One for the ages: Super Bowl LV preview

Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady headlines one of the most anticipated Super Bowls to date.

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Super Bowl LV is upon us, and in a year where at one point there were questions about whether there would even be an NFL season, sports fans are rightfully giddy with the big game right around the corner. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced football fans to adopt a ‘take what you can get’ approach because, after all, football is still football, no fans and all. So, if you told them that Rex Grossman was once again one of the starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl, they would, somewhat begrudgingly, be able to convince themselves to be excited come Sunday. 

Fortunately for all, Super Bowl LV does not feature Grossman, but instead has Tom Brady, a six-time NFL champion and arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, taking on a challenger who many believe to be his heir apparent, Patrick Mahomes. 

Brady has won six Super Bowls in his career, the most ever for any player in the history of the league. While Mahomes, who has now been to two Super Bowls in his first three years, continues to do unprecedented things to start his career – things that the league has not seen since, believe it or not, a young Brady. 

Add the oldest coaching matchup in the history of the Super Bowl, plus the first team to ever host the game at their home stadium, and you have the makings of one of the best on-paper Lombardi Trophy matchups we have ever seen. Let us hope it lives up to this potential. 


“Never bet against Brady in the playoffs” is a phrase you will hear multiple times leading up to Sunday. But if there is one quarterback that might just break that train of thought entirely, it is Mahomes. 

The two starters have faced off four times overall, having split those matchups, including an almost identical scoring output, with Mahomes outduelling Brady by a score of 121-120 over the four games. 

But this is the biggest stage yet, and coincidentally a stage that Brady has been on a time or two, or more accurately, a time or ten. However, Mahomes has proven he is no slouch in big games, leading a second-half comeback against the San Francisco 49ers just last year in his first-ever championship appearance.  

In terms of supporting cast, the overall edge may lean towards the Bucs, but the Chiefs have the best two players on offence outside of the two quarterbacks in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. 

Head coach Bruce Arians currently has Tampa Bay running as a well-oiled machine. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and Scotty Miller are just a few of the weapons that Brady will have at his disposal through the air. Moreover, the Bucs offensive line – including standout rookie tackle Tristian Wirfs, who allowed just one sack all season – has been doing a phenomenal job keeping Brady upright. Finally, add a resurgence from running back Leonard Fournette, who has upped his game in the playoffs, and you have the makings of a team ready to put up some points.

The multitude of weapons the Bucs deploy still may be no match compared to the two-headed receiving threat coaches Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy have in Kansas City. Hill is an absolute matchup nightmare, torching the Bucs in the regular season to the tune of 269 yards and three touchdowns.  Add the best tight end in the game in Kelce, and the Chiefs will keep any opposing defensive coordinators up at night.    

While the Bucs are arguably the more complete offence, the edge still has to be given to the Chiefs, who behind the mind of Reid, are one of the most dangerous offences the NFL has ever seen.



No doubt about it, both defences are going to have their hands full trying to limit these offences. With the over/under currently set at 56.5, it seems there is a prevalent belief that both defences, while solid, may be overmatched. But is one more overmatched than the other? Here’s a closer look:

Steve Spagnuolo, defensive coordinator for the Chiefs, has stymied Tom Brady in the past, most recently in this year’s regular season matchup, forcing the 43-year-old signal caller into two interceptions. Perhaps more memorable, though, was when Spagnuolo led the New York Giants’ defence in Super Bowl XLII to an upset win over the undefeated New England Patriots. 

Spagnuolo certainly has some pieces to work with. Chris Jones is a force on the defensive front, and Tryann Mathieu may just be the most versatile defensive player in the league. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, however, Brady has seen it all before, and with all the talent he has around him, expect the Bucs to put up some points.

The biggest storyline in this game, outside of the quarterback showdown, may just be the decimation of the Chiefs’ offensive line, coming into a tilt against the vaunted Bucs’ pass rush. Starting left tackle Eric Fisher (achilles) is unlikely to play, as is right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. Therefore, Bucs’ pass rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, who combined for five sacks against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, are rightfully licking their lips. 

If star linebacker Devin White, corners Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, and the rest of the Bucs can delay Mahomes from releasing the ball just enough, Barrett and company should find a way to get home. However, that is easier said than done, even with a banged-up offensive line. 

In terms of overall advantage defensively, the Bucs have a slight edge, mainly due to the sheer number of playmakers Tampa Bay has on that side of the ball. Things could change given the uncertain availability of Bucs’ safeties Antoine Winfield Junior and Jordan Whitehead, but as it stands, the Bucs have the advantage.


Obviously, there are more than just two sides of the ball that make up a football game, as any armchair quarterback can tell you. Special teams always play a role in big games, and then even more of a factor is the game within the game – coaching.

So, when you add it all up, the Chiefs appear to have the edge as we march closer to Sunday evening. Two great coaches and quarterbacks will go head-to-head in the biggest game of the year, but Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes prevailed last year, and there is a good chance that they are poised to do it again. Except a man by the name of Tom Brady stands in their way.  


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Posted: Feb 3 2021 9:46 pm
Filed under: Football Sports