Tom Brady wins his seventh title as the Buccaneers dominate the Chiefs
Following an entertaining Conference Championship weekend, the National Football League (NFL) couldn’t have asked for a better Super Bowl matchup outcome on Feb. 7, as defending champions Kansas City Chiefs faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What was a highly touted competitive matchup on paper ended up being a one-sided affair, as the Buccaneers won the franchise’s second Super Bowl title in a seemingly effortless 31-9 victory over the favoured Chiefs.
Tampa Bay’s quarterback Tom Brady threw for 209 yards and three touchdowns in an MVP performance that will be immortalized alongside his countless other career accolades. In winning his seventh Super Bowl, the superstar further cemented himself as the most accomplished player to ever grace the sport.
Brady’s seventh ring gives him more titles than any NFL franchise. His previous six were with the New England Patriots, who remain tied for first with the Pittsburgh Steelers with six championships.
Meanwhile, the NFL’s undisputed quarterback of the future Patrick Mahomes struggled all night, throwing for 270 yards and a couple of interceptions. More notably, Mahomes was sacked three times and was held to zero touchdowns for the first time in the 2020–21 season.
Brady will get most of the attention for winning the game for his team as quarterbacks typically do — and rightfully so. However, it was Tampa Bay’s defence, orchestrated by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, that set the tone of the game early.
Throughout the 2020–21 regular season and playoffs, the Buccaneers struggled at times on offence, but had the benefit of playing alongside a consistent and authoritative defence. As growing pains eventually settled as the weeks went by, everything emphatically culminated on Sunday in their dominating two-way performance against the offensively inclined Chiefs.
The game began and ended at the line of scrimmage, as Kansas City’s offensive line was unquestionably the weakest link in the team’s otherwise potent attack throughout the season. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, one of the Chiefs’ starting guards, was the first player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns. Additional injuries to Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz forced the Chiefs to heavily rely on backups and late-season waiver wire acquisitions to protect Mahomes.
On the other end of the field, the Buccaneers’ defence was able to employ a simple yet effective strategy that took the most influential players on the Chiefs’ roster out of the game.
Bowles and the Buccaneers rarely blitzed Mahomes, realizing that the team’s pass rushers and tackles alone could generate pressure with their inherent mismatch. The Buccaneers also had at least two safeties deep downfield for much of the game, making it problematic for Mahomes to connect with his ludicrously fast wide receiver Tyreek Hill while he was constantly showered with double-teams.
On paper, superstars Hill and tight end Travis Kelce ended the game with decent counting statistics, but failed to make their emblematic game-breaking plays.
Despite the somewhat disappointing lack of competition on the field, Super Bowl LV will go down in history for dispelling out-dated American sports standards and breaking barriers.
Kansas City’s assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar became the first women to win Super Bowl rings as part of a coaching staff. Meanwhile, no other team in the league has more than one woman coach.
NFL official Sarah Thomas also became the first woman to referee a Super Bowl. On Sunday, the league took a significant step in the right direction towards gender diversity and inclusivity.
In addition, the Weeknd made his fair share of history by becoming the first solo Canadian artist to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. The Toronto-native, sporting his signature red blazer, performed songs spanning his entire career, ranging from “House of Balloons” from his 2011 debut mixtape, to his 2020 hit, “Blinding Lights.”
Despite several COVID-19-related setbacks, the Weeknd achieved Super Bowl greatness in his memorable and flamboyant performance alongside Thomas, Javadifar, Locust, and the Buccaneers.
Amidst a shower of confetti, Brady was asked during the post-game celebration if he would be returning next season following another unprecedented championship. The 43-year-old, coming off his most lopsided Super Bowl win to date, kept his answer short and sweet.
“I’m coming back, you already know that,” Brady said.
Graphic by Taylor Reddam