Note for Teachers: Join our Feb. 6 free webinar on teaching with New York Times-inspired writing prompts. Sign up here.
Are you a football fan? Will you be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday?
If you are a fan, who do you think will win? Why?
In “Super Bowl LIII Will Have a Young Coach, an Old Coach and a Lot of Things in Between,” Victor Mather writes about the story lines for Sunday’s game. Here are some of them:
Not every Super Bowl is super, and we’ll find out if this year’s edition fits the tag on Feb. 3. But we do know some of what is in store.
One of those things is (no surprise) the New England Patriots, who will be appearing in their third consecutive Super Bowl and fourth in five years. The Rams will be the first team to represent Los Angeles in the game since 1984.
Those are not the only records and oddities about Super Bowl LIII.
Game of Ages
Sean McVay, who took over the Rams last season after a meteoric rise as an N.F.L. assistant, turns 33 this week, which will make him the youngest head coach in Super Bowl history. He breaks the record held by Mike Tomlin, who was 36 when his Pittsburgh Steelers won the big game in 2009.
At 66, Bill Belichick will not be the oldest Super Bowl coach, as Marv Levy went to the game with the Bills at age 67 and 68. But Belichick could become the oldest winner, breaking the record held by Tom Coughlin, who was 65 when the Giants beat the Patriots in 2012.
Game of Ages II
Tom Brady is 41 and will become the oldest Super Bowl starting quarterback. He breaks the record set by, well, Tom Brady last year.
At 24, Jared Goff is not the youngest Super Bowl starter, but he’s not far off. Dan Marino was the youngest, at 23 years 127 days, and Ben Roethlisberger was just behind him at 23 years 340 days.
By the Number
The Roman numerals have reached LIII, or 53. You could also call it Super Bowl 110101 if you prefer binary numbers or Super Bowl 35 if hexadecimal is more your thing.
It’s the first prime-number Super Bowl since XLVII (Ravens over 49ers, 34-31.)
Among the athletes who have worn No. 53: Don Drysdale, Harry Carson, Artis Gilmore and Darryl Dawkins.
Pop band Maroon 5 and rappers Big Boi and Travis Scott will perform the halftime show. Up with People, which headlined the show four times, is still awaiting its first appearance since 1986.
Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem, a year after Pink did the honors. Knight will join an odd mix of stars to carry out the duties, a list that includes Lady Gaga (2016), Billy Joel (1989 and 2007), Cher (1999), Kathie Lee Gifford (1995) and Al Hirt (1970).
Gamblers are saying the anthem performance will last 1 minute 50 seconds. You can bet on it. Or on whether a player will kneel (5-1 against). Or if a fan runs on the field (15-1). Or the color of Adam Levine of Maroon 5’s shirt (Black is the favorite) or whether a Coke or Pepsi commercial will appear first, or — well, you get the idea.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
— Are you planning to watch Super Bowl LIII? If so, what are you most looking forward to — the game, the commercials, the parties or the halftime show? If not, why not?
— If you’re a football fan, what do you think of the matchup of the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots? Who are you rooting for? Who do you think will win? What do you think will be the final score? Which players do you think will stand out and why?
— Of the narratives outlined in the article, which story line is most compelling to you and why?
— What do you think about the choice for this season’s Super Bowl halftime performers? If you could see anyone perform at the Super Bowl, whom would you want to see, and why?