A guide to Super Bowl 2024: What to know about the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will defend their NFL championship title Feb. 11 in Las Vegas, against the San Francisco 49ers. Is a new football dynasty taking root in Kansas City?
There’s something familiar about all this Super Bowl stuff.
First, the Kansas City Chiefs are making their fourth trip to the NFL championship game in the last five years.
Second, their opponent is a familiar one: The Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers met in Miami four years ago, when Kansas City took home the Vince Lombardi trophy for the first time in 50 years.
This will be the Chiefs’ sixth Super Bowl appearance, just one fewer than the 49ers. The Chiefs played Green Bay in the first Super Bowl in 1967, and won their first championship with a victory over Minnesota three years later.
But there is a new twist. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, where the Chiefs regularly visit to play the Raiders, is a first-time Super Bowl venue.
Here’s everything you need to know, heading into what could be an historic night for the Chiefs.
Where and when to watch Super Bowl 2024
TelevisaUnivision will broadcast the game in Spanish in Kansas City on KUKC, channel 20. It’s the company’s first national broadcast of an NFL game.
The halftime show will be performed by Usher, and the national anthem will be sung by Reba McEntire.
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How the Chiefs got here
The defending Super Bowl champions’ 17-10 victory in Maryland on Jan. 28 shocked the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens.
“Believe it, baby, we’re going to Las Vegas, Nevada,” shouted Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce from the postgame stage in Baltimore. “Going to get us another one.”
Kelce also delivered some lyrics familiar to anyone who was at last year’s championship celebration at Union Station: “You’ve got to fight for your right to party!”
Kelce had a stellar game against the Ravens, with 11 catches, one touchdown and 116 yards. Easing fan woes over dropped passes, Kelce caught the ball every time quarterback Patrick Mahomes targeted him.
Kelce also surpassed Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, who spent the bulk of his career with the 49ers, for the most postseason receptions, with 156. Rice finished with 151.
Kelce is tied with Rice for the most postseason games with 100 yards in receptions, each with eight. Mahomes will very likely look to connect with Kelce often in the Super Bowl.
Mahomes, meanwhile, is rewriting the postseason record book for quarterbacks.
He’s now the third winningest quarterback in postseason history, tied at 14 wins with Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, and Peyton Manning — all Pro Football Hall of Famers.
The clear-cut leader is Tom Brady with 35 postseason wins, but a Super Bowl championship this year would put Mahomes only one win behind second-place Joe Montana, a former 49er whose last postseason victory was for the Chiefs after the 1993 regular season.
“It truly is special,” Mahomes said after securing the 2024 AFC title. “To do it with these guys, after what we’ve been through all season long.”
“Our job now is to prepare ourselves to play a good team in the Super Bowl and try to get that ring,” he said.
After a disappointing December that included a Christmas Day loss against the Raiders, the Chiefs latest Super Bowl run looked highly questionable.
But Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the AFC title that, in retrospect, “I think it gave our guys a nice little, for (lack of) a better term, wake-up call.”
What to watch for against the 49ers
After hampering the running abilities of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in successive postseason away games, the Chiefs are now focused on containing 49ers signal-caller Brock Purdy.
Purdy is in his first year as a full-time starter. In 2022, he started the last five regular-season games and all three postseason games for the 49ers. Purdy was dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant” in the ‘22 NFL Draft because he was that year’s final overall pick.
Purdy moved up on the 49ers’ depth chart after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, who started against the Chiefs in the 2020 Super Bowl. Unlike Allen and Jackson, Purdy is not expected to run, but he can be sneaky when a play breaks down.
The bigger offensive threat for the Chiefs will be running back Christian McCaffrey. Though the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award this season, McCaffrey put himself in the conversation with 1,459 rushing yards and 564 receiving yards.
When the Chiefs have the ball
It’s pretty obvious by now who the Chiefs like to go to. Kelce and rookie receiver Rashee Rice are favorites in the air, and running back Isiah Pacheco has excelled on the ground and increasingly on passes out of the backfield.
If those three are covered, the Chiefs will have to rely on others, including beleaguered wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Mahomes made that connection with about two minutes to go in the AFC Championship, sealing the Chiefs victory. Valdes-Scantling was targeted only twice, but he caught both passes.
“People (are) coming down on him everywhere,” said Reid after the game, alluding to regular season criticism over dropped passes. “He keeps it right there and he does a great job with it. I thought he was just phenomenal.”
And don’t forget Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of the backfield, tight end Noah Gray, and wide receiver Justin Watson, who won a Super Bowl in 2021 with Tampa Bay (against the Chiefs).
What’s at stake
If the Chiefs win, it would be the first time a team won back-to-back Super Bowl championships since the New England Patriots in 2003 and ‘04.
That possibility has sparked countless conversations about a new NFL dynasty in Kansas City, and comparisons to the Patriots’ historic success under former coach Bill Belichick.
That Mahomes has yet to turn 30 years old is even more encouraging.
A win on Feb. 11 would also thwart Super Bowl revenge for San Francisco. In Miami four years ago, the 49ers held a second-half lead over the Chiefs, only to see Kansas City rally and claim the Lombardi Trophy.
Will Taylor Swift be at the Super Bowl?
For most of the Chiefs' season, popstar Taylor Swift has been right there alongside the team, cheering on boyfriend Travis Kelce and the rest of the team from the suites.
When she's attended games, whether at Arrowhead or away games, Swift has been such a dependable presence on TV screens that sportsbooks are actually taking bets for how many times she'll be shown during the Super Bowl broadcast. (Sports betting is legalin Kansas but not in Missouri, although the Chiefs are advocating to change that.)
But that's all dependent on whether she can actually make it to the game.
Swift is scheduled to bring her Eras Tour to Tokyo on the Saturday before the Super Bowl — but thanks to the time zone differences (and owning a private jet), the math works out for her to get to Las Vegas in time.
If she does appear, some might say it was all by design.