The Taylor Swift guide to Super Bowl LVIII as Travis Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs meet the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas

Taylor Swift is expected to fly back after her concert in Japan to cheer on Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs as they face the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas; watch Super Bowl LVIII live on Sky Sports, with coverage from 10pm on Sunday

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Ahead of the Super Bowl, live on Sky on Sunday from 10pm, we look at how Taylor Swift, girlfriend of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, has impacted the NFL.

As Super Bowl LVIII between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs descends on Las Vegas, so too does the latest instalment of a Taylor Swift story that has taken the NFL by storm this season…

Swift’s relationship with Chiefs tight end and future Hall of Famer Travis Kelce has emerged as one of the unlikely but immovable storylines of the 2023 season, her celebrations in the stands becoming one of the most sought-after sights on Kansas City’s road back to the Super Bowl.

Beneath over-exhausted camera shots and unrelenting questions, Swift’s presence has been transformative in garnering an entirely new fanbase to the league.

  • Super Bowl LVIII: Meet the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs
  • When is Super Bowl LVIII live on Sky Sports? Everything you need to know

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell welcomed the ‘Taylor Swift effect’ such has been its impact in appealing to younger female audiences.

And with that, here is a look ahead to Super Bowl LVIII through the albums of the 13-time Grammy winner…

Who will be Fearless?

Fearless was Swift’s second album release and catapulted her to stardom with the smash hit Love Story. Who can bury the nerves to rise in the big moment and lead their side to footballing immortality?

Patrick Mahomes and Brock Purdy loom as your obvious candidates to play defining roles as the respective quarterbacks of their teams, but it is from within the Chiefs’ young receiving core that a hero could emerge after a season marred by dropped catches and heavy scrutiny.

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Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce joked that the pressure is on him to emulate the success of his girlfriend Taylor Swift in Sunday’s Super Bowl

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was on hand to provide a clutch third-and-nine catch that would ice his side’s win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. Mahomes has had to adopt a more patient approach to building and sustaining drives in the face of modern defenses, but when the opportunity to take a shot downfield emerges Valdes-Scantling tends to be a popular splash target. Will he be there to answer the call when it comes? As much might be said for Rashee Rice, whose rise as Mahomes’ most trusted wide receiver outside of Travis Kelce has heightened expectations and attention surrounding the rookie second-rounder.

For San Francisco, there may be no man under more pressure or burdened by expectation heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl than 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. He might be the NFL’s most innovative modern offensive mind, but has been accused of conservativeness in crucial moments during previous attempts to win a Championship. Here is his chance to lay down a masterplan without reservation.

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Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce celebrated making the Super Bowl alongside his partner, recording artist Taylor Swift

Who will be the voice of the team and Speak Now?

The Super Bowl calls on the calmest voices, the inspiring words and football’s leaders, so whose words could play a starring role on the most daunting stage?

We are looking at the off-ball linebackers of the group. The 49ers are built on trench subterfuge, pulling guards and tight ends back-and-forth across the line of scrimmage in aid of propping up outside zone runs, simulating outside zone runs and disguising screens and end arounds designed to put the ball in the hands of their Deebo Samuels’ and Christian McCaffreys. Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton lies as a key to deciphering the 49ers offense as one of Steve Spagnuolo’s chief communicators when it comes to play diagnosis and ensuring team-mates know their assignments. Across from him, Fred Warner is similarly tasked with organising his troops against one of the NFL’s most gifted and shrewd screen designers in Andy Reid.

Under pressure: Make sure not to see Red

Who will handle and harness the pressure of the Super Bowl? Who will let the occasion get the better of them? It is where Championship games are won or lost.

Over to you, Brock Purdy. On paper, there should be little pressure on a man selected last at the 2022 NFL Draft who has since defied heavily-weighted odds to move within one win of Super Bowl glory. And yet as he pilots a talent-rich 49ers offense there remain hefty expectations resting on his shoulders to take an organisation in its Championship window over the line. He has been unflappable for much of his young, remarkable career, but is faced with the task of maintaining his poise in the face of a Steve Spagnuolo defense that will bombard him with coverage disguises as complex as any he will have encountered this season.

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Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce cannot wait to get going in Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers

L’Jarius Sneed has been a starring face of the Chiefs’ standout defense all season, setting the tone with his aggression in coverage and at the line of scrimmage to the sight of defining success against the likes of Tyreek Hill. He plays tough, he plays with violent hands, he plays on the edge in aid of blunting the league’s most dangerous weapons – can he continue to channel that hard-hitting approach with the discipline that has served him so well in recent months?

Got a big Reputation: Who will make the difference?

The biggest names in the biggest moments in the biggest game of their lives. Who arises in Las Vegas to say ‘Look what you made me do’?

Christian McCaffrey has been the beating heart of this 49ers offense in 2023, rushing for 1,459 yards (first in the NFL) and 14 touchdowns alongside 67 catches for 564 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. He has propelled San Francisco to new heights since arriving in a trade from the Carolina Panthers last season, becoming a finalist for league MVP in the process. McCaffrey is the quintessential dual-threat running back to whom Shanahan will turn for clock control and wide zone success in aid of relaxing the pressure on his young quarterback. When the Detroit Lions threatened to pull away for good in the NFC Championship Game, McCaffrey was there to drag them back.

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Watch the best plays from San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Brock Purdy from the 2023 season

Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has been known to thrive in high-stakes football and will lead the efforts to unnerve Purdy in the pocket, while 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa will be relishing a match-up with Jawaan Taylor in his own bid to disrupt Mahomes.

Mahomes has been there, and won, twice. He can mould obscurity into artistry as the league’s most imaginative playmaker under center. He out-duelled an inspired Jalen Hurts in a shootout at the Super Bowl this time last year, and threatens to match that feat against his less-experienced counterpart.

Who can write their name into Folklore?

Can the Chiefs cement their place as one of the ‘Last great American dynasties’? Can Shanahan finally snag the ring with which to pair with his reputation as one of modern football’s great minds? Can Purdy punctuate one of the most unlikely tales in NFL history as the Mr Irrelevant-turned-Super Bowl-winning-quarterback?

Elsewhere, 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will hold memories of the stock-rise that Todd Bowles enjoyed after his Tampa Bay Buccaneers swarmed Mahomes at Super Bowl LV, and know he has the opportunity to dial up the game-plan that could delay the great Chiefs quarterback in his pursuit of football’s pass-throwing icons.

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11-year-old reporter whiz Jeremiah Fennell pulled no punches when he interviewed San Franciso 49ers players George Kittle and Fred Warner!

His counterpart Spagnuolo can, meanwhile, crown one of the most impressive seasons from a coordinator in recent memory should he produce another defensive clinic to contain the league’s third-ranked scoring offense. Without Spagnuolo and his defense, the Chiefs would not be here. Can he finish the job?

Will this Chiefs team be remembered for (For)Evermore?

The Chiefs are flirting with dynasty territory. Some might argue they are already there. Victory on Sunday would potentially cement it as their third Super Bowl win from four visits since 2019. It would mark Mahomes’ latest stride towards the all-time quarterback greats in history, and Reid’s latest stride towards all-time coaching greatness.

What’s more, it beckons as their finest hour yet should they topple Shanahan’s 49ers in the wake of a turbulent regular season, for the most part of which they were written off in their defence of last season’s title.

Football is unlikely to ever forget about Mahomes’ Chiefs. A win on Sunday who remove all doubt.

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Speaking on Inside The Huddle, Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold discuss whether it should be considered a dynasty if the Kansas City Chiefs win a third Super Bowl in six years

Throwing it back to 1989

A return to the glory days! San Francisco found themselves at the pinnacle of football in 1989, finishing the campaign with a 55-10 rout of the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl XXIV to become back-to-back champions following a scintillating playoff showing from Joe Montana. It would mark their fourth Super Bowl title in the space of nine seasons, which had threatened to become five in 1990 until they were beaten by the New York Giants at the NFC Championship Game after yet another MVP season from Montana.

The year 1989 also happens to be the birth year of Kelce, who would bolster his case as one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history should he secure a third ring this weekend.

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Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce broke Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s record for the most postseason touchdowns scored by a quarterback and a receiver

Time to celebrate: Who will be partying way past Midnight(s)?

Who is hitting the Las Vegas strip in the early hours of Monday morning?

For those buying into the storyline surrounding Taylor Swift – whose favourite number is 13 – you might like to know Sunday’s Super Bowl will be the 13th Chiefs game Swift will have attended this season. And that, of course, means the Chiefs are going to win.

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See how the San Francisco 49ers made it to Super Bowl LVIII.

Of course, it doesn’t. The 49ers arrive as slight favourites, carrying one of the most polished rosters in the NFL having finished the regular season 12-5 to secure the No 1 seed in the NFC.

Twice in the playoffs have San Francisco overturned deficits to dig deep and beat the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, while the Chiefs, without rediscovering their best on offense, have out-thought and out-muscled three lead contenders in the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens to make it this far. This is a coin flip.

Watch Super Bowl LVIII – the 49ers against the Chiefs – live on Sky Sports NFL on Sunday February 11. The game starts at 11.30pm. You can also stream Sky Sports’ live Super Bowl coverage with NOW

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