isn’t just fans investing a lot of time, money and effort in the big game. Nicki Ewell, Senior Director of Events for the Super Bowl, said that planning an event of this size can take years to coordinate.
From the Super Bowl Experience presented by Lowe’s, which is an interactive football theme park for fans to enjoy throughout the week with games, player appearances and more, to getting together with the FBI and Homeland Security to ensure everyone’s safety at many events, it’s the staff’s job to get it all done in time for the biggest Sunday of the year.
“It takes hundreds and hundreds of people, a huge village of people, to come together – from the vendors to production partners to local labor – everybody here,” Ewell said. “It’s working, putting the trust structures together.”
They’re tasked with converting “people into being NFL fans,” Ewell said, while embracing all 32 teams from around the league. The celebration invites the next generation of fans to participate, letting kids 12 and under into the festivities free of charge all week long.
Gregory Trent Jr., a lifelong Kansas City Chiefs fan, intends on being there with his family.
Trent Jr. was watching the Chiefs-Bengals game at Pub Rock, a favorite bar of local Chiefs followers in Scottsdale, where he grabbed a reporter’s microphone and yelled, “Third generation Chiefs fan! My parents are from Kansas City! My grandma is from Kansas City! And my daughter will be a Chiefs fan as well for generations!”
Not every fan is as passionate as Trent Jr., though. The casual fans are the ones that the NFL, Ewel and his staff are trying to reach.
“We really want to showcase this event as the crown jewel of our calendar and really give something back to the fans,” Ewell said.