Super Bowl LVIII, far more momentous than Super Bowl 58, kicks off at 6:30 PM on Sunday, February 11. I am looking forward to gathering with enough friends to make it feel like a party but not so many that I am unable to focus on the television. For me, that magic number is VIII. One friend I invited said she is eager to join even though she “knows nothing about sports.” I helpfully explained that two groups of eleven men in matching outfits will try to carry an egg-shaped ‘ball’ to opposite ends of a big field. I subsequently realized I didn’t know the technical term for the shape of a football – now, you and I both know it is a prolate spheroid. Catchy!
This year’s contest features the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers who, interestingly enough, faced each other in Super Bowl LIV back on Feb 2, 2020. One of the last fun things we all did together before hunkering down in our homes hiding from the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov2 was watch Patrick Mahomes lead the Chiefs to a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the 49ers. Among the estimated 130 million viewers who will tune in to watch the broadcast, an even greater percentage than normal will be non-avid football fans because of course the biggest plot point isn’t the game, it isn’t the Usher halftime performance, but rather the one who turned down this year’s halftime show but will most likely appear nonetheless: Travis Kelce’s uber-supportive girlfriend, Taylor Swift. I’ll get to that later.
Oddsmakers and bettors are eager to know which of these teams will be adding an enormous glittering Super Bowl Champion ring to their burgeoning collection of natural diamonds. I played football in high school so I’m something of an expert on the subject (I could have gone pro if I were much bigger, faster, stronger, and more athletic). And while I could share my opinions on whose offensive strengths are better suited to exploiting the other’s defensive weaknesses, I think there’s a better way to prognosticate. I say we look to see if the future is written in the stones – with a breakdown of each team’s jaw-dropping bling.
The true battle on the field is in the trenches, where the biggest men on the planet – who are also more quick and agile than you or I could ever dream of being – smash into each other to try and clear running lanes and protect their quarterbacks. Maybe you’ve never seen one of these guys out in the wild, but I have. They don’t seem possible. One guy who used to play for the Jets lifted weights in the offseason at the gym in my hometown. I know it’s rude to stare, but I didn’t know how not to gawk when this otherworldly titan was carrying around 45-pound plates with the same amount of effort I use to lift a ham sandwich. Whether or not the ball moves up and down the field depends almost entirely on the efforts of the big men. Let’s take a closer look at the iced-out superstars:
49ers Defensive Tackle Javon Hargrave keeps it simple with a platinum diamond encrusted Cuban link chain that I would not be able to wear without a back brace. I’m not sure he’s even aware it’s around his neck. Look for Javon to shed his cheery smile and put on his game face as he puts up a brick wall against the Chiefs’ running attack and hunts down the elusive Patrick Mahomes.
San Francisco’s Right Tackle Matt Pryor, pictured here unsure what to pick from the ice cream truck, is rocking a natural diamond encrusted AP pendant on a phat platinum diamond Cuban link chain. AP stands for After the game we’re getting Pasta. This much horsepower can’t run on empty.
How will Javon, Matt, and their un-bedazzled brothers fare against the much drippier big men of the Kansas City Chiefs? If the natural diamond jewelry is any indication, then not very well, because the Chiefs have…
Chiefs Guard Trey Smith, whose most impressive feat is finding a suit jacket he can fit his arms into, is pictured here rocking dueling natural diamond encrusted chains. Best of luck to the defenders who need to get through him to make a tackle!
Chiefs Tackle Lucas Niang, pictured here with his eyes on a brighter tomorrow, has opted to match the ice in his veins with ice on his neck and on his wrist. We have no choice but to stan a coordinated king. Speaking of coordination…
Can we have a moment for the matching of the coat to the luggage!? Chiefs Tackle Jawaan Taylor is a man who knows exactly who he is. But if he forgets, he can always just look down at the diamond-laden JT pendant clinging to his iced-out chain.
Donovan Smith looks like a guy who will knock you flat on your ass and then help you up after the whistle blows. And he carries his diamond carats with ease and grace.
Why do I feel like Wanya Morris needs to drop a soulful R&B album immediately? Could it be because he shares a name with one of the Boyz II Men? I love watching him play but I am eager to see what his post football career holds in store. For now, he’s holding a jewelry store’s entire stock of ice in his earlobes and around his neck.
In his own words, Mike Pennel “isn’t supposed to be here.” As a young child he defeated a rare form of kidney cancer with the help of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. I think he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. His diamond necklace comprised of cross-like links in the shape of the Ankh symbol serves as a testament to the faith and supportive women who got him through that difficult period and helped him become the giant, joyful man he is today.
Chiefs Defensive Tackle “Real Spill” Neil Farrell reps what’s most important to him on an enormous diamond pendant. I think the music we connect most deeply with is the music that we feel communicates something we ourselves would like to say. ‘Real Spill’ is a song by Lil Baby about overcoming adversity and a fraught environment to become a good, successful, upstanding man. And 251 is the area code for Mobile, Alabama where Neil grew up.
The Chiefs already have a commanding 6-2 lead in the bling department, and that’s just among the least flashy guys on the field. What about the guys who run and catch the ball and those whose job it is to prevent them from doing so?
The 49ers’ star running back Christian McCaffrey, one of the contenders for this year’s Offensive Player of the Year award is hoping to kickstart his collection with a Super Bowl ring. BUT! I do have a picture of him with a star.
Here, he is promoting Lowe’s home improvement store with none other than my very good friend Nick Cafero, a very talented and hardworking actor in Los Angeles who will soon be a household name. You heard it here first! But yes, Christian is extremely good at football and is hoping to win a Super Bowl along with head coach Kyle Shanahan – a feat that Christian’s and Kyle’s respective fathers Ed McCaffrey and Mike Shanahan accomplished back in 1999 with the Denver Broncos!
49ers Linebacker Dee Winters, AKA “DWINTS,” who favors a diamond stud earring, will be instrumental in San Francisco’s effort to shut down Kansas City’s irritatingly persistent running attack while also trying to keep an eye on the shifty Patrick Mahomes.
Fred Warner joins Dee Winter’s behind the 49ers’ defensive line and is rocking diamond tennis necklace. I wish I could pull off a tennis necklace as well as Fred does.
Niners’ Defensive Back Charvarius Ward has one of the most difficult jobs on the field – running backward, mirroring the wide receivers, and trying to prevent them from catching laser accurate passes from Patrick Mahomes, who buys himself twice as much time to throw as the average NFL quarterback. His job is complicated enough so Charvarius keeps it relatively simple on the jewelry front, with a fat platinum diamond chain and a diamond earring stud.
Jason Verrett’s torn rotator cuff may, sadly, keep him off the field for next weekend’s big game, but it doesn’t prevent him from showing up in a big way for his team – with multiple chains, a big diamond pendant, three icy rings, and a glittering watch. Big ups, my guy. I know firsthand how crushing sports injuries can be (I once had a tummy ache).
If the diamond count is to be trusted, then the 49ers defensive backfield will have a tough time containing the Chiefs’ offensive firepower.
Isiah Pacheco, pictured here breaking free from his pedestal at the Louvre, is the hard running star ball carrier for the Chiefs. No poputs no glory? What does that mean? Oh, sorry, I misread – your enormous diamond “POP” pendant got in the way. They call him “Pop” because of the sound he made during a collision in a youth football game back in the day. I really hope whoever he hit is doing okay.
And what a capture by Mr. Gray. He’s got other bling but look at how the icy MVS is all that shines out of his backlit profile. I also have a special place in my heart for my hyphenated last name brothers. Look for Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to make a clutch, seemingly impossible catch late in Sunday’s game.
“Really Rare” – is that a technical diamond classification, like VVS? It certainly describes the level of talent our alliterative wide receiver possesses, and the design of the chain on which his pendant hangs.
Here we go. I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Last year, star receiver Mecole Hardman was traded to the New York Jets. As a testament to his commitment to the move, Mecole had a custom diamond pendant made of a jet with an actual retractable cockpit shield with a small figurine of himself sitting in the pilot’s seat. Well, things didn’t work out with the Jets, and they traded him back to the Chiefs. And now he’s going to the Super Bowl, and he’s still got the jet. You see when you buy something personal and valuable, its meaning can evolve along with you.
Chiefs Wide Receiver Justyn Ross, pictured here scowling at his classmate who’s whispering noisily while the teacher is going through the study guide, wears a diamond encrusted LLD pendant on a platinum chain. I don’t know exactly what the letters stand for, but I do know that they are an homage to a very close friend of Justyn’s who tragically died. He’s not had the easiest road, but he is resilient and dedicated.
Chiefs Defensive Back L’Jarius Sneed wears number 38. How did I know that even though he isn’t wearing his jersey in this picture? The digits are conveniently located on a gigantic diamond pendant around his neck, framed eloquently by a seafoam-themed outfit.
And then, there’s Patrick Mahomes, whom you may have noticed I mentioned a couple of times.
Patrick Mahomes is once again the frontrunner for the MVP race, already overwhelmingly recognized as such by an anonymous poll of the NFL Players Association. Mahomes has that Tom Brady-like quality where it doesn’t seem to matter what’s happened during the game – you just feel in your bones like he’s going to find a way to win. And he wears the diamonds and the grin of a man who knows that. Mahomes’ counterpart on the 49ers, quarterback Brock Purdy, is diamondless.
And, if the precious stone count is to be believed (I didn’t even bother to keep count after the linemen, it’s just so one-sided), Brock will remain that way after the Super Bowl ring presentation ceremony. BUT! That’s just my forecast. Perhaps there is something to be gleaned from the diamond jewelry: the Chiefs won the Super Bowl last year, an accomplishment for which each player is awarded a bonus of $157,000. It appears many of them opted to park that extra money in diamond jewelry. The 49ers may have less bling, but maybe that means they’ll be hungrier for victory. But there’s a lot of pressure – maybe the Chiefs’ extra swagger will help them tread a bit more naturally in front of an audience of hundreds of millions. I guess there is a reason they still play the game.
Well, a couple of them:
Usher will be playing the halftime show. I don’t think of myself as a devout Usher fan, but then again, I do have many sweaty, hormonal memories from high school dances that heavily featured his discography. These are PG-13 memories, those were chaperoned and breathalyzed events. But Usher won’t be the only Grammy award-winning musician in attendance – if she can make it out of Japan in time, Taylor Swift will be there to cheer on her boyfriend, Chiefs’ Tight End Travis Kelce.
Travis may be modestly bejeweled, but maybe he will follow in my footsteps. You see, I started playing youth football in eighth grade. I really liked a girl in my class, and I was pretty sure she liked me too. I promised myself that if we won the Super Bowl, I’d ask her out. Well, we did, and I did, and she said yes, and that was my first ever real girlfriend. So maybe Travis will be smuggling in a diamond ring of his own to put on Taylor’s finger.
Okay, I doubt it – but I do have what I hope is a refreshingly non-cynical opinion of their relationship. You may have heard some rumblings among more conspiratorially minded folk that this Travis & Taylor thing is a dramatically unfolding ploy by nefarious government forces intent on using them as pawns to sway the electorate. If you haven’t heard of this, then I envy whatever you’re doing with all the time you’re not spending reading nonsense on the internet. But to those people I say, look at this!
Come on, I’ve seen Travis Kelce’s many commercials. He is not a good enough actor to pull off a head over heels in love smooch like this. I love Travis and Taylor and I wish the best for them. They represent such a coming together of seismic forces in America: football fans and Swifties, a Venn diagram of which is two completely separate circles. And I am supremely confident that their love happened the way all the best things do: naturally.