After 268 regular and postseason games spanning more than five months, the 2020-21 NFL season will come to a close in Tampa Bay tonight. Looking back at our preseason staff predictions, four of our staff members predicted that Kansas City would hoist the Lombardi Trophy, while none had Tampa Bay making it this far.
The clash of Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes is set to be one of the most exciting Super Bowl quarterback match-ups in a decade. For Tom Brady, he is no stranger to the bright lights in February, as tonight will mark his tenth appearance on the NFL’s biggest stage. While he has already cemented himself as the best to ever play the position, the 43 year old has a chance to thrust himself into the conversation for one of the best athletes in American history. Why, you might ask? A win would give him his seventh ring, which is more than any NFL franchise. He has been a dominant figure in the league over the last 20 years, a timeframe that many players are unable to reach. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down, either.
The Buccaneers had the third-highest scoring offense in the league this season, and come into Super Bowl LV averaging 34 points per game since their Week 13 bye (which is also a seven-game winning streak). Their defense also ranked fairly well, allowing the ninth-fewest points during the regular season. It is a group filled with notable names and star talent that ranked in the top five in takeaways.
It will be the first Super Bowl appearance for the Buccaneers since 2002, in their first playoff appearance since 2007. Kansas City, on the other hand, will be making their second-consecutive trip to the big game, looking to become the first team to repeat as champion since Tom Brady did it with the Patriots.
Patrick Mahomes has already achieved so much in his young career, and has a chance to replicate what Brady did in his younger years. Kansas City had a top ten offense once again, and Mahomes is surrounded with talent. The numbers can back it up, as they’ve scored 30 or more points in 10 games. What helps their cause even more is that they have essentially the same team from last year’s Super Bowl run, something that is hard to achieve in today’s NFL.
For Andy Reid, he has the chance to cement himself as one of the best coaches in the league’s history. While he has only one Super Bowl to his name, he has found consistent success everywhere he has been. He has won 10 or more games in 15 of 22 seasons, and has only produced a losing record three times. While Bill Belichick gets a lot of the headlines and attention, Reid in many ways has compiled one of the most consistent runs for a head coach in NFL history.
We collected the predictions from 18 of our staff members on the game itself, as well as fun things that could happen throughout the night:
(Cover Photo: Sharp Football Analysis)