Super Bowl 2018: everything you need to know

Thursday, 1st February 2018, 4:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st February 2018, 4:17 pm

This Sunday sees the 52nd annual Super Bowl take place in the US.

American Football is steadily gaining in popularity in the UK, and interest in the annual game to crown the NFL's undisputed champion increases year on year.

Here's all you need to know about the world's biggest sporting event.

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Who are the teams?

Super Bowl LII will be played between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

The game will be a repeat of 2004's Super Bowl XXXIX, when the two teams previously clashed. That game was won by the Patriots 24–21, though it may not be so close this year.

The Patriots are the first team to make two consecutive Super Bowls since the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 and 2015, having won last year's game.

They're also the only team to have won consecutive Super Bowls, in 2004 and 2005, and are hoping to repeat that feat. It's also their 10th Super Bowl, a record for the League.

Philadelphia have played in two previous Super Bowls, but lost both times in 1981 and 2005.

According to the bookies, the New England Patriots are favourites to win Super Bowl LII.

Who are the players to watch out for?

The Patriots' Tom Brady is the biggest name in American Football - one of only two players to win five Super Bowls, and the only player to win them all playing for one team.

At 40, it could be his last Super Bowl, and if that's the case he'll be looking to bow out with a strong performance.

The Eagles might lack star power, but with quarterbacks often serving as the poster boys for a team, Nick Foles has to be considered Brady's opposite.

Foles has 20 years on Brady, and is the first quarterback in NFL history to post a perfect passer rating (a measure of the performance of passers) and throw seven touchdowns in a single game.

Where is it being played?

The game will be taking place inside Minneapolis' U.S. Bank Stadium, which previously hosted the Super Bowl in 1992.

Minneapolis it the northernmost city to have ever hosted a Super Bowl. With Super Bowl LII being only the sixth to be held in a so-called "cold weather city", it will be interesting to see how the crisper temperatures affect the game.

Who is providing the half-time show?

Justin Timberlake is the artist tasked with providing the flamboyant half-time spectacle that can include hundreds of dancers, pyrotechnics, and complex routines.

The half-time show is also watched by people who don't have the slightest interest in the game: last year 111.5 million people watched Lady Gaga's half-time show in the US alone.

The last time Timberlake appeared at the Super Bowl was in 2004, when the infamous "Nipplegate" incident took place: the former NSYNC star ripped co-performer Janet Jackson's costume and exposed her breast.

Timberlake went unpunished, but Jackson - at the receiving end of a sexist backlash - was handed a lifetime ban from the Super Bowl. Despite the ban, rumours are swirling that she could make an appearance alongside Timberlake this year.

When is Super Bowl LII?

Super Bowl LII kicks off at 3.30pm local time, which is 11.30pm in the UK.

How can I watch it?

The Super Bowl is being shown live on BBC One. Coverage begins at 11.15pm, and runs through to the early hours of Monday morning.

The length of a game of American Football can vary slightly, but coverage of the sporting event should end around 3.30am.

Those just interested in the half-time show should tune in from about 12.30am on Monday morning to catch the spectacle.