At the very least, two lessons were learned from watching Super Bowl LV: Tom Brady is without a doubt the greatest player in National Football League history and the Kansas City Chiefs still have a ways to go to become the dynasty that they think they are. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers handily defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 31-9 and, to be honest, there wasn’t a moment where these teams seemed evenly matched. Brady and the Bucs’ offense were forced to punt just three times throughout the game, while their stellar defense, led by 12 tackles from Devin White, left Patrick Mahomes searching for answers. Brady would come away with his fifth Super Bowl Most Valuable Player nod in the process of earning his seventh Super Bowl ring.
The new narrative goes that wherever Tom Brady is, wins will be sure to follow. While this may be true, he couldn’t have done it without help from new additions to the Buccaneers this season. In fact, every touchdown scored by Tampa Bay was by a recently acquired member of the team. The first two touchdowns were a product of a duo that football has seen for years in New England. Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski in the first quarter for an 8-yard touchdown, only to hit Gronk again in the second for a 17-yard touchdown. Gronk proved to be a big factor in the win, with 67 yards in addition to his two touchdowns. Former Pittsburgh Steelers star and recent addition to the Bucs in week nine, Antonio Brown, also got into the action by catching Brady’s third touchdown pass for one yard. Outside of Brady, the major game changer for the Bucs offense was another new acquisition in Leonard Fournette. Fournette had a few impressive runs in the game where it seemed he couldn’t be tackled, contributing to his 89-yard game with one touchdown.
The Chiefs on the other hand, were completely overmatched in every way. Mahomes was constantly swarmed on just about every play, forcing him outside of the pocket and into tough throwing situations. This can most likely be attributed to all-pro left tackle Eric Fisher being injured and out of the game, leaving a major hole in the Chiefs’ offensive line. The pressure forced by the Tampa Bay defense led to Mahomes’ worst game as an NFL quarterback with a dismal 53 percent completion percentage and two interceptions. The only major contributor on the Kansas City offense was Travis Kelce, who finished with 133 yards on 10 catches. Regardless, the Chiefs were held without a touchdown for the entire game, their nine points coming from Harrison Butker field goals.
The highlight of the game for me was Antoine Winfield Jr.’s taunt towards Tyreek Hill. The story goes back to week 12 of the NFL season when these two teams first met this season. Hill threw up his signature peace sign after catching a touchdown pass while being guarded by Winfield in that game. Now, in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl and the Tampa Bay defense having completed their task, Mahomes looked to find Hill close to the endzone for what would be a meaningless touchdown in a game that was already over. Winfield batted the ball away and immediately held a peace sign up to Hill. Not only did Winfield use Hill’s signature celebration, but he held it up to Hill’s helmet to make sure he saw it. It is one of those classic images that will pop into my head when thinking about this Super Bowl. It was such an incredible move of disrespect that was well worth the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty the Buccaneers received as a result.
While it had its moments, Super Bowl LV was kind of a let down for me. It was cool to see Brady come away with his seventh ring, more than any NFL franchise, but I wish it had been a closer game. It was a show-stopping defensive performance by Tampa Bay, who were relentless throughout. I have no doubt that Mahomes and the Chiefs will be Super Bowl champions again soon, but Brady remains on top for now.