The NFL has a long history of scripting a narrative of old and new.

In spring, they lay out the red carpet for the league’s new intake of players with the Draft, and three months later tell old tales of legends while welcoming the new class to the Hall of Fame.

They have a track record of trading old cities for pastures new when it comes to membership of this elite club. They desire new stadia with new opportunities but revel in old traditions underpinning their respect for the past.

So, where better for a new Super Bowl site than that old watering hole in the desert, Las Vegas. Half a mile northeast of the gleaming new Allegiant Stadium stands the famous old Tropicana Hotel, a monument to the days when the Mob and gambling built this sand pit into the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world.

The Tropicana sits on the southeast corner of the junction of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as the Strip. The other three corners are occupied by grander and more modern hotels in Excalibur, New York New York, and the mighty MGM Grand.

Just as the NFL has replaced tired old franchises with shiny new ones, one of this city’s monuments has passed its sell-by date and the Tropicana is being torn down soon to be replaced by a baseball stadium.

Just behind Excalibur is where the Super Bowl took its bow at the Raiders Allegiant Stadium, and after half a century of almost denying Las Vegas’s existence, we are left to wonder what all the fuss was about in the NFL not wanting to get into bed with Sin City.

Of course, in the 1960s and 70s the fear was the association between players and those from the underworld who may seek to influence them and their playing performance at a time that Vegas was one of the few places in this country where legalised betting existed.

With that fear extinguished (influential players are in a better financial position these days than bookies), the Las Vegas Raiders have been up and running for a couple of years and the league’s old attitude gave way to a new home for their showpiece event.

Within seconds of the game kicking off, the Kansas City Chiefs also gave way to Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers as the new Super Bowl quarterback upstaged Patrick Mahomes, the old hand at this occasion. For all their first-half dominance however, San Francisco had to be frustrated at nothing more than a 10-3 lead at the break.

Dean Martin Drive and Frank Sinatra Drive both run down the east side of this stadium, and in a nod from the new to the old, Usher and Alicia Keys turned on a half time show that would have matched the Rat Packer and Old Blue Eyes any day. However, I could also imagine Sinatra doing My Way in this setting. Would have taken the roof off the building.

Usher’s show had more flashing lights than every casino on the Strip combined but as it faded, the old master Mahomes and the new upstart Purdy came back out for 30 minutes to settle this week of debate and prediction.

San Francisco’s defence continued the routine of blowing up Mahomes’ offensive line and giving the QB precious little time to orchestrate his magic from behind the line of scrimmage.

For all their troubles, Mahomes and the Chiefs found a way to stay in the game, and then found a way to WIN the game. And so in the league’s never-ending battle between old and new, the old head found a way to conquer the new blood. Just. The new will be back. Brock Purdy showed too much in this game and in this season that he has put the doubters to bed.

But ultimately this was a night for the old. Old habits die hard, and for Mahomes and the Chiefs that habit is winning. Through a lot of adversity this season they have often found ways to win games they should have lost and this was the final such one. With Mahomes, winning the big one is becoming a tale as old as time.

2024-02-12T04:04:40Z dg43tfdfdgfd