Matthew Breault, Assistant Sports Editor
Super Bowl LV will go down in history as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers soundly defeated the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL played a complete season that ended with the Buccaneers becoming the first team in NFL history to play in and win the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
The Buccaneers, led by former New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, continued their red-hot stretch during the Super Bowl to upset Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Since the team’s Week 12 loss to the Chiefs, the Buccaneers have won 8 straight in route to Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl and fifth Super Bowl MVP.
Not only did Brady win 4 straight playoff games as the lower seed, but he also defeated three top quarterbacks including Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes.
Utica College Junior and New York Jets fan Ian Hoyt said although he dislikes Brady for multiple reasons, he has to give credit where it’s due.
“As much as we Jets fans hate him, he is a great quarterback and always has been,” Hoyt said. “After this playoff run and Super Bowl performance, he will definitely be labeled as the greatest of all time.”
The number of Super Bowls Brady has won now accounts for more than any NFL franchise in history. Brady completed 21 of 29 throws for 201 yards and three touchdowns. His three touchdown passes all went to former teammates who played with him during his long tenure with the New England Patriots.
Tight End Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement at the start of the 2020-2021 NFL season to reunite with Brady, while Wide Receiver Antonio Brown was signed in late October by the Bucs. Brady connected with Gronk six times for 67 yards and two touchdowns while breaking the NFL playoff record for most passing touchdowns by a quarterback-pass catcher tandem, previously held by San Francisco 49ers greats Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Brady also found Brown five times for 22 yards and one touchdown.
Utica College Sophomore and Houston Texans super fan Abe Mendez said he enjoyed watching Tom Brady find Brown and Gronkowski in the end zone, even though Brady is not his personal favorite.
“I was rooting for Brady the whole time even though I still hate him, but I’ve finally accepted that he’s the greatest and he’s proven it once again,” Mendez said. “The two touchdowns between Brady and Gronk got me hyped up. Seeing Brown get a touchdown also was amazing.”
Mendez also added that he enjoyed the personal altercations taking place throughout the entirety of the game.
“The best part of the entire game was when Antoine Winfield Jr. mocked Tyreek Hill and threw up a peace sign at him,” Mendez said.
Mahomes, who won Super Bowl MVP last season, only completed 26 out of his 49 passes for 270 yards and two interceptions. Tight End Travis Kelce had 10 receptions for 133 yards, while Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill had seven receptions for 77 yards. This loss is Mahomes’ first time ever losing an NFL game by more than one possession. The last time Mahomes lost a game by more than one possession came in 2016 vs. Iowa St., in which Mahomes and the Texas Tech Red Raiders lost to the Cyclones 66-10.
Super Bowl LV was also the first time in Mahomes’ career when his offense didn’t score a touchdown and failed to score double-digit points.
Utica College Junior Craig Gazzilli said that fans shouldn’t blame Mahomes for the poor performance, but they should blame Kansas City’s offensive line and their entire defense.
“Mahomes definitely missed not having his two starting tackles and that’s why he was running from pressure all night with his turf toe injury that was obviously discomforting to him,” Gazilli said. “The Bucs defensive line only sent four guys on almost every single play and still consistently got pressure on Mahomes, that was just insane.”
Despite the Buccaneers only blitzing five times throughout the entirety of the game, Mahomes was pressured on 29 out of 59 dropbacks, a Super Bowl record, while running for a total of 497 yards before his passes and sacks during this game. Those 497 yards are the most pre-throw and pre-sack yards run by any quarterback in any game during the season, according to NFL’s NextGenStats.
After the game, Mahomes told reporters in a post-game press conference that the Buccaneers “played a heck of a game defensively and offensively to beat us.” Mahomes also added, according to ESPN, “We can’t let this define us. We have to continue to get better going into next year and prepare ourselves to hopefully be in this game again. We knew it wasn’t always going to be successful and we weren’t going to be able to win 1,000 championships in a row. We knew we were going to go through times like this and adversity.”
Meanwhile, on the championship podium, Brady was asked if there was more to come, in hopes of finding out if Brady was returning for his 22nd NFL season. “We’re coming back,” Brady replied. “You already know that.”
With Brady returning to the Buccaneers to defend their first championship since 2002, Mahomes and the Chiefs will start the season with high hopes of returning to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season.