A Reflection on Super Bowl LV

Brady and the Bucs win Big Against the Chiefs

Micah Partee, Sports Editor

After an offseason shaped by the coronavirus pandemic; an NFL season seemed improbable–much less still having a Super Bowl. There was no preseason, a unique virtual draft, and a lot of game changing free agency acquisitions.

The most notable acquisition being future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady who ultimately decided to take his talents to Tampa Bay and leave the New England Patriots after eighteen years and six previous Super Bowl victories.

The story for the Kansas City Chiefs was a lot less exciting. They only lost a couple players by way of opting out and gained a solid running back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd pick.

In addition; the Chiefs had a lot more close encounters during the regular season, but still ended up with a record of 14-2 after losing to both division rivals in the LA Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders. The path back to the Super Bowl was still very simple with former MVP and star in Patrick Mahomes alongside his speedy wideout Tyreek “Cheetah” Hill.

The Tampa Bay Bucs lucked out after being considered to be one of the worst franchises by most football fans in the entire NFL; proven by the fact that they have not achieved a single postseason spot in seventeen years. They not only got the fourteen time Pro Bowl QB in Brady, but they got his long-time partner in crime Rob Gronkowski to come out of a brief retirement to join the squad.

This pairing, along with two of the best receivers in football Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (who both had over 1,000 receiving yards with Jameis Winston at the quarterback helm for the Bucs), was all the Buccaneers needed to go from the bottom of the league to timeless prestige.

Two vastly different stories that led both teams to Super Bowl LV in Tampa.

Both defenses proved strong from the start, but this trend only continued for the Bucs as Brady and Gronkowski stuck to their usual dominant plan, which actually resulted in the two breaking the all-time post season touchdown record for any duo.

It was quite the opposite for Kansas City’s duo, as Mahomes and Hill struggled heavily to gain any sort of momentum for their team. This could be attributed to two key starters on the Chiefs line not playing during the biggest game of the year, and also a poor game plan on Offensive Coordinator Eric Bienemy and Head Coach Andy Reid’s part. When playing the number one rated run defense in the league, it probably might have been smart to get something going in the air.

Nevertheless, Brady capitalized off of the young Kansas City squads’ mistakes, as he often does on the big stage, and finished with 201 passing yards and three touchdowns while going 21-29 in the passing department. Brady won his seventh Super Bowl ring, which is more than any individual team in the NFL.

Mahomes got a rare and unfortunate loss in his second Super Bowl appearance largely in part to the defensive genius of Todd Bowles and the Bucs who held him to no touchdowns and a QBR of 49.9. His worst QBR of the season. This was pretty impressive coming from a defense who was rated in the lower middle of the pack in passing defense.

Bowles had two safeties sit far back to prevent the deep crossers and methodical routes Mahomes and his Chiefs were usually very successful with. A huge risk that in the end played a huge part in the Buccaneers’ second Super Bowl win in franchise history.

Even the never seen before passing theatrics Mahomes whipped out throughout the game were no match as his receivers could not catch the ball at all. Even Travis Kelce, who many analysts consider to be the absolute best tight end in the league, struggled on the catches that mattered–even with his 133 yards.

As expected, the Buccaneers’ powerful run defense held the Chiefs to 107 yards on the ground, which does not immediately sound bad, until you notice Mahomes took up 33 of those and the majority of the rest being gained towards the final moments of the game. These were run attempts Mahomes had to make due to him being brought down three times by this explosive Bucs defense.

Has the luck of Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs finally run out? After all, the AFC West has been a pretty easy conference to dominate the last couple of years. Well, this will not be the case anymore as it seems the lottery picks are beginning to blossom for the Chargers, Raiders, and even Broncos. Can the Chiefs truly handle a good conference, or has their luck ran out?

All we can do for the duration of the offseason is speculate such questions. But one thing we know for sure: even with not a single buccaneer running back achieving the 100 yard milestone in the Super Bowl; the Buccaneers came away with the 31-9 win over the defending Kansas City Chiefs in a game that many have claimed cemented Brady’s place as the best quarterback in NFL history.