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Super Bowl LII Ultimate Guide: New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons
Image: Tom Brady celebrates after New England's Super Bowl win last year

The climax to the American football season is much more than just a sports event.

It is a cultural juggernaut which mixes athleticism, politics, showbiz and obscene amounts of food and drink into an international event that often makes as many headlines for what happens when the players are off the field as when they step between the white lines.

Here's everything you need to know about Super Bowl LII...

When is the game?

Super Bowl LII

The 52nd annual instalment of the National Football League's championship game will be played on Sunday.

The New England Patriots (winners of the AFC) will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles (winners of the NFC), with kick-off at 11.30pm UK time.

Where will it be played?

Minnesota Vikings stadium
Image: U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis hosts this year's Super Bowl

Minneapolis' US Bank Stadium (capacity more than 66,000) will play host to a Super Bowl a little under two years after opening in 2016. Weather will not be a factor as the $1bn (£708m) stadium has a fixed-roof.

It already has a reputation as one of the loudest venues in the NFL, and you can expect it to be raucous come game time.

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Where can I watch it?

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Josh Norman says he's excited to be joining Sky Sports' Super Bowl coverage, though adds he'd rather be playing in the game

Ahead of the game, you can follow the build-up all week on the Sky Sports website, app and on Twitter through @SkySportsNFL.

On the night of the game, Sky's team will be live in Minnesota taking in the sights and sounds of the showpiece occasion. Presenter Neil Reynolds will be joined by regular guests Shaun Gayle and Jeff Reinebold, with coverage starting at 10pm on Sky Sports Action.

There will also be a very special guest - Washington Redskins star Josh Norman. The All-Pro cornerback featured for the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 and is regarded as one of the best in the game at his position.

You can also watch on the move via Sky Go - online, on iPhone, iPad or selected Android smartphones - or via NOW TV, with the Sky Sports Day Pass. The Sky Sports live blog will also be hosted on the Sky News website and app.

Who will play the half-time show?

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 1:  Singers Janet Jackson and surprise guest Justin Timberlake perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII between the Ne
Image: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's performance was one of the most controversial moments in Super Bowl history

Justin Timberlake will headline a Super Bowl half-time show for the first time in his career, but the choice has caused some disquiet given what happened 14 years ago.

During his previous Super Bowl appearance, Timberlake ripped off a piece of clothing from Janet Jackson's top and accidentally exposed her right breast for half a second (he was only meant to expose her bra).

Half-time highs
Half-time highs

Justin Timberlake is the half-time entertainment this year. But will he be better than our top five shows?

Timberlake recently said he had "made peace" with Jackson over the incident, which quickly became known as 'nipplegate', but many remain unhappy with how he handled the aftermath.

Critics also point out that while Jackson was blacklisted and vilified, Timberlake's career went from strength to strength.

Who will sing the national anthem?

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Pink performs onstage during the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif
Image: Pink will sing the national anthem before kick-off

Pink will sing the Star Spangled Banner before kick-off.

The TV cameras will probably be trained on each sideline to see if any players kneel during the anthem.

Although the number of players opting to make the gesture, which is to demonstrate against police brutality and racial inequality, has declined in recent months, some might choose to use the increased spotlight to make a point.

How much food and drink will be consumed?

Pizza, pizzagate, cheese
Image: During the Super Bowl 11 million slices of pizza will be consumed


According to previous estimates, Americans are expected to eat more than one billion chicken wings and 11 million slices of pizza, washing this gargantuan haul down with $1.2billion (£850m) worth of beer.

It costs HOW much for an ad?!

Matt Damon signs autographs for fans during on the red carpet  in Seoul
Image: Matt Damon is one star you could be likely to see during the Super Bowl half-time adverts

US broadcaster NBC is charging on average more than $5m (£3.5m) for a 30-second spot.

With a television audience of more than 100 million expected in the States alone, many companies use the exposure to sell their products and try and produce commercials that go viral.

We already know there will be a Stella Artois commercial featuring Matt Damon, Budweiser will once again try to tug at our heartstrings with another emotional spot, while supermodel Cindy Crawford will recreate her famous 1992 Pepsi ad.

What happened in last year's Super Bowl?

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Watch the moment the Patriots beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI

Quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots made history, erasing a record 25-point deficit to stun the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime.

Brady earned MVP honours, a fifth ring and was hailed as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) after a game considered by many as one of the best Super Bowls ever.

Enough preamble, tell me more about this year's game…

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Jeff Reinebold talks through his five key points in what will help determine the outcome of Super Bowl LII

It would be a bit insulting to the Eagles to portray this matchup as a David v Goliath contest, but Philadelphia enters the game with the longest odds of any Super Bowl team since 2009 in the eyes of Las Vegas bookmakers.

That suits them fine. The Eagles have revelled in their perception as underdogs, with many experts doubting their chances once star quarterback Carson Wentz went down injured last month.

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British-born running back Jay Ajayi is happy with Philadelphia Eagles' tag as underdogs for the Super Bowl

But the team rallied to finish with a 13-3 regular season record and the No 1 seed in the NFC.

The Atlanta Falcons were dispatched 15-10 in a tight Divisional Round game, before Wentz's backup Nick Foles played like a man possessed in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings, leading the Eagles to a 38-7 triumph.

A victory on Sunday would give The City of Brotherly Love its first Super Bowl at the third attempt.

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A look back to the top five touchdowns this season for the Eagles heading into Super Bowl LII

The Eagles' last Super Bowl was in 2005, also against the Patriots, with the latter triumphing 24-21.

By contrast, New England is attempting to win its sixth Super Bowl, something only one other team has done (the Pittsburgh Steelers).

The Patriots' 10 Super Bowl appearances is an NFL record, with a staggering eight of them coming under Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

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A look back to the top five touchdowns this season for the Patriots heading into Super Bowl LII

The perennial championship contenders overcame the Tennessee Titans (35-14) and Jacksonville Jaguars (24-20) in the play-offs after posting a 13-3 regular season record, with Brady leading yet another fourth quarter comeback in the AFC Championship Game versus the Jags.

But such consistent success has bred contempt, with opposing fans accusing the Pats of cheating (look up Spygate and Deflategate) and alleging the team consistently benefits from questionable refereeing calls.

Consequently, most neutrals will be rooting for an Eagles win, although probably preparing themselves for Brady to be grinning like a Cheshire Cat come full-time.

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Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings says you can never rule out 'Mr fourth quarter' Tom Brady

Who are the favourites?

Sky Bet odds (correct on Tuesday, 30th January):
New England: 1/2
Philadelphia: 13/8

You can check out all the other betting markets - including guessing what Pink's hair colour for the national anthem will be - here.

What do the winners get?

New England Patriots celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51 on February 5, 2017
Image: The Vince Lombardi Trophy is up for grabs in the Super Bowl

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is named in honour of the legendary Green Bay Packers coach and is made of sterling silver.

It stands 22in (56cm) tall, weighs seven pounds (3.2kg) and features a football in a kicking position on a three concave sided stand.

@SkySportsNFL are in Minnesota all week - follow us for live video and a flavour of the madness.

For 90 minutes of Super Bowl LII build-up from US Bank Stadium with Josh Norman, join us on Sky Sports Action and Mix from 10pm on Sunday.

Sky Sports Main Event joins us at 11pm and the action kicks off at 11.30pm (GMT), including the half-time show featuring Justin Timberlake.

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