In case you were living under a rock last weekend, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history over the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9.
The Chiefs were denied their repeat Super Bowl after taking down the San Francisco 49ers in 2020. Superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes will certainly make all the headlines with his subpar performance, throwing zero touchdowns and two interceptions on just over 50% accuracy. The cards were stacked against him; his offensive line was running backups against Tampa’s devastating front seven, and he was already nursing a turf toe that he had surgery on after the game. Every snap was an immediate retreat from the opponents running him over. He was only sacked three times but he was never given a chance. The running game never got off the ground either, depriving the offense of all luster that had made it the Super Bowl favorite all year.
Meanwhile, this was a historic game for Tom Brady. At 43 years old, he became the third quarterback to start the Super Bowl at over 40 years of age, joining 2018 and 2019 Tom Brady. After two decades on the New England Patriots, he joined a new team in the opposite conference and led them to his seventh Super Bowl victory, more than any single franchise in the NFL. While young, Mahomes was off to a pace that would challenge Brady to the title of greatest of all time, but this Super Bowl win will be a barrier Mahomes will likely never have the chance to repair.
The other weapons for Tampa were also there to play. Running back Leonard Fournette was left jobless in September 2020 after being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, only to fill the starting spot in Tampa left by the injured Ronald Jones. He capped off his year with 135 total yards and a touchdown. Tight end Rob Gronkowski retired early, citing his time with Brady on the New England Patriots as not being any fun. With Brady on a new team, he took his chance to enter a potentially more enjoyable atmosphere, and thrived. Brady and Gronk have connected for the most touchdowns between a quarterback-receiver duo in playoff history, and Gronk became just the second player to score multiple receiving touchdowns in multiple Super Bowls, scoring two this year. Antonio Brown got the only uncounted for touchdown of the game. A former superstar on the Pittsburgh Steelers, the last several years of Brown’s career was filled with behavioral issues and self-sabotage, losing jobs with both the Patriots and Oakland Raiders. While it isn’t hard to dislike the guy, he found a stable spot in Tampa and filled out an already stacked wide receiver position.
Regardless of personal bias, every member of Tampa Bay came to play and earned their victory. They were downright dominant in the playoffs, dismantling surefire Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in the previous two rounds of the playoffs. I think I can safely say they were one of the best Super Bowl teams in recent memory, and they will almost surely be at similar heights next year.