Super Bowl Bowl LV this past Sunday was billed as a uniquely special game pitting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady, the winningest quarterback in postseason history, versus the NFL’s new young prodigy, the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-year-old quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs were the defending champions and Mahomes the MVP of last year’s Super Bowl.
Despite Brady’s six Super Bowl wins in nine appearances, the general opinion of those that closely follow the NFL was that Mahomes and the Chiefs would become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Brady’s New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005. But the elder got the better of the youngster. The NFC’s Buccaneers were better in every facet of the game and shockingly dominated the AFC’s Chiefs 31-9 to win the franchise’s second Super Bowl.
The Buccaneers, who went through a gauntlet in winning three straight playoff road games to reach the Super Bowl, which was played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, also are the first team to ever host the game. However, the home field advantage wasn’t the deciding factor. The Buccaneers took control early in the first quarter and by halftime had a surprising 21-6 lead.
Despite Chiefs fans holding out hope Mahomes would lead his team to a come-from-behind victory as he did the year before, when they trailed the San Francisco 49ers by 20-10 at the start of the third quarter before outscoring them 21-0 in the fourth in a 31-20 win, it was evident as the final quarter wore on that the Chiefs, who were held to only three goals by the Bucs defense, wouldn’t repeat.
While Brady wasn’t spectacular by any measure, he was efficient, throwing three touchdowns in the first half, two to his former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski, and one to former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who Brady sold on joining him in Tampa after Brown’s off-the-field struggles and contentious relationship with the Steelers placed his career in limbo.
Brady finished the night going 21-29 for only 201 yards, but his mistake-free play helped earn him a record seventh Super Bowl win and his fifth Super Bowl MVP, also the most ever in NFL history. As for Mahomes, the day was a disaster. He was pursued and hit relentlessly by Tampa’s front line, which includes former New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and veteran tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Buccaneers sacked Mahomes three times, had him running backwards and sideways all evening, and forced the enormously talented QB into throwing two interceptions. Mahomes’ stat line was an uncharacteristic 26-49 for 270 yards and no touchdowns.
“I didn’t play the way I wanted to play,” said Mahomes. “All you can do is leave everything you have on the field, and I feel like the guys did that.” The Chiefs had many self-inflicted wounds. They dropped several passes that would have been first downs and were penalized 11 times for 110 yards.
“They were the better team today,” said Mahomes. “They beat us pretty good, the worst that I think I have been beaten in a long time.” Mahomes, who played with a torn plantar plate, commonly known as turf toe, didn’t use his injury as an excuse. But the Chiefs did come into the game with a cloud hanging over them as Brit Reid, their outside linebackers coach and the son of head coach Andy Reid, was involved in a car accident on Thursday night in Kansas City not far from the team’s facilities that seriously injured two children. One, a five-year-girl, is suffering life-threatening injuries and reportedly is in a coma.
“My heart goes out to all those who were involved in the accident,” said Andy Reid, “in particular the family with the little girl who’s fighting for her life.” Reid acknowledged that he couldn’t discuss the accident or answer questions pertaining to it because of legal ramifications.