The final in Tampa: Bucs 31, Chiefs 9. A total beatdown.
- Brady now has 7 rings, more than any other NFL franchise. The Patriots and Steelers both have 6 rings in their franchise histories. Brady has 7. That’s just absurd.
- He proved that it wasn’t just the Patriots’ system that made him great. What more can you say about the guy? Winning away from Belichick was the one final mountain left for him to climb, and he did it in his first season away from New England.
- I felt bad for Mahomes by the 4th quarter of that game. He just was getting pummeled. I didn’t think all the injuries to his offensive line would be insurmountable, but they were. That was the game. He was running for his life all game, which, if you read my Super Bowl prediction post, I kinda predicted. But I thought Mahomes’ mobility would be enough to overcome it. He’s the king of rolling out and throwing on the run. He’s almost better when he’s out of the pocket. But not when it’s every single play. He had no pocket all game. I don’t put much blame on him at all for that game. The Bucs’ defensive line was just abusing him.
- To really drive home just how much Mahomes was running for his life, here’s this incredible stat:
- But here’s the thing: a lot of it was due to the fact that the Chiefs receivers couldn’t get open. He kept having to buy time and it gave the Tampa pass rush time to get home. Tampa had at least one coverage sack that I saw. I’m really impressed by how well Tampa was able to lock down the Kansas City receivers, given how the Bucs’ secondary has been one their most suspect unit all season long. I’ve written quite a bit about Tampa’s secondary being their liability this season, but they stepped up big time when it counted the most.
- There were also a few critical drops by Kansas City wide receivers in the game. Mahomes had one of the most incredible throws ever in the 4th quarter and it should’ve gone for a TD, but Darrell Williams dropped the pass. I think the ball was tipped, because Williams should’ve had it. It was this throw:
I mean, come on:
- It was accurate, too. This dude is not even human. I’m sorry, but how the fuck do you throw the ball with pinpoint accuracy while you’re in the air, parallel to the ground? Do not let this game make you think less of Mahomes, he’s still an unbelievable talent. He does things that have never been seen before in the NFL.
- There was also an incredible pass that hit Tyreek Hill in the face for what should’ve been a TD at around the 5:15 mark of the first quarter. Travis Kelce dropped a pass that would’ve been a first down on 3rd & 8 when the Chiefs had the ball on their own 17. It was just a straight-up drop. He makes that catch 99 times out of 100.
- Super Bowl MVP should’ve been Todd Bowles. That Tampa defense was incredible. Holding the Kansas City Chiefs to 9 points? Are you kidding me? That never happens. I know coaches can’t get the award, but Todd Bowles truly deserved it. 9 points! Tampa had 8 QB hits on Mahomes and 3 sacks, but that doesn’t tell the whole story: Mahomes was pressured on 29 of 56 dropbacks in the game, which is more than half, and was the highest pressure percentage in Super Bowl history. (Brady was only pressured 4 times). That’s how good Bowles’ defense was. Bowles even had Vita Vea lining up as an edge rusher in the game! Kansas City had no idea what was going on. Bowles just completely outclassed them.
- Not that Tom Brady didn’t deserve MVP, of course. He had a great game. 21/29 for 201 yards and 3 TDs. There were a few off-target throws, but for the most part he was on-point. He has now won 3 Super Bowls and a league MVP award since turning 39. Two Super Bowls in his 40s. He’s had a Hall of Fame-worthy career just since turning 40.
- 5 Super Bowl MVPs for Brady. He’s the first to ever win a Super Bowl MVP for two different teams. Unbelievable.
- The additions of Gronk and AB paid off in a major way for the Buccaneers. Gronk was the first half MVP with two TDs. Then AB had that TD catch at the very end of the half. Playoff Lenny was a beast, too. He was running angry all game long and he picked up some tough yards for the Bucs. I think they should’ve had him in when they were on the goal line early in the game and ended up turning it over on downs after Ronald Jones got stuffed twice in a row. I also thought we were going to see the signature Brady Goal Line QB Sneak, but we didn’t. It didn’t matter, though.
- What a story for Antonio Brown, too. He gets a ring. After what that guy has been through the past two years, that’s really something. True, his bad situation was entirely of his own doing, but good for him for turning his life around and re-committing to football. When he signed with the Bucs midway through this season, virtually nobody thought it would work. People thought he would screw up again and be out of the league for good. But he kept his head down and just played football, now he gets a ring. Good for him.
- Tyreek Hill’s statline might show that he had a decent game, 7 catches for 73 yards, but most of his catches and yards came in garbage time after the game was already out of reach. Tampa completely shut him down. I was surprised by just how ineffective he was in this game in the first half when the game was within reach. Especially after how dominant he was in the regular season game against Tampa.
- This was my favorite image from the game:
- Antoine Winfield didn’t forget Tyreek Hill burning them for 203 yards and 2 TDs in the first quarter of their regular season matchup. He didn’t forget Hill throwing up the deuces and backflipping into the endzone. I bet every DB in the league has wanted to do that to Hill for the past three seasons.
- Devin White and Lavonte David were incredible. The whole Tampa defense was incredible. All of those guys: Shaq Barrett, JPP, Suh, Vita Vea, David, White, Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Antoine Winfield Jr.–they all dominated. That whole unit was phenomenal and every one of those guys deserves every bit as much credit as Brady. I can’t even pick on one guy who had a bad game or was a weak link, they were all on-point.
- Devin White, man. 12 tackles (8 solo), with 2 TFLs and an INT. The dude was just all over the place. He’s so fast, too. One of his TFLs was an incredible display of that speed:
- And he’s only 22! This dude is a future DPOTY candidate for sure. He’s insanely talented. Definitely one of my favorite players in the NFL today.
- Tampa was just vicious overall. They hit hard on both offense and defense. Leonard Fournette was out there punishing dudes, and the whole defense was just laying the wood all game long. Kansas City is not a soft team, but the Bucs made them look like one. They were just way tougher than Kansas City was. It reminded me of the way Alabama bullies everybody else in college football, except it was in the Super Bowl.
- A lot of people were complaining about the refs, especially early in the game, but I didn’t really see a lot of egregious calls. I saw the Chiefs committing a lot of penalties. And they just couldn’t stop the Bucs offense.
- I did see the Chiefs commit some stupid penalties in this game, though. They definitely bailed Tampa out a few times in the first half. There was that offsides call on the field goal that game Tampa a first down, which they turned into a TD to Gronk on the very next play. I don’t know how people can blame the refs for that. Offsides is offsides. Yes, it was a huge blow for the Chiefs, but they shouldn’t have lined up offsides. I don’t know what else to say.
- There was a 34-yard DPI call against Breeland who interfered with Mike Evans on a deep pass. But in my view that was a clear PI. Breeland tried to trip Evans after he got burned. People on Twitter were complaining that it was an uncatchable ball, but it was only uncatchable because Evans got tripped. Had he been able to stay upright and running full speed, he would’ve been able to catch the ball.
- I hate to be that guy that immediately says the team that just won the Super Bowl is the favorite to repeat, but the Bucs should absolutely be the favorites to win the Super Bowl next year.
I had an article ready to go from back in the regular season about how if and when the Bucs lose in the playoffs they should not even consider breaking this team up. Remember, there was talk when they were going through a rough patch in like November that Brady and Arians didn’t get along (B.S.) and that Byron Leftwich’s offensive system wasn’t going to work with Brady (also obviously B.S.). There were sports pundits even talking about the idea of forcing Arians out.
But after the Bucs beat the Saints in the playoffs, I shelved the article because I figured making the NFC Championships would be enough reason to run it back next season if they were unable to win the Super Bowl this season.
I’m glad I didn’t have to write that article.
What they were able to do this season was truly remarkable. They went from 7-9 last season to Super Bowl Champions this season. They had no pre-season, either. Gronk, AB and Fournette were all newcomers in addition to Brady. And they were still able to make it work.
They’re going to be downright scary next season.
A lot of people are going to say, “Brady won the divorce with Belichick!” And while that’s definitely true, it’s hard to compare this Bucs team to the 2020 Patriots. The talent gap is ridiculous. The Bucs have an insanely talented roster. There’s studs all over the place. The Patriots, on the other hand, are one of the least-talented teams in the league. I actually give Belichick a ton of credit for going 7-9 with that roster. It was truly awful.
Don’t take this the wrong way: I’m not trying to discredit Brady at all. This Bucs team was 7-9 last year without him. He made a massive difference. The Bucs hadn’t made the playoffs since 2007, and when Brady arrived, they not only made the playoffs but won the Super Bowl. You can’t say Brady didn’t make that happen.
I don’t think the Patriots would’ve been good enough to win the Super Bowl this season even if they had Tom Brady. You saw what happened in 2019. There’s just not enough talent on that roster to win a Super Bowl. If Brady was in New England this year, they probably would’ve gone 11-5 or 10-6 and lost in the playoffs.
Could Belichick have coached this Tampa team to a Super Bowl title without Tom Brady as QB? I don’t know. I don’t think so, because having a great QB is so incredibly important. But who knows?
Brady definitely won the divorce. But don’t let this Super Bowl win convince you that Belichick had nothing to do with New England’s success. That’s just not even close to true. Bill Belichick is still the greatest head coach in NFL history.
It’s not as simple a matter as “Brady won the Super Bowl with the Bucs and Belichick couldn’t even get to the playoffs!” That’s technically true, but it’s really not fair to compare the two situations.