Harry Deacon, The Game:
As always, much of the pressure leading up to the Super Bowl fell on the shoulders of the two star quarterbacks. For Super Bowl LIV this immense responsibility belonged to Jimmy Garoppolo for the San Francisco 49ers and Patrick Mahomes for the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was Garoppolo and the 49ers who looked perhaps the more comfortable of the two sides in the opening stages at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Their early points on the board were soon matched, however, resulting in a half-time score of 10-10.
Able to shut the Chiefs offense out and adding more points to their tally, the third quarter belonged to the 49ers and with it seemingly the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Yet, the side from the West Coast were up against a side who had produced numerous comebacks throughout both the regular season and the playoffs, and it took until the fourth quarter for that trend to reveal itself once again.
The 24-year-old Mahomes took the game by the scruff of its neck with under ten minutes remaining. It took a 44-yard pass that found the clutches of Tyreek Hill to set the comeback, with Travis Kelche converting the new opportunity into a touchdown.
Then, after no reply from the 49ers, Mahomes once again picked out a teammate, this time Damien Williams, to put the Chiefs ahead in a game they had not led since the second quarter.
Williams then found himself in the action again as he ran the ball home to score Kansas’ third touchdown in just four minutes and 57 seconds. The 49ers were crushed by a comeback inspired by the second-youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl.
Speaking after the game in a TV interview Mahomes could barely contain his excitement:
“We never lost faith. Everybody on this team, no one had their head down and we found a way to win in the end.
“The 49ers have an amazing defence, one of the best defences I’ve played against so far and I’m just glad our guys kept fighting. This team has heart, coach pushes us to be the best we can be. We did it baby!”
Clearly the man who was able to bring the Chiefs their first world championship in half a century has an extremely bright future ahead of him after putting in a display that turned him from great to untouchable.
James Owen, The Spectacle:
The stage was set in the Hard rock stadium, Miami Gardens for the US’ ultimate spectacle, Super bowl 54. The NFL pulled out all the stops on its 100th anniversary with pregame festivals, hype videos and football legends, including Tom Brady and Jim Brown, being brought onto the pitch.
DJ Khalid was on warm-up duty, interacting with fans in the stadium to create a level of excitement that can only be heard on the day of America’s most-watched sporting event. By the time Dwayne ‘Rock’ Johnson appeared on the jumbotron to introduce the teams with a cry of its “time to unleash hell,” it felt as if the level of noise could register on the Richter scale. Demi Lovato then stepped up to complete a star-studded pre-match line-up and crush the national anthem, setting the stage for kick-off.
By half-time, the crowd was buzzing and this energy was carried through to the half time show. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira left it all on stage performing hits such as ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ and ‘On the Floor’. Their performances were heavily praised for their choreography, intensity and subtle political messages about anxieties shared by the Latinx community in the US.
Both singers paid homage to their roots with Shakira performing a Colombian style of dance and J-Lo bringing out a dual Peurto Rican and American flag. Criticism of the performance, however, labelled it as over-sexualised and not appropriate for a younger audience.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ dramatic comeback in the second half was watched by 102 million global viewers, marking it as the biggest US TV event of the year. This amount of views attracts huge advertisement revenue with adverts priced at around $5.6 million for a 30-second spot, the most expensive in the world.
The Super Bowl was a spectacle enjoyed by all, and the Kansas Chief fans revelled in glory at full time. Unfortunately, this celebration was taken too far by one fan who ignited a firework that left him with a fatal head injury, raising questions that had begun over Sydney’s New Years’ Eve celebrations surrounding the place of fireworks in today’s society.