Micah Richards admits he’s just here for the Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift love story ahead of the Super Bowl showdown between Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
Las Vegas is host to America’s greatest show on Sunday night – with Navada’s very own ‘Death Star’, the Allegiant Stadium, the setting for the star-studded affair.
It’s a huge night for both teams, but also for neutral fans with this expected to be the most-watched Super Bowl game in years, and it’s mostly down to one person.
And no, it’s not half-time show performer Usher, it’s another pop superstar – Taylor Swift.
The ‘Blank Space’ hit-maker’s relationship with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has seen NFL viewership figures explode this season, with records broken for female spectators.
It’s seen the Chiefs earn a raft of new supporters from around the world and a fresh injection of interest ahead of Sunday’s big game, while also boosting their brand value by a huge $330m.
It helps that they also have one of the elite quarterbacks in the sport leading their attack, in two-time Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes.
The 49ers have some stars of their own in running back Christian McCaffrey, who has scored the most touchdowns this season, while quarterback Brock Purdy is one of NFL’s biggest success stories having gone from being the final pick of the 2022 draft to leading his side to a shot of glory.
But former Premier League star Richards is joining the majority of newcomers to the sport and backing the Chiefs – for one reason only…
He told talkSPORT ahead of the Super Bowl: “I’m here for the showbiz!
“I think it’s written, the whole Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift thing, Patrick Mahomes – we’re not far from Hollywood and it’s going to be a Hollywood ending!”
Thierry Henry is also backing the Chiefs for glory, but for different reasons.
talkSPORT NFL host Will Gavin is firmly in the 49ers camp, and not just because he’s a San Francisco fan, insisting they have the better all-round strength in their team.
But Henry insists star-quality can be the difference in a final and Mahomes will be out to prove he’s one of the greatest modern quarterbacks, saying his 2020 Super Bowl defeat to Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be in the back of his mind.
And the great Frenchman speaks from experience, having lost the 2006 Champions League final with Arsenal before going on to lift the European Cup three years later in a Barcelona shirt – likely fuelled by his previous disappointment.
“I understand when you’re coming from with it [backing the 49ers] – it’s the underdog story,” Henry told talkSPORT from Super Bowl’s Radio Row.
“But with the Chiefs having Mahomes, it’s difficult to bet against the guy. He is just something else.
“Having lost the final against Brady, I know that’s something that must be annoying him.
“So the only way he can go and surpass Brady is having rings, and greatness is about having rings.
“I’m sure in his head he’s thinking about the loss against the Buccaneers and the only way to grab the big man is to win more and more and more, and do it well.
“We know how great he is, so I will go with Mahomes.”
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