Your big queer guide to the 2023 Super Bowl

A sports gay? A Rihanna stan? Just there for the tacos? Whoever you are, we’ve got you covered

Sports gays, our time is here! The 2023 Super Bowl is on the horizon!

While many queer and trans folks don’t actively engage with the behemoth that is the NFL (and, let’s be real, justifiably so), this week is a big deal for us persistent and somewhat reluctant sports gays. From my childhood where my mom dressed me up in a tiny Philadelphia Eagles jersey for Halloween to now, it really feels like my life’s come full circle. I was born to write a piece about being gay and watching the Super Bowl. And here it is!

As a lifelong Eagles fan, this year in particular is a big deal for me. My beloved ragtag group of very large, strong and fast men are going to tee off against another group of large, strong and fast men (the Kansas City Chiefs) to see who can score many points. There’s going to be commercials. There’s going to be piles of food. There’s going to be Rihanna! Whatever you’re invested in, there’s something for you on Super Bowl Sunday. 

Whether you’re a sports gay like me, prepared to cry in front of a bunch of friends who care way less than you, or you’re the one who doesn’t care and is just there for the food and commercials, allow this to be your big gay 2023 Super Bowl guide. 

The skinny: aka the info you need to know to keep up at your party 

What time is the Super Bowl? 

6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona 

Where can I watch the Super Bowl?

In the U.S., the Super Bowl will air on Fox. In Canada, you can catch it on CTV and streaming on DAZN.

Who is playing in the Super Bowl?

The Philadelphia Eagles will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. The game is also the very first meeting of two Black quarterbacks in the big game as well as the first time two brothers will face off on opposing teams (Jason and Travis Kelce). And, both teams have been coached by veteran head coach Andy Reid, who currently leads the Chiefs, and led the Eagles from 1999 to 2012. 

This year, the Eagles came roaring out the gate and were the last undefeated team in the league. They’ve leaned heavily on a balanced attack featuring star quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Chiefs, meanwhile, also had a star quarterback in likely league MVP Patrick Mahomes. It’s shaping up to be a close game, with the Eagles slightly favoured. 

Is the gay player in the Super Bowl?

Even queers tangentially attached to football probably know about Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers did make the playoffs this year, but lost in the first round to the Dallas Cowboys (who later lost to the San Francisco 49ers, who then lost to the Eagles). 

 

So, there are no openly gay players competing on Sunday. 

What famous gays can I see in the commercials? 

Let’s be real, some of us are just here for the commercials. And that’s okay! If capitalism is your thing, go off, honey. 

Admittedly, the list so far of celebrities in Super Bowl commercials is light on the gay, but Elton John is expected to grace your screen in a Doritos ad. If you, like me, love to follow the celeb straights, JLo and Ben Affleck will appear in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial. And we can all agree that the likes of Missy Elliott, Serena Williams and Maya Rudolph—all slated to appear in ads—are fun to see. 

But if you’re in Canada, watching on mainstream channels (I see you VPN girlies), unfortunately, you’ll miss out on most of the big commercials due to regulations introduced in recent years. So be prepared to be bombarded with in-house ads for CTV programs like Children Ruin Everything and Transplant repeated ad infinitum. Dear U.S. readers: you don’t know how painful this is.

Forget football. Forget ads. What I really care about is the halftime show …

In that regard, the queers are going to feast, because Rihanna is coming out of her extended hiatus to do the Super Bowl halftime show in her first performance since 2018. Seriously, half of the people attending my Super Bowl party are attending to watch a Rihanna concert, with football taking place around it.

Beginning around 8 p.m. ET, expect 13 minutes of RiRi’s greatest hits, and maybe even some new music. With all of the buildup, it’s sure to be a spectacular show, and provide some hints to hard-core fans about what her long-anticipated ninth album could hold. A pile of dancehall hits could suggest something groovy is on the way, while power ballads might strike a completely different tone. 

Also of interest is the potential for a political statement from Rihanna. In the past, the artist turned down the Super Bowl in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s criticism of the NFL and racism. She’s playing this year as part of a multi-year deal headed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, which struck a deal with the NFL to influence some of the league’s social justice initiatives and has featured four headliners of colour since the deal came into place. 

All to say, Rihanna’s got plenty to say, so don’t be surprised if there’s some spice. 

What sort of bad jokes can I make while watching?

Finally, if none of the above interests you, and straight-up innuendo and bad jokes are your thing, football has got you covered. For a sport full of tight little pants, butt-slapping, running through the gap and gripping balls, there’s plenty of fodder for chuckling while your more sports-minded compatriots are taking things seriously.

Allow me to quote a truly iconic 1993 column from Xtra executive editor Gordon Bowness to get your creative juices flowing:

“The terminology is ridiculous. The predictable offence penetrates deep into enemy territory with ball control, splits the defences, finds the hole, punches it through and shoves it in their ass; all while the cock-tease defence fills the gap, pops the backs, stuffs the kicker, intercepts passes, drives them back and forces a turnover. Hail Mary!” 

So, yeah, it’s totally valid for you to annoy your party by giggling “they said ‘shove it in the gap.’”

Senior editor Mel Woods is an English-speaking Vancouver-based writer and audio producer and a former associate editor with HuffPost Canada. A proud prairie queer and ranch dressing expert, their work has also appeared in Vice, Slate, the Tyee, the CBC, the Globe and Mail and the Walrus.

Read More About:
Culture, TV & Film, Explainer/FAQ, Sports

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