Peter King previews Super Bowl LV between Chiefs, Buccaneers


Tom Brady in another Super Bowl, the first without the flying Elvis on the helmet, will be the story of the week. Rightfully so. But I think the key to the game will be Tampa’s defense. Brady, I believe, will score enough for Tampa Bay to win, even going against his old conqueror from 2007, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the former Giants coach who frustrated Brady in his first Super Bowl loss 13 years ago. But the question is, will Bowles, edge rushers Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, and a young secondary have the answers for Andy Reid, Bieniemy, Mahomes and that all-time explosive offense?

One compelling thing about this game is that Brady, at 43, won’t be the only poised quarterback in it. Mahomes, 25, showed last year he’s in Brady’s Joe Cool League. I can never hear the story of 2-3 Jet Chip Wasp enough. That’s the play, with 7:13 left in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs down 10, that’s been told—in my column a year ago, and by NFL Films, colorfully and with soundbites—and made into T-shirts and will live forever in the minds of fans. The play started Kansas City on the greatest comeback in franchise history.

I asked Bieniemy: “I still find it fascinating that a 24-year-old kid walks to the sidelines before the play, all calm, Super Bowl on the line, and asks you, ‘Do we have time to run Wasp?’ “

“Me and Coach Reid, we’re talking on the headsets,” Bieniemy said. “We’re talking about different plays. Coach is giving me a play, a suggestion. I’m talking to Pat, and Pat says, ‘Hey, you know what? Do we have time to run Wasp?’ I said on the headset, ‘Coach, he likes Wasp.’ And coach is like, ‘Well hell, if he likes Wasp, let’s run it.’

“I say to Pat, ‘Look, you got it. We have time. You just make it happen.’ That’s the great thing about Pat. When Pat wants to run something, we don’t restrict him from anything, but when you instill that confidence in your players, and you give him that ability to suggest a play like that, you know that he’s gonna find a way to make it happen. So that’s what we do here. We instill confidence in our players to be at their best when their best is needed. And we’re confident he’s gonna find a way to make it work.”

Gain of 44, to Tyreek Hill. Three touchdowns in the next six minutes. And the first NFL title for the franchise in 50 years. There’s no secret to anyone that the recipe is the same for Mahomes and the Chiefs this year. Mahomes will have the same pressure on his plate Sunday night. If anything, the game will be tougher, in part because Brady’s on the other side. But there’s an X-and-O element to this game that wasn’t there last year: Because of injuries to Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, Mahomes will have to rely on two backup tackles—including Mike Remmers, the former Panther famously turnstiled by Von Miller in Super Bowl 50—to keep JPP and Barrett off his back. And they’re hot. They sacked Aaron Rodgers a combined five times in the NFC Championship Game.

I won’t be surprised if Pierre-Paul or Barrett is the Super Bowl MVP if the Bucs win. That’s how big a role they could play in this game. They each had sacks in the first meeting this year. But they’ll need to be more oppressive in this meeting.

I think Mahomes will need to be at his improvisational best Sunday. He’s not going to have the time he normally does, and I’m sure he knows that, and I’m sure his mind is working overtime to figure out which play could be this year’s Wasp. When I watched the first meeting from November, Mahomes was simply too comfortable, especially early.

On the first snap of the game, Hill came into Jet motion from the right, caught a swing pass on nickel back Sean Murphy-Bunting, who passed him on to a safety who simply wasn’t there. The play happened so fast; Hill, as he often does, did so much damage in a split-second. Gain of 34. Consistently during the game, Mahomes controlled defenders with his eyes, twice on touchdowns. On the 75-yard TD to Hill midway through the first quarter, Mahomes kept safety Antoine Winfield Jr., frozen by staring deep and to the left, while Hill was torching cornerback Carlton Davis to the right. By the time Winfield recovered and ran over, Hill was in the end zone. Same thing in the third quarter on Hill’s last TD. Hill ran a simple streak down the right side; Davis was right with him, no help, but Mahomes wizzed a line-drive strike 12 inches over Davis’ shoulder and into Hill’s hands.

I haven’t even mentioned Travis KelceSammy WatkinsMecole HardmanClyde Edwards-Helaire. They’re pretty good too. Kelce could own this game. Hardman dropped a potential 89-yard catch-and-run TD pass last time that would have given Mahomes 551 passing yards for the game. That would have been the second-best passing day in the 101-year history of the NFL.

“They’re in attack mode all the time,” Bowles said. “Andy’s the nicest guy in the world—there’s a reason everybody likes him so much. He’s also one of the smartest coaches in this league. He’ll get a read on you, and he’ll expose you to the bitter end. He’ll stab you about 50 times.”

Bowles started laughing. “Andy’s like Roberta Flack. Killing me softly.”

Tyreek Hill on Carlton Davis, in the first game. This time, who knows? The weaponry is real, and it’s spectacular. Who will Reid and Bieniemy pick on this time? We’ll have to watch the game to see.

This far into the column, and the skin color of my two subjects, Bowles and Bieniemy, has not come up. They are Black. Three of the four coordinators in this game are Black (including Bucs OC Byron Leftwich). Collectively, Bowles and Bieniemy had seven interviews for head-coaching jobs in January. When I asked them about it, neither seemed particularly surprised they’d gone 0-for-7.

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, left, and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. (Getty Images/2)

“For me and Eric, it’s two good coaches,” Bowles said. “Whenever people on the outside—ownership, media, anyone else—when they start saying ‘coaches’ instead of ‘Black coaches,’ then things will start to get better. The fact that we have to be ‘Black coaches’—we wake up Black, we know that, we look in the mirror every day—we’re coaches in our profession. In other professions, you don’t say, ‘Black flight attendant,’ you say, ‘flight attendant.’ The fact that we keep referring to Black coaches to begin with means there’s a big problem with everything.

“We’re two good coaches. We have a couple more in this game as well. We’re trying to do our jobs very well. The fact that it’s such a big deal about the head-coaching thing, it puts a big emphasis on it from the outside. Eric’s trying to win, I’m trying to win. The big deal is made from the outside. The change has also got to be made from the outside, because we can only do so much.”

Said Bieniemy: “I always tell everybody, I’m just a ball coach. I didn’t ask to be chosen to be the face of whatever representation. I just want to make sure that I’m admired and recognized for the things that I have accomplished and worked towards in this profession. That’s all you can ask for. I think all of us take pride in teaching young men and helping them become better people.”

As that face of the passed-over Black coach, Bieniemy gets asked all the time if he’s frustrated by it. How could he not be?

“I am never going to allow any process outside of my control to frustrate me,” he said. “It’s all part of my journey. Eric Bieniemy will continue to be himself, every day. And Eric Bieniemy will continue chopping wood. That’s all I know to do.”

Read more in Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

Super Bowl squares 2023: Explanation, how to play, rules and printable template


Star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are set to go head-to-head today, Super Bowl Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

Even if you’re home watching on the couch, you can still get in on the action by filling out your squares, which has become a Super Bowl tradition.

What are Super Bowl squares and what is the format?

A board features 10 rows and 10 columns, adding up to 100 squares total. One of the teams is assigned the rows, while the other team is assigned the columns.

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Each person in the pool then chooses one (or multiple) squares, depending on your pool’s rules. In some pools, squares are randomly assigned, while you may choose your own square in other pools.

After all the squares have been filled, numbers between zero and nine are randomly chosen for each row and column.

How do Super Bowl squares work? How do I win?

Each square has a corresponding row and column number. At the end of each quarter, the player whose two numbers match the end digits of each team’s point total will win.

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For example, if the score at the end of the first quarter is Chiefs 13, Eagles 7, the player whose box corresponds with “3” for Kansas City and “7” for Philadelphia would win.

Most pools pay out for the final score at the end of each quarter, for a total of four winners (1st quarter, halftime, 3rd quarter, final score). Some pools pay out for every score throughout the game.

Where can I find a template for Super Bowl squares?

NBC Sports has provided a template below, complete with a 10 by 10 grid. Fans can click here to print this template out to use for their Super Bowl squares.

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season and Playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

Marry Your Passion With Your Curiosity: Panelists Discuss Building Your Brand in Leadup to Super Bowl LVII


Fans in every color jersey of the rainbow internationally will tune into Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday. Ahead of the game, NBCU Academy partnered with PNE Showcase and Arizona State University to bring students and professionals an inside look at the people who color outside the lines for the National Football league.

The three powerhouses co-hosted the Building and Being Your Brand seminar in hopes of helping students and other national professionals identify their brand and the best ways to communicate the pillars of their brand to the masses.

There are just under 4,000 people employed by the NFL, which makes for hundreds of job paths within the league. As the panel began, NFL international marketing and player relations manager Emily Wirtz spoke about how her roots in Germany translated into the role she has now.

The first door opened for Wirtz in the NFL was as a digital video editor and producer. Wirtz transparently admitted she did not feel qualified for the job but with an extra push from her father, she decided to still go after the interview.

“My dad told me that even if I do not land the job, it will at least be good interview practice,” Wirtz said.

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Wirtz still thanks her father to this day. Her video supervisor learned she spoke German and instantly recommended her for a role within the NFL’s global expansion. She would go on to execute the first NFL game in Germany. Germany’s first official exposure to American football at the highest level sold out of millions of tickets in three minutes.

“When we are on the way to these international games in London, Germany and Mexico City, the NFL staff, we’re usually on a big bus or van,” Wirtz said. “In the van it’s about 40 of us and we’re literally trying to find a fan in one of the jerseys of all 32 teams. When we see someone we are like Chargers, Rams or whatever the team is! Every international game I’ve been to, all 5, we’ve been able to spot someone in each jersey.”

By showing up as her authentic self, Wirtz was able to leverage her job. All five of the panelists promoted a “helmet-off” approach to the game. This idea promotes getting to know the stories of the players to help advance the game.

Director of NFL college and club social marketing Sana Merchant-Rupani discussed taking on tasks that require you to grow. Before joining the league, Merchant-Rupani worked in digital marketing at Empire State Realty Trust. In the position, she was tasked with creating an Instagram presence for the company.

Merchant-Rupani had no experience with Instagram when taking on this task but it directly led her into her current role.

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“You have to marry your passion with your curiosity,” Merchant-Rupani said.

Senior manager of NFL game operations Karley Berry further emphasized Merchant-Rupani’s message by presenting the contrast. Berry posited that if a job is presented to someone and they check off all the job requirements, then the job is not for them.

The entire audience was initially confused by the statement but as Berry went on, she explained you must take a job that will offer you something new and will leave you with an extra skill you did not have going into the position.

Prior to stepping into the game operations realm, Berry took her first step into the football world when she was a recruiting assistant at Penn State University.

Growing up around Nittany Lion football her entire life, she knew the brand of the university’s football team. While in State College, PA, she challenged the recruitment staff to go after men with outstanding character.

“When we would go on home visits, I would make sure to pay attention,” Berry said. Berry wanted to be intentional with her tactics and believed the best players were those that were good people on and off the field.

Merchant-Rupani, Berry and Wirtz all used elements of their personal brand to succeed in their current spaces to get to their dream work destination. This message was passed on to the audience through painting their journey through experiences.

“We all know about Patrick Mahomes. There are other stories,” senior manager of NFL social marketing Jordan Dolbin said.

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Dolbin called on storytellers to push their limits. She wanted to ensure she was challenging audience members to go beneath the surface of the performers with the best stat numbers.

She brought up a story she came across during her Super Bowl preparation that was a “where are they now’ approach to telling the stories of all the players that caught interceptions against Maholmes in high school.

“Now, that is the story I will remember when this is all over,” Dolbin said.

Cincinnati Bengals special teamer Trayveon Williams added his experience to the panel, emphasizing exploring his other interests outside of football. He also commended today’s players for the tenacity in their approach to leaving a legacy outside of football.

The panel agreed collectively their main reason for taking time away from all the Super Bowl work obligations and festivities was to provide the representation they did not see while carving out their career paths.

NBCU Academy will be virtually hosting the Next Level Summit on March 22, 2023.

Author’s Note: Alexis Davis is currently in her last semesters in Walter Cronkite’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She received her bachelor’s from North Carolina A&T State University in multimedia journalism in May 2022. Davis is a featured writer for the MEAC conference. Davis also switches between play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter for the PAC-12 conference’s app. She also hosts a podcast focusing on international basketball players and their fashion experiences called What’s in Your Bag?