Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. And the Kansas City Chiefs look to become a dynasty. But to do so, they must defeat a man who knows all too well what dynasties are all about.
For 20 years, Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to nine Super Bowls and six Super Bowl rings. And when Brady announced he was going to Tampa Bay to become a Buccaneer, many did not have high expectations, thinking he was only a product of Bill Belichick’s system.
Despite having a new coach in Bruce Arians, a new playbook, and new overall environment, Brady proved he wasn’t just a “system quarterback”, leading Tampa Bay to the playoffs. There, he essentially sent Drew Brees into retirement, and outdueled the 2021 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers en route to his 10th Super Bowl, and Tampa Bay’s first since 2002.
At 43 years old, Brady isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
And while he isn’t slowing down, Patrick Mahomes keeps heating up.
Mahomes finished the 2020 regular season with a record of 14-1, a TD-INT ratio of 38-6, and threw for over 4700 passing yards. He finished third in the NFL MVP voting behind Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen, but nevertheless, Mahomes hasn’t even reached his fullest potential yet.
With the supporting cast around him, that’s a big problem for opposing teams.
When these two teams last faced off in Week 12, the Chiefs defeated Tampa Bay 27-24. Mahomes completed 37 of 49 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns. The top target of the day was wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who exposed the Buccaneer’s secondary as he hauled in 13 of 15 targets for 269 yards and caught all three of Mahomes’ scores. While Brady had a solid outing in his own right, going 27-41 for 345 yards and three touchdowns, he also threw two interceptions and was largely outplayed by Mahomes.
Since then, however, the Buccaneer’s defense, something that they’ve been known for throughout their history, began to crack down and improve greatly.
But in the grand scheme of things, it all comes down to this: the six-time champion against the defending champion. The greatest vs. a soon-to-be great. Father time hasn’t caught Brady, and Mahomes is too far away from even thinking about father time… well, except that he’s going to be a father, but that’s a different story.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams, with the series evened at 2-2. And while we already covered the most recent matchup, here are the results of the previous three:
- Week 14, 2019 (Chiefs 23, Patriots 16)
- 2018 AFC Championship Game (Patriots 37, Chiefs 31)
- Week 6, 2018 (Patriots 43, Chiefs 40)
The 2018 AFC Championship Game is considered by many fans and analysts to be considered one of the greatest playoff games in recent memory, despite Dee Ford’s costly offsides penalty that spearheaded the Patriots comeback.
Heading into Super Bowl LV, both teams possess offenses that are forces to be reckoned with. On the Chiefs, you have Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Hill was mentioned earlier). Plus, one of the greatest coaches of all time in Andy Reid. On the Buccaneer’s, you have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette.
But one aspect of the Chiefs that cannot be overlooked is their defense. While the defensive unit struggled during the regular season (and when they performed well, were largely overshadowed by the offense) they’ve been red-hot during the postseason.
Flashback to the divisional round, where they provided key stops against the Cleveland Browns’ offense that was on a complete tear during the last 10 weeks, especially a week removed from almost scoring 50 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then they stifled the Buffalo Bills’ potent passing offense in check, as Buffalo were unable to get anything going in the running game. Safety Tyrann Mathieu was a big reason for the team’s success in both games, as he was not only a vocal leader, but a physical presence.
While they look to stop Brady and the Bucs, Tampa’s defense, led by Devin White, Lavonte David, and star rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr., have a much tougher task at hand. Throughout the postseason, they’ve run a two-safety, man coverage defensive scheme to try and lockdown receivers on and keep them in front of the safeties.
Considering the Chiefs air-out the ball a lot, zone coverage might end up being more effective, as evident in Week 12 when the Chiefs were practically bullying the Bucs’ defensive backs.
Also, with star LT Eric Fisher out due to an achilles injury, the defensive line has to step up. Vita Vea is one of the best young defensive lineman in the NFL today, and watch for him to really make an impact. Despite being 34 years old, Ndamukong Suh is still a force to be reckoned with on the interior as well.
To put it quite simply, both of these teams are evenly matched. And it will be a battle for the ages on Sunday night in Tampa, as the Buccaneer’s look to become the first team to win the Super Bowl in their own home stadium.
We’ll just have to see if that happens or not.
But as for the Chiefs, a win on Sunday night would solidify that they’re the new dynasty in sports.
(Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports, via Reuters)