Seth Wenig) / AP
Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 | 2 a.m.
The only public event of Super Bowl week featuring the teams takes place at 5 p.m. February 5 at Allegiant Stadium with “Opening Night” festivities.
Once known as “Media Day,” the event has transformed into a spectacle featuring live entertainment, team introductions and special surprises. Fans can also download the NFL One Pass app to listen live to the full 50-minute media sessions with the stars of each team from the stands.
Tickets are $30 and available at superbowl.com/openingnight.
The Chiefs barely had time to brush off the confetti as they exited the field as Super Bowl champions following a win against the Eagles a year ago in Glendale, Ariz., before debate raged on their accomplishment.
No one in NFL circles really questioned Kansas City’s status as the 2022-2023 champions but plenty challenged whether the team was historically great. The consensus seemed to be that the Chiefs hadn’t yet earned the right to be considered a dynasty despite a pair of Super Bowl victories over a four-year span.
The teams considered the best in NFL history—the 2000s Patriots, 1990s Cowboys and 1970s Steelers— had all won at least three titles with the same core, including back-to-back championships.
“We had a lot of doubters from the beginning of the season,” Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed said. “No one believed in us, the champs. But we stayed at it, had a lot of adversity. We kept going and look at what we’re at now.”
Kansas City can eradicate any remaining doubt regarding its all-time status at 3:30 p.m. February 11 at Allegiant Stadium. That’s when Super Bowl 58, Las Vegas’ first-ever “Big Game,” kicks off with the Chiefs looking to thwart the San Francisco 49ers.
Kansas City will of course want to prove its worthiness on the field, but there’s a case to be made that merely reaching the Super Bowl again cements its current run near the top of the annals. The Chiefs have already become just the third team ever—joining the 2010s Patriotsand the 1990s Buffalo Bills—to make the Super Bowl four times in five years.
“You don’t take it for granted,” Chiefs quarterback and two-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes said. “You never know how many you’re going to get to or if you’re going to get to any. It truly is special, just to do it with these guys after what we’ve been through all season long, guys coming together. I told them, ‘The job is not done.’ The job now is to prepare ourselves to play a great team in the Super Bowl and try to get that ring.”
On paper, the 49ers look like the best team the Chiefs have squared off against for a championship—even a cut above the 2020-2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who pummeled Kansas City 31-9 in Super Bowl 55. San Francisco had the ninth-best regular season since 1981—as far back as reliable data stretches—by the DVOA ratings, a preeminent all-encompassing metric measuring team quality on a play-by-play and drive-by-drive basis.
And the 49ers have a score to settle with the Chiefs. Kansas City’s sort-of, probably dynasty officially began in Miami on February 2, 2020, when it overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat San Francisco 31-20 in Super Bowl 54.
“I wasn’t here in (the last Super Bowl season) obviously,” 49ers second-year quarterback Brock Purdy said. “But you can tell the guys who have been here are like, if anybody, it would be special for them to play against (the Chiefs). I’m excited to be a part of it.”
San Francisco has seven of the same starters this year as it did on the 2019-2020 Super Bowl team—wide receiver Deebo Samuel, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tight end George Kittle, edge rusher Nick Bosa, edge rusher Arik Armstead, linebacker Fred Warner and linebacker Dre Greenlaw. That’s actually a high number for NFL standards, given how quickly rosters turn over.
The Chiefs, by contrast, only retain three starters from their last Super Bowl against the 49ers, though they are almost inarguably the three pillars of the franchise—Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones.
Cornerback Charvarius Ward has swapped sidelines, signing with the 49ers in 2022 after winning a ring with the Chiefs.
The coaching matchup remains the same, with San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan squaring off against Kansas City’s Andy Reid.
“I’ve already got a pretty good idea of how it’s going to look,” Shanahan said. “They’ve been doing it a while. Since we met them in ’19, it seems like they’ve been back every year since. We’ve been trying real hard to get back to that moment and been close a number of times, but this time we got it done. We’ve got two weeks to prepare and I’m sure it’s going to be a hell of a game.”
Last year’s Super Bowl set a high bar to clear, as Mahomes had to rally the Chiefs back with a late, game-winning drive to knock off the Eagles 38-35. They came into this season as the championship favorite again, alongside the 49ers at the top of betting boards, but failed to live up to the hype most of the year.
Kansas City was only the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs, being forced to win two straight road playoff games (at Buffalo and Baltimore) for the first time in Mahomes’ career to reach the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs have ascended when it matters, and if they can do it for one more game, this run will rightfully be called one of the most successful in NFL history.
“It’s tough back-to-back-to-back seasons,” Reid said. “We’ve played a lot of football games. You’ve got to work through that mentally and it’s not an easy thing. I’m so happy for the guys and how they handled that.”
This story originally appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.