Kansas City 9-31 Tampa Bay: Tom Brady’s Greatest Super Bowl Victory
In a surprisingly one-sided clash between the NFL’s best offences, it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who prevailed in Super Bowl 55, with Tom Brady winning his 7th ring in his 10th appearance. Calum Muldoon reviews the action.
A display of sheer strength and willpower was shown in Tampa in the early hours of Monday morning. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the first team in Super Bowl history to play the match at their home stadium, came into this clash with the Kansas City Chiefs, as underdogs with the masses choosing to back last season’s champions. Despite the Bucs having played exceptionally well this season, bolstered by some highly-decorated veterans from the New England Patriots dynasty of the 2010s, the awesome power of the Chiefs could not be overlooked by many.
During the regular season, the Chiefs’ star man, Patrick Mahomes, showed exactly why he should be seen as one of the best quarterbacks of all time at the young age 25, throwing a whopping 38 touchdowns in the regular season alone, cementing that he would provide Tampa Bay’s defence with a monumental challenge. His ability to stay standing and throw accurate passes mid-tackle is extraordinary. However, Tampa Bay prevailed.
I must admit, in a previous piece, I believed that Tampa Bay would not even make it past the might of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. While I recognised their defensive strength, it just seemed unlikely that they could hold the Packers back. But alas, I was wrong. Like many others, I was confident Kansas City would be walking out of the Raymond James Stadium with the Vince Lombardi trophy, but TomBrady and the Buccaneers had different ideas.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians had his defence put as much pressure on Mahomes as possible to force him to retreat and throw wild passes to teammates in the end zone, with the intense pressure of Tampa Bay’s cornerbacks making sure that Mahomes’ receivers were never open to catch his passes. It was perhaps the greatest defensive display in a Super Bowl since 2008, where the New York Giants broke down the Patriots’ offence, famously sacking Brady five times.
From the opening play, the Bucs smothered Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, with their defensive frontline of Shaquil Barret, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamakong Suh took on the task of stopping Mahomes with aplomb, sacking the 25-year-old twice throughout the game and stopping the Chiefs from scoring even a single touchdown. Although the Bucs were not the first team to defeat the Chiefs this season, no one else was effectively able to halt the attacking capability that Kansa possess, clearly highlighting the Bucs as one of the greatest defensive teams in the NFL this season.
While the Bucs defence played a key role, the headlines were all about one man – Tom Brady. The MVP of the match showed his critics that age is just a number, with the 43-year-old throwing for three touchdowns, only being sacked once. While his match stats are impressive on their own, what’s more impressive is the fact that he managed to turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into the best team in America.
The rags to riches story is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the Bucs have the worst winning percentage (.387) out of any team in the four major professional sports in America. In Layman’s Terms, they were abysmal. Brady’s choice to sign a two year deal in Tampa after shattering records with the Patriots for two decades was considered laughable. How could the greatest player of all time choose to play for the worst team in the NFL? It was absurd. While Tampa had a half decent offence before Brady’s arrival, they conceded a horrid 30 interceptions last season.
Tampa Bay’s recruiters knew what needed to be done, not only bringing in Brady to bolster their attack, but adding ex-Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Antonio Brown to their squad. Furthermore, they added running back LeSean McCoy from, ironically, Kansas, and defensive tackle Steve McLendon from the New York Jets. Their road to glory got off to a rocky start, with fans fearing the worst after a defeat to the New Orleans Saints. However, they steadied the ship and finished the regular season in second in the NFC South, with a win/loss ratio of 11-5. However, they truly hit their stride in the post-season, scoring over 30 points in every match – Super Bowl included.
The journey that Tampa Bay have taken on their way to the Super Bowl LV crown has been nothing less than incredible. However, perhaps the most incredible part of the tale was Tom Brady’s experience and leadership turning the absolute worst team in the NFL into Super Bowl champions once again. Since their last crowning victory, the Bucs have humiliated themselves on far too many occasions and perhaps this shows why Brady chose to up sticks and move to Tampa – to prove himself. Despite already being regarded as one of the league’s finest, Brady had to share that spotlight with Aaron Rodgers and had young quarterbacks like Mahomes and the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen nipping at his heels. By becoming the face of the NFL’s worst team, playing a key role in winning the most valuable award in American sports, Brady has proven himself to undoubtedly be the best there’s ever been. While Brady’s fans and teammates will be celebrating this victory in style, he’ll be celebrating his 7th Super Bowl triumph alongside some other victories – his MVP award, the silencing of his critics and the cementation of his legacy.