The big match

NFL Super Bowl LVI: preview, predictions and London screenings

The Los Angeles Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium

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Super Bowl LVI will be held at SoFi Stadium

Super Bowl LVI will be held at SoFi Stadium

Getty Images

What date is the 2022 Super Bowl?

After two dramatic Conference Championship games, the contenders have been confirmed for the NFL Super Bowl on Sunday 13 February. The Los Angeles Rams will play at their home ground, the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, where they will face the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Rams secured their place in Super Bowl LVI after beating the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in the NFC championship game. The Bengals needed overtime to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in the AFC championship match.

For a 17th consecutive season, the NFL will have a new Super Bowl champion, extending the longest streak without a repeat winner in league history.

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Helmets from the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals

Rich Fury/Getty Images

The teams in focus

For 54 years, no team had played a Super Bowl in their home stadium. After the Los Angeles Rams earned the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVI, it’s now happened in consecutive seasons. Last year at Super Bowl LV, Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at the Raymond James Stadium. The Rams, who were founded in 1937, have won three NFL championships: 1945, 1951 and 1999.

The Cincinnati Bengals, who were founded in 1968, are looking for their first Super Bowl title, playing in the game for the first time since the 1988 season. Since 2000, the Bengals are the fifth team to go from “worst to first” in their division and make the Super Bowl in the same season. Three of the four prior teams to do that – the 2017 Eagles, 2009 Saints and 2001 Patriots – won the Super Bowl.

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The head coaches 

Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor (age 38) and the Rams’ Sean McVay (age 36), will be a combined 74 years and 299 days old on Sunday, the youngest combined age for opposing head coaches in Super Bowl history. 

McVay, who was hired by the Rams in 2017 and led the team to a Super Bowl LIII appearance during the 2018 season, is the fifth individual in league history to advance to two Super Bowls within his first five seasons as an NFL head coach.

Taylor served as an assistant on McVay’s coaching staff with the Rams from 2017-18, including a berth in Super Bowl LIII, prior to becoming the Bengals’ head coach in 2019. With wins in each of the first three rounds of the 2021 post-season, Taylor became the third individual over the last 13 years to win each of his first three post-season games as an NFL head coach.

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The quarterbacks 

For 49 years, no starting quarterbacks drafted No.1 overall had met in a Super Bowl, until Peyton Manning (1998 NFL Draft) and the Denver Broncos defeated Carolina’s Cam Newton (2011 NFL Draft) in Super Bowl 50. 

Now, it will have happened twice in seven seasons, with the Bengals’ Joe Burrow (2020 NFL Draft) and the Rams’ Matthew Stafford (2009 NFL Draft) set to meet on Sunday.

Burrow, 25, guided LSU to a College Football Playoff national championship in 2019. With a win on Sunday, he would join Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Joe Namath as the only starting quarterbacks to win both a consensus college football national title and a Super Bowl. 

Only two quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl in their first years with their teams – Trent Dilfer with the Ravens in 2001 and Brady with the Bucs last year. Rams QB Stafford, who was acquired in an offseason trade, could join them on Sunday.

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The winners of Super Bowl LV will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy

The winners of Super Bowl LV will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy

Elsa/Getty Images

Super Bowl LVI UK start time and TV coverage

American football’s showpiece fixture will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports and the BBC. The game will start at 11.30pm on Sunday night and could finish as late as 3.30am. “​​You might want to book the Monday off work,” Londonist said. 

Sky Sports’s Super Bowl Sunday coverage starts from 10pm and the match between the Bengals and the Rams will be live on Sky Sports NFL and Sky Sports Main Event. BBC’s TV coverage starts at 11pm on BBC Two before switching to BBC One from 11.45pm to 3am. All times GMT. 

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Who will play the Super Bowl half-time show?

Five headline acts have been confirmed for this year’s Pepsi Super Bowl half-time show – Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. Together, they have a combined 44 Grammy Awards, The Independent said. 

Singer-songwriter Blije is “no stranger” to the Super Bowl half-time show, CheatSheet said. She performed at the Super Bowl in 2001.

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Predictions and odds: who will win the Super Bowl?

Will it be the Rams or the Bengals lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy? According to Oddschecker the Rams are 1/2 to win while the Bengals are 9/5. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is favourite to be named most valuable player (MVP). 

In a simulation of Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Madden NFL 22 game has predicted the winning score and MVP. The EA Sports franchise has an “eerily accurate track record when it comes to predicting Super Bowl winners”, Fortune said. And this year the game says that the Bengals will come out on top with a 24-21 victory over the Rams. Bengals QB Joe Burrow is also tipped to capture the MVP title.

The Bengals are “one of 12 teams that has yet to win a Super Bowl”, said Jordan Dajani on CBS Sports. That number “decreases to 11” by end of the weekend. Cincy are “clearly this year’s Cinderella” but the offense “can out-score anyone” and the defence is “playing hot as well”. 

Cincinnati will “lead at half-time”, Sporting News predicts. But Los Angeles will “hold on for their first Super Bowl victory in 22 seasons. Final score: Rams 27, Bengals 24”. 

With two “underdog” teams making the Super Bowl, who better to pick the winner than puppies. On ​​The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that’s exactly what happened last week. “It’s nearly impossible to predict who’s going to win but you’re in luck,” Fallon said. “Because when it comes to predicting things, we have a secret weapon.” Who will win Super Bowl LVI? Watch the video below…  

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Lola’s Underground Casino at The Hippodrome

Lola’s Underground Casino at The Hippodrome

Super Bowl screenings: where to watch in London

There’s plenty of bars, parties and pop-ups to watch the NFL Super Bowl LVI in London, said DesignMyNight. So, “get set for a night of huge drama and controversy” – and that’s just the half-time show…

The Hard Rock Cafes in Mayfair and Piccadilly Circus are “going big” for the Super Bowl. Both will serve special match day menus and hold competitions. There will also be appearances from the Hard Rock Cafe Big Game Cheerleaders. Tickets from £30.95-£95. 

Stratford table tennis bar The Bat and Ball “is taking this whole Super Bowl shebang seriously”, said Londonist. Bringing a slice of American Pie to east London, the game will be screened and there will also be a half-time hot wings eating competition and beer pong tournaments. “Maybe consider taking Tuesday off as well if you’re heading for this one…” Tickets from £15-£50.

Lola’s Underground Casino at The Hippodrome will show all the Super Bowl action on its ten-metre video wall. A limited-edition menu of bar snacks will also be served up, including jalapeño poppers, loaded nachos, USDA prime beef sliders with truffle mayo, and fries smothered with five bean chilli and grated cheese. Tickets from £20.

After two years, Gridiron Magazine’s Super Bowl Party is back. Bloomsbury Lanes in central London is the place to be to catch all the NFL action on Sunday. The game will be shown on big screens and there will also be ten-pin bowling, beer pong, drinks served into the early hours and all-American delicacies such as “huge” pizzas, chicken wings and burgers galore. Tickets from £5 plus booking fee. 

Super Bowl 56 will be screened in style at BOXPARK’s three London locations – Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley. Huge screens with surround sound will show the action from California while DJs, cheerleaders, beer pong, giveaways, and plenty of booze will entertain visitors. Tickets from £10. 

Watch the Super Bowl live at Signature Brew on Blackhorse Road. Entry costs £6 and includes a pint of Studio Lager or Roadie IPA. Enjoy pitchers, pints, wings and dogs in the brewery hall from 9pm until late.

The Clapham Grand is hosting a “raucous” Super Bowl screening, said Londonist. The pub/club/theatre makes full use of its 25ft screen to show the BBC coverage of the game and the half-time entertainment. A waiting list has now started after the initial tickets sold out. 

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About the NFL: a rookie’s guide

How many teams are there in the NFL?

There are 32 teams and the winner is crowned at the end-of-season Super Bowl. The NFL’s 32 teams are split into two conferences – the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). The 16 teams in each conference are then split into the East, North, South and West divisions. Each division has four teams. 

How does the NFL season work?

The regular season lasts 18 weeks, during which time each team plays 17 matches. At the end of the regular season, the top team in each conference’s four divisions, plus each conference’s two teams (wild cards) with the next-best records, qualify for the play-offs. The 12 teams are seeded by their win-loss record. The Wild Card Round and Division Round lead to the Conference Championship Round, where the top two teams battle it out to become the NFC and AFC champions. The two Conference champions then meet at the Super Bowl.

How do the NFL teams line up?

If you’re new to American football a great place to start is by reading NFL.com’s beginner’s guide. The two teams line up in the following way: one 11-man team has possession of the football and is called the offence and the other 11-man team is the defence. A match is split into four 15-minute quarters, with a 12-minute half-time break. The Super Bowl half-time show usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.

How are points scored?

There are four ways to keep the scoreboard ticking over: a touchdown is worth six points, conversions get one or two points, field goals are three points, and a safety is worth two points. The object of the game is to score more points than the opposition.

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