The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, on Sunday to win their second title in their franchise’s history.
The big headline before the game was the tantalizing matchup between the experienced Tom Brady, playing in his tenth career Super Bowl, and Patrick Mahomes who many assume to be the future face of the NFL for years to come.
Many expected this game to be a high-scoring affair, with the Buccaneers averaging 30.8 points per game in the regular season, with the Chiefs not far behind averaging 29.6 points per game.
However, the game ended up fairly one-sided, to the disappointment of some fans.
Tampa Bay won the game 31-9 after leading 21-6 at halftime.
This Super Bowl didn’t have many momentum-changing plays, and the Buccaneers were in control from the beginning.
The Chiefs receivers dropped some key passes and the team’s offense was stopped on almost every third down, forcing themselves to punt, resulting in an inability to build a rhythm.
The defense of the Chiefs played well in the first half, stopping the Bucaneers on a fourth-and-goal but their mistakes, resulting in penalties, made the difference.
In the second quarter with the Buccaneers leading 7-3, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Tom Brady, but an off-ball penalty resulted in the Buccaneers keeping possession.
Later that same drive, the Buccaneers kicked a field goal on fourth down, but the Chiefs lined up offsides, giving the Buccaneers a first down.
The next play was a Tom Brady touchdown pass.
The errors on the defensive side and the lack of rhythm on the offensive side forced the Chiefs into a hole that Tom Brady ensured they wouldn’t get out of.
Some blame the referees for favoring Tom Brady and the Buccaneers and say they decided the game.
While there were some questionable calls like the pass interference in the end zone on Tyrann Mathieu that helped set up the Buccaneers at the 1-yard line, the referees did not decide the game at all.
Patrick Mahomes was the most pressured quarterback in Super Bowl history, with pressures on 29 of his 56 dropbacks, more than 52%. He also ran 497 yards across the field throughout the whole game to avoid getting sacked.
Brady on the other hand faced the fewest amount of pressures he’s faced in any of his Super Bowls before.
Mahomes’ constant duress the whole game forced him to make uncomfortable throws. On top of that, four Chiefs starting offensive lineman missed the game, opted out at the beginning of the season, and three were injured.
With being under pressure most of the game, missing key linemen, and having an injured toe that is rumored to need surgery this offseason, the odds were stacked against Mahomes and the Chiefs.
That is not meant to take anything away from Tom Brady, who won his seventh championship ring and now has more Super Bowls than any team in NFL history. Brady’s dedication to the game and to his body shows, winning this at age 43 and winning his fourth Super Bowl since turning 37.
It’s safe to say Brady’s the greatest quarterback and possibly the greatest player in NFL history, and if nothing else, Brady is definitely the most accomplished.
In terms of next season, many questions need to be answered before any real predictions are made.
The AFC is starting to become crowded, but if the Chiefs stay healthy and make some upgrades on defense, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be playing next February.
With Drew Brees’ retirement expected soon, the NFC South might become a lock for the Buccaneers and they should be the favorites to go back to the Super Bowl as long as Tom Brady doesn’t show major signs of regression.