TAMPA, Fla. — One quarterback is the 25-year-old leader of the reigning, defending Super Bowl Champions. The other quarterback is a 43-year-old veteran who is laid back off the field but transforms into a cerebral assassin upon stepping across the white lines. Patrick Mahomes II and Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr are the respective faces of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they will be the stars of Super Bowl LV inside Raymond James Stadium.
Mahomes, 25, can throw the ball at different angles, throw the ball 75 yards flat-footed, and can run. He’s not fast like a Lamar Jackson, or powerful like Steve McNair once was, but Mahomes is effective. He threw for 4,740 passing yards and 38 touchdowns, which places him in the top five league-wide in those categories.
“There’s no throw he can’t make, and there’s no throw he won’t make,” Buccaneers cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross said of Mahomes. “You think it’s not going to come your way and it will come your way.”
Mahomes has a fleet of receivers that break tackles and are extremely fast. You can refer to wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson as the Legion of Zoom. In their system, the Chiefs love to create mismatches and get their playmakers in space. If plays break down, Mahomes will either take off or extend the pocket in order to buy himself extra time and find open receivers. That’s where the Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce makes his bread, finding soft spots in zones.
Brady arrived in Tampa after spending 20 seasons in New England. While he won six Super Bowls out of the nine he played in, Brady was struggling to fit into Bucs head coach Bruce Arians’s offense. The communication was not there, the timing was not there, and at week nine against the New Orleans Saints, Brady threw three interceptions and was sacked three times en route to a 38-3 loss in front of a national television audience. The world wondered if this particular bridge was too far for him to travel. That’s when the system began to sync with Brady’s talents.
Even though the Bucs would lose two more games, including a Thanksgiving weekend loss to the Chiefs, Tampa would go undefeated in December and roll into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak.
With these two quarterbacks, you’re almost always never out of a game. As we know from prior experiences, this is especially true regarding Brady.
What are the keys? Glad you asked!
What do the Chiefs need to do in order to secure the dub?
Kansas City’s defense must get Tom Brady off of his spot inside the pocket. What does that mean? That means, Brady likes to throw the ball in rhythm. Take the snap, scan the defense, and fire a pass, with little effort and as quickly as possible. Chiefs’ defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo has called defenses that beat Brady twice in the Super Bowl, during his time with the New York Giants. Kansas City’s hopes will hinge on the defensive ends, namely Frank Clark, getting upfield and speeding Brady up. Clark needs to have an outstanding game.
What do the Bucs need to do in order to secure the dub?
The Bucs defense has to figure out a way to limit Hill and Kelce’s collective production. In the first quarter of their Week 13 matchup, Tyreek Hill had 203 receiving yards in the first quarter, and the Chiefs raced to a 17-0 lead. Hill scored so easily on one play that he backflipped into the end zone.
Kelce would have seven catches for 68 yards in the final three quarters and signified the Bucs decision to suffer a demise via 1,000 cuts. Tampa can’t put safeties on Kelce because his size would overpower them. Rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. missed the NFC championship game with an ankle injury, and Jordan Whitehead has a shoulder and knee problem. Linebacker Devin White has the capability of getting a body on Kelce but lacks the savvy to defend Kelce’s routes.
If the Buccaneers win tonight, Tom Brady will have more Super Bowl victories (seven) than any individual NFL franchise. If the Chiefs win, Patrick Mahomes will become the youngest quarterback to ever win two Super Bowls.