Super Bowl LII
Super Bowl LII will be the 52nd Super Bowl and the 48th modern-era National Football League (NFL) championship game. The National Football Conference (NFC) champion Philadelphia Eagles will play the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots to decide the league champion for the 2017 NFL season. The game is scheduled to be held on February 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It will be the second Super Bowl in Minneapolis, which previously hosted Super Bowl XXVI in 1992. It will be the sixth Super Bowl in a cold weather city, and Minneapolis will continue to be the northernmost city to host a Super Bowl.
|Date||February 4, 2018|
|Stadium||U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Favorite||Patriots by 5.5|
|Halftime show||Justin Timberlake|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Al Michaels (play-by-play)
Cris Collinsworth (analyst)
Michele Tafoya and Heather Cox (sideline reporters)
|Cost of 30-second commercial||$5 million|
|Radio in the United States|
|Announcers||Kevin Harlan (play-by-play)
Boomer Esiason (analyst)
A rematch of 2004's Super Bowl XXXIX, which was won by New England 24–21, Super Bowl LII is the first Super Bowl appearance for the Eagles since that game. The Patriots became the first team since the Seattle Seahawks (who made Super Bowl XLVIII and Super Bowl XLIX) to appear in two consecutive Super Bowls, having won Super Bowl LI in the previous season, and are also seeking to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl victors since the Patriots themselves won Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX.
- U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis last hosted the Super Bowl in 1992 (Super Bowl XXVI) at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome; the Metrodome was torn down after the 2013 season, and over the course of 2014 and 2015, U.S. Bank Stadium was built on the same site.
- Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The stadium hosted Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
- Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Superdome has previously hosted the Super Bowl on seven occasions, most recently Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 (New Orleans has hosted the Super Bowl on ten occasions in total). New Orleans will celebrate its Tricentennial in 2018.
The NFC was represented by the number one playoff seed Philadelphia Eagles, while the AFC was represented by the number one playoff seed New England Patriots, marking the fourth time in the previous five years that the Super Bowl had featured the top team from each conference.
The Eagles finished the regular season with a record of 13–3, one of four teams (along with New England, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh) with that record. By virtue of the tie-breaking procedures, they were granted the NFC's number one overall seed in the 2017–18 NFL playoffs. It was a big improvement for the team under second year head coach Doug Pederson, as the Eagles had finished each of the previous two seasons with identical 7–9 records. The team had scored 457 points during the season (third in the NFL), while giving up just 295 (fourth) points.
The offense was led by Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Wentz. In just his second season, he recorded a passer rating of 101.9, throwing for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. His top target was Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, who caught 74 passes for 824 yards and eight touchdowns. Other key aspects of the passing game were two new receivers acquired from off-season free agency: Alshon Jeffery, who caught 57 passes for 789 yards and nine scores, and Torrey Smith, who had 36 receptions for 430 yards. Meanwhile, three year veteran receiver Nelson Agholor had the best season of his career, hauling in 62 passes for 768 yards and eight touchdowns, a higher total in each category then in his previous two seasons combined. The Eagles rushing attack also benefited from two recently acquired players, LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi. Blount, an off-season signing after winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots, gained 776 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Ajayi, picked up by a mid-season trade with the Miami Dolphins, rushed for 873 yards and caught 24 passes for another 158 yards. Philadelphia also had a superb offensive line, lead by two Pro Bowl selections: tackle Lane Johnson and guard Brandon Brooks.
The Eagles defense ranked fourth in the league fewest yards allowed (4,904). Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox made the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career, recording 51⁄2 sacks and two fumble recoveries, but he had plenty of help around him, such as defensive end Chris Long, who had five sacks and forced four fumbles, and defensive end Brandon Graham, who led the team with 91⁄2 sacks. Middle linebacker Nigel Bradham led the team in combined tackles with 88. The Eagles secondary featured Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had 76 combined tackles and two interceptions, along with cornerback Patrick Robinson, who led the team with four interceptions.
Philadelphia had stormed to the top of the NFC by winning 10 of their first 12 games, but suffered a major setback on December 10, when Wentz went down with a season-ending injury and was replaced by journeyman backup quarterback Nick Foles, who was playing for his third team in as many years, and his second stint with the Eagles. Still, Foles was able to lead the team to victory in that game, as well as the next two. The Eagles would lose a meaningless week 17 matchup with the Cowboys lead by third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Then in their two playoff games, Foles threw for a combined total of 598 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.
New England Patriots
The Patriots entered the 2017 NFL season as defending Super Bowl champions and preseason favorites to repeat as champions. For the 16th time in their 18 seasons under 65-year old coach Bill Belichick, they recorded double-digit wins, finishing regular season with a record of 13–3, one of four teams (along with Philadelphia, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh) with that record. By virtue of the tie-breaking procedures, they were granted the AFC's number one overall seed in the 2017–18 NFL playoffs. Early season defensive struggles left the team with a 2–2 record after four weeks, and the worst overall defense in the league at that point. Additionally, top wide receiver Julian Edelman went down in the preseason with a season-ending injury, leaving Tom Brady without one of his favorite targets for the entire year. The defense would come together as a unit, and tighten up over the rest of the season however, with the Patriots going 11–1 after week 4, and finishing the year with a top-5 defense in most statistical categories. Their sole loss in the latter part of the season came in Week 14 to the Miami Dolphins, a division rival, though they were without star tight end Rob Gronkowski due to a one game suspension for an unnecessary roughness call the prior week. The Patriots defense had been shored up by several late-season free-agent signings who would make immediate impacts, including Eric Lee, a little used defensive end previously with the Buffalo Bills who the Patriots signed in Week 12, and James Harrison, a perennial All-Pro for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who the Patriots picked up off waivers after Christmas. In his only regular season game with the Patriots, Harrison recorded two sacks.
New England's offense led the league in yards gained (6,307) and ranked second in points scored (458). The 40-year old Brady finished his 18th season with a league-leading 4,577 passing yards and 32 touchdowns with just eight interceptions, earning him his 13th selection to the Pro Bowl. One thing that helped make up for the loss of Edelman would be the new acquisition of receiver Brandin Cooks, who caught 65 passes for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns. Brady was also aided by the healthy return of Gronkowski, who had played just eight games in the previous season, finishing this year with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight scores. Receiver Danny Amendola added 61 receptions for 659 yards, as well as another 240 yards returning punts. The Patriots also had several talented running backs. With the loss of their previous season's rushing leader LaGarrette Blount to free agency, Dion Lewis stepped up to take the lead, rushing for 896 yards and six touchdowns despite starting only eight games. He also caught 32 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and added 570 yards and another touchdown returning kickoffs. Rex Burkhead chipped in 518 all-purpose yards, 30 receptions, and eight touchdowns. In passing situations, the team relied heavily on running back James White, who caught 56 passes for 429 yards and rushed for 171 on the ground. These backs were aided by the blocking of fullback James Devlin, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection. On special teams, kicker Stephen Gostkowski ranked second in the NFL with 156 points and fourth in field goals made with 37, while Matthew Slater earned his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl selection.
The Patriots defense ranked only 29th in yards allowed (5,856), but oddly enough they ranked fifth in fewest points, giving up only 296. Defensive end Trey Flowers led the team with 61⁄2 sacks while also forcing two fumbles. Linebacker Devin McCourty led the team with 97 combined tackles, while linebacker Kyle Van Noy had 73 tackles and 51⁄2 sacks. The Patriots also had a superb secondary, led by defensive backs Duron Harmon (four interceptions), Malcolm Butler (two interceptions, three forced fumbles), and Patrick Chung (84 tackles, one interception, two fumble recoveries).
In the playoffs, the Patriots earned a first round bye and home-field advantage due to their status as the AFC's first overall seed. In the divisional round, they defeated the Tennessee Titans 35–14, as Brady passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns, and the defensive front seven dominated the offensive line of the Titans, amassing eight quarterback sacks of Marcus Mariota and holding the Titans running game to 65 yards rushing. In the AFC Championship Game they faced the Jacksonville Jaguars, who jumped out to an early 14–3 lead and whose league-best defense stymied Brady and the rest of the offense for most of the first half. Down 20–10 in the fourth quarter, the Patriots comeback was sealed by two Brady-led drives, both resulting in touchdown passes to Danny Amendola, as well as a key defensive stop by Stephon Gilmore, whose acrobatic block of a Blake Bortles pass ended Jacksonville's last chance to score. Rob Gronkowski was injured in the game with a concussion, leaving his status for the Super Bowl in doubt. Amendola would be the breakout star for the Patriots during their two playoff wins, leading the team with 196 receiving yards, and serving as Brady's primary target.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia started off the divisional round by narrowly defeating the Atlanta Falcons 15–10, by stopping the Falcons on four consecutive plays after they had a first-down-and-goal situation on the Eagles 9-yard line during their final drive. Then they easily demolished the Minnesota Vikings 38–7 in the NFC Championship Game. Although the Vikings scored on their opening drive, the Eagles defense held them to three punts, two turnovers on downs, two interceptions, and one lost fumble in their remaining drives of the game. Meanwhile Foles had one of the best games of his career, completing 26 of 33 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns.
This will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX. Only one player, Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady, remains on either roster from that contest. Bill Belichick, the Patriots' head coach in that contest, also remains in that position.
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, will host media day events and press conferences. More than 5,000 media members are expected to come to the Twin Cities for the Super Bowl. For coordination of the game and 10 days of events, the National Football League will temporarily operate an events office within the Minnesota Vikings office building next to U.S. Bank Stadium. More than one million visitors are expected to attend events associated with the Super Bowl over ten days.
Admission tickets to the game and related events, as well as parking, received state tax exemptions. Increased security operations around U.S. Bank Stadium will close the stadium's light rail station for 48 hours before the game, and a nearby homeless shelter will temporarily relocate outside of the security perimeter. The Blue Line of the light rail system will only be open to ticketholders and passengers with a Gameday Pass, while the Green Line will only run to Stadium Village station on the University of Minnesota campus before continuing on with restricted access. Metro Transit will run shuttle buses between light rail stations, as well as regular bus service that will be moved for several weeks due to street closures.
The American Football Conference champion has been designated as the home team for the game under the NFL's system of alternating home teams between conferences. Thus, New England will have preference of which color jersey to wear and availability to the media. Ticket allotment would remain split between participating clubs per an agreement made in 1998, and game presentation and entertainment in the stadium is controlled by the league. The Patriots will practice at the Minnesota Vikings facilities in Eden Prairie while the Eagles use the University of Minnesota. The Eagles will also get the Vikings' locker room and sideline. The Vikings had advanced to the NFC Championship Game before losing to the Eagles; until that point, the possibility of the Vikings advancing to the Super Bowl and thus becoming the first team to play the game in its home stadium was plausible. Had that scenario happened, the Vikings would have had access to their own locker rooms and training facilities (which would have forced the AFC champion to use the University of Minnesota) but received no other home advantages.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee will present Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. This ten-day free festival and concert series will feature Sheila E., The Revolution, Morris Day and The Time, and The New Power Generation, musicians from Minnesota who collaborated with Prince. Produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Super Bowl Live will also include performances by Idina Menzel, Soul Asylum, The Suburbs, Bob Mould, Sounds of Blackness, Dessa, VocalEssence, Mint Condition, and The Jets. In addition to the concert series, Super Bowl Live will have a 200-foot (61 m) American Birkebeiner International Bridge on Nicollet Mall to showcase cross-country skiing, skijoring, fat-tire bicycle racing, and snow tubing demonstrations. There will be a snowmobile stunt show on February 3.
The NFL will present the Super Bowl Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center from January 27 to February 3 with an entrance fee. Kelly Clarkson will perform at the Minneapolis Armory and a U.S. Bank Stadium lounge on the day of the Super Bowl.
The Minneapolis Armory will also host Jennifer Lopez, Imagine Dragons, and Pink concerts close to U.S. Bank Stadium. Pink will also sing the national anthem before the Super Bowl. Halftime performer Justin Timberlake will hold a "listening session" at Prince's Paisley Park. Dave Matthews Band will perform at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community's Mystic Lake Casino will host Gwen Stefani, The Chainsmokers, Florida Georgia Line, and Kygo. Planners originally scheduled a 64,000-square-foot (5,900 m2) traveling nightclub for 9500 people, but cancelled, moving its concerts into the main casino. Ellie Goulding's appearance with Kygo was cancelled at the same time. The Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minnesota, has the second-largest hotel in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and Prior Lake will host Super Bowl-week events including winter activities, a hot dish competition, and fundraisers.
Other events will be held at the Mall of America (including Radio Row as a home for national shows), Saint Paul's RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center, the Minnesota Vikings' Winter Park location in Eden Prairie, and the University of Minnesota. "Taste of the NFL" is a fundraiser for food banks and will be held in Saint Paul. Minneapolis will offer a temporary zip-line across the Mississippi River near downtown. The Luminary Loppet around Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis will feature fire dancing, an ice pyramid, and luminary candles at night.
The 2018 Saint Paul Winter Carnival will take place leading up to, during and after the Super Bowl. Carnival organizers will build a large ice palace to coincide with the Super Bowl festivities, as with Super Bowl XXVI in 1992. The ice palace was planned, cancelled for lack of funds, then re-announced with sponsors. Events in Saint Paul will also include an extreme sports demonstration, a "giant slide", and a block party. Officials in the capital city hope to attract Minneapolis Super Bowl visitors.
The Great Northern is a winter festival in the Twin Cities from January 25 to February 4 which includes the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, an ice bar, and an "urban ski competition".
ESPN will broadcast its studio programming from the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis, while Golf Channel (a sister network of Super Bowl LII broadcaster NBC) will air two live episodes of David Feherty's eponymous series from the State Theatre.
Over 1,000 private jets are expected to bring fans to the Big Game, including over 250 flights by NetJets, which is taking over an entire private jet terminal exclusively for its customers at Holman Field. JetSmarter, another private jet company, said it will operate private jet shuttles from New York, Los Angeles and South Florida to Minneapolis for the game charging $4,095 per seat. NetJets also said it will hold a private party exclusively for its customers on Saturday night before the game.
NBC will broadcast Super Bowl LII, as part of an annual cycle between the three main broadcast television partners of the NFL. This will be the last game in Westwood One's current national radio contract with the NFL. Each participating team's flagship station will also carry the game with local announcers. Under the terms of the Westwood One contract, any radio station that is not a local flagship, if they are to carry the game, must use the Westwood One feed.
Online streams of the game will be provided by NBC. Under new digital rights deals that began with the 2017–18 playoffs, Verizon will still offer mobile streaming of games, but will no longer hold exclusive rights to stream NFL games on smartphones or make them exclusive to Verizon Wireless subscribers. Instead, Verizon elected to use use the deal to bolster its recent acquisition of Yahoo!; On January 9, 2018, Verizon announced that it would host streams of playoff games through the Yahoo! Sports app, including Super Bowl LII. As a result of the deal, the online stream will be available to viewers on all Internet devices for the first time, regardless of network (because of Verizon's previous exclusive rights deal, non-Verizon phones had previously been blocked from receiving any NFL telecasts, regardless of source).
Mike Tirico, who replaced Bob Costas in 2017 as NBC's lead studio host for both the NFL and the Olympic Games, will not participate in coverage of Super Bowl LII due to his commitments to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea (which begin on the Friday following the game). Costas will serve as a co-host in Tirico's place, the eighth time he's held that assignment for NBC since 1986.
Dan Lovinger, NBC Sports Group executive vice president of ad sales, stated to Variety in July 2017 that the network was seeking a price "north of $5 million" (the price set for the previous two Super Bowls) for a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl LII. Taking advantage of the 2018 Winter Olympics that begins five days after the Super Bowl (which will mark the first time since 1992 that a single broadcast network will air both the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics in the same year), NBC disclosed plans to offer advertising packages that cover both Super Bowl LII and the Olympics. NBC estimated that it would bring in at least $1 billion in advertising revenue from the two events.
NBC's lead-out program will be an episode of This is Us, alongside a special episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon from Minneapolis's Orpheum Theatre, with halftime performer Justin Timberlake, Dwayne Johnson, and the cast of This Is Us as guests.
As per recent years, the Super Bowl will be shown live on the BBC for no additional cost over the license fee. It is also available on Sky Sports with a subscription, through a Now TV Sports Pass, or as part of the NFL Gamepass Playoffs package.
After several years in another free channel, the Super Bowl will be shown live on ProSieben (for the first time on this channel) for no additional cost and on ProSieben HD in High Definition as part of the so-called "HD+" package. As well it is available online via ran.de or DAZN.
U.S. military bases
Although there had been concerns that the United States federal government shutdown of 2018 would shut down AFN and leave the game inaccessible if not resolved, AFN noted that they had already purchased the rights to all of the 2017 season's games prior to the shutdown and would use the one essential channel still operating to transmit the game.
Justin Timberlake will be headlining the Super Bowl LII halftime show. Timberlake performed in two previous Super Bowls: Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 as a member of NSYNC, and Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 with Janet Jackson.
- Referee: Gene Steratore (114)
- Umpire: Roy Ellison (81)
- Down judge: Jerry Bergman (91)
- Line judge: Byron Boston (18)
- Field judge: Tom Hill (97)
- Side judge: Scott Edwards (3)
- Back judge: Perry Paganelli (46)
- Replay official: Paul Weidner
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Referee GENE STERATORE will lead the seven-person crew of on-field game officials selected to work Super Bowl LII on Sunday, February 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, the NFL announced today
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