The beginning of February is rounding the corner once again, and for most football-loving Americans, it signals one very important day: The Super Bowl. The culminating game of the National Football League playoffs will feature the young and fiery Kansas City Chiefs facing off against the barbarous Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not seen the Super Bowl championship in 18 years. This drought has been brought to a halt by none other than recent offseason acquisition Tom Brady, who is no stranger to the extremely high stakes of the world championship.
Brady has competed in the Super Bowl nine times, winning six of them. His most recent victory came only two years ago in 2019 with the New England Patriots. Fans are left to wonder whether or not he will reach his lucky number seven.
However, in Kansas City this next week will be business as usual for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his teammates, who are still riding high along the victory of last year’s Super Bowl win. Although Mahomes was slow to get up two weeks ago due to a bone rattling hit, he has been cleared of any possible concussion and is able to lead the charge just like last year.
Super Bowl history will be made this year, with two new elements in play. According to an article by SportingNews.com, this is the first time in Super Bowl history where a team will be playing in their home stadium. Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., where the Buccaneers play, will be hosting Super Bowl LV.
This means that the Buccaneers will be playing in front of a home crowd, which does not bode well for the Chiefs, who thrive under their loud yet passionate fans at Arrowhead Stadium.
The other twist is that this season, the COVID-19 pandemic is in full force, which means that the stadium will hold significantly less fans than their pre-COVID capacity permitted. Just last year, not many people knew about the potential threats of the virus because last year’s game was jam-packed with football lovers from all over.
However, the game itself should still be incredibly intriguing, with both teams playing some of their best football throughout the playoffs. If I had to predict the outcome of the game, I would estimate that the Buccaneers will pull it off, but narrowly.
Like I mentioned, Patrick Mahomes recently took a large blow to his head, knocking him unconscious for a brief period and causing him to exit the game early; however, only a week later, we saw him back to his normal heroics against the Buffalo Bills, throwing underhand passes and playing like his regular self.
Mahomes, although the undeniable leader of his team, hasn’t done it alone. When you add up head coach Andy Reid’s skillful play calling with the sheer prowess of Mahomes’ receivers like Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill, it becomes clear that this Chiefs team is one of the best we have seen, and they will not go down without a fight.
According to the Football Database, the Chiefs have boasted an impressive 14-2 record this season. They were undoubtedly one of the best teams of the regular season.
On the other hand, the 11-5 Buccaneers have just looked too good lately, making me think that they can’t really be stopped now. Chris Godwin, who posted an impressive 110 yards last week, has been red-hot, notably pulling out a game saving rush to lead his team past the Green Bay Packers. It is no secret that he can easily recreate this expertise in the game that matters most.
Before the season started, I predicted that the Buccaneers could, in fact, take the Super Bowl this year. Personally, I think that the two teams participating in the big game are the two that seem most fit for it; there are star-studded quarterbacks, dominant running backs and sneaky receivers, all built around a solid offensive and defensive core.
Both teams, from the start of the 2020-2021 season, have proven that they are league powerhouses, even if it took the Buccaneers a few years to figure how to become one. And I believe that this newly reformed Buccaneers team is here to stay.
Even though Tom Brady is nearing retirement, I think that this team will continue to be dominant for a few years. With a little draft luck and maybe some trades, the Tampa front office could find themselves a worthy candidate to fill the hole that Brady leaves.
I do believe that this game will overall be very close. Only one team can secure the Lombardi trophy, though, and all signs point to the Buccaneers showing out for the new “title town” of Tampa Bay.
Through a toilsome season plagued with an infectious virus, multiple canceled games and countless positive tests, it is a true breath of fresh air that the Super Bowl can continue like normal. An electric halftime performance by The Weeknd combined with some quality football is just what this country needs in a dark time like this, even if it is just for the weekend.