Super Bowl 55 Preview

Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on reigning champions Kansas City Chiefs in NFL season finale

The NFL season concludes with fireworks as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers become the first team to host a Super Bowl in their home stadium, taking on last year’s winners Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to secure the franchise’s second Super Bowl win. The Bucs’ only other Vince Lombardi Trophy came in 2003 – three years after their current 43-year-old quarterback was drafted by the New England Patriots, where he spent 20 seasons and won a record six Super Bowls.

The Bucs will go head-to-head with holders Kansas City Chiefs, who beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in this fixture last year. A successive Super Bowl victory this year would crown the Chiefs as just the second team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots in 2004-2005, a record held by quarterback Brady.

The Super Bowl matchup looks like an exciting one, with one of the key headlines being the battle between elite quarterbacks Brady and Patrick Mahomes, who was last year’s Super Bowl MVP. Brady, unanimously regarded as an all-time great, will be up against a young up-and-coming Mahomes, who has established himself as the best young quarterback in the league.

Bucs’ Head Coach Bruce Arians came out of retirement to coach in Tampa Bay – this feels like his final shot at the trophy. His traditional deep-ball heavy offence will be coming up against the creative mind of Andy Reid. With two of the greatest offensive coaches meeting in the finale, expect adventurous and brave performances from both teams.

Both teams are fired up for the fixture, with Brady saying that “a home Super Bowl for the first time in NFL history puts a lot of cool things in perspective”.

After progressing from the AFC Championship game, Mahomes said: “To go out there and have the chance to repeat (the 2020 win) and get to do it against the best, it’s something special and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Jeffrey Beall

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Jeffrey Beall

Brady defeats MVP favourite Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Keith Allison

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Keith Allison

Brady threw three touchdown passes as the Bucs upset the NFC’s number one seed with a 31-26 victory at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers went ahead early via a 50-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

The visitors responded quickly with three touchdowns before the half. Brady showed his deep-ball ability, connecting with Mike Evans and Scotty Miller for long scores as well as a crucial long pass to Chris Godwin which set up Leonard Fournette’s 20-yard touchdown run. The score at the half sat at 21-10, with Green Bay struggling to sustain any offensive momentum.

A touchdown connection to Cameron Brate early in the second half increased the Bucs’ lead as the Packers had to dig deep to keep themselves in the game. Rodgers’ touchdown connections to Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams trimmed the lead down but they needed to complete their comeback in the fourth quarter.

Despite forcing Brady into three interceptions, the Packers could not capitalise as the Bucs defence held strong. On the day, they accumulated one interception and five sacks, with three going to 2019’s sack leader Shaquill Barrett.

With under three minutes to go and against the will of signal-caller Rodgers, Packers coach Matt LeFleur controversially decided to go for a field goal rather than risk it for a touchdown. The decision ultimately resulted in the Buccaneers winding down the rest of the clock and sealing a victory.

This was the Packers’ second loss in the NFC Championship in two years. Their last Super Bowl success was ten years ago now and Packers fans in the stadium certainly voiced their frustrations with the franchise.

After opting to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL Draft as opposed to bolstering the team around two-time MVP Rodgers, the Packer icon has suggested that his future is no longer in Green Bay after this defeat.

It was a story of two legends, however, as Brady makes his tenth appearance in the Super Bowl and his first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady, who joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the previous Summer, led his team to the fifth NFC playoff seed at an 11-5 regular season record. Despite many claiming that Brady was too old to maintain his elite performances at the start of the 2020 season, his reappearance in the Super Bowl epitomises why he is considered one of the greatest of all time.

Super Bowl 55 in the Raymond James Stadium may be one of Brady’s final chances at winning another ring. The Buccaneers built their roster this year with an ‘all or nothing’ type attitude, signing old stars such as Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. With a career playoff record of 33-11, Brady has gifted the Bucs one of the most fascinating seasons in their history.

Head Coach Bruce Arians said: “The belief he gave to this organisation that it could be done. It only took one man.”

Brady has given the Bucs belief, but can he give them a Vince Lombardi Trophy?

Josh Allen and the Bills’ Deep Playoff Run Ends at the Excellence of Mahomes and his Chiefs

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

The Chiefs delivered a convincing 38-24 victory over AFC East champions Buffalo Bills, courtesy of an elite display from Mahomes, who was returning from a concussion suffered last week.

The game did not start as the Chiefs had hoped though. A muffed punt from Mecole Hardman led to an easy three-yard touchdown as Josh Allen connected with Dawson Knox.

Kansas City responded quickly though. Mahomes found Hardman for a three-yard score before Darrel Williams punched in the Chiefs’ second touchdown of the night.

A third score loomed large as a good drive by the Chiefs’ offence resulted in Clyde Edwards-Helaire running it in from a yard out.

Despite generating a lot of yardage on offence, the Bills lacked the finishing touch. The score at the half was 21-12 to the Chiefs.

The two teams went blow for blow until Travis Kelce broke the deadlock with two receiving touchdowns – the first being a crafty underarm pass that caught the Bills defence napping.

The Bills’ efforts seemed both futile and conciliatory at this point. Their efforts did, however, yield a touchdown. Allen made an eight-yard touchdown pass to ‘gadget-guy’ Isaiah McKenzie.

Defeat for the Bills means they have not reached the Super Bowl since 1994. They had infamously lost four Super Bowls in the early 1990s.

Buffalo certainly outperformed their expectations for the season, and despite being unable to make the showpiece event this year, their promising performances will fill their fanbase with much pride and optimism. Allen has elevated his game to an elite level and they finally have a star offensive threat in Stefon Diggs. Defensively, they are sound with All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White leading the pack.

It was the first time since 1995 that the Bills had won the AFC East, and their fanbase certainly hopes their next divisional title will not be another 26 year wait.

What the Bills hope to achieve is what the Chiefs currently are – a young, exciting team with a winning pedigree. The differences showed on the field as Mahomes reinforced why he should never be underestimated.

Following the victory over the Bills, Mahomes made it clear what he was after though: “The job’s not finished. When we went into the season, we weren’t talking about going to the Super Bowl, we were talking about winning it again”.

'This matchup is an exciting one and there is no doubt that Super Bowl 55 will be one of the most interesting Super Bowl matchups that the NFL has ever seen'

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

The Chiefs had been in Super Bowl talk all year, and it is poetic for them to make it to this stage again. Retaining many of their stars from last year, it would have been hard to bet against the Chiefs making the Super Bowl regardless of their competitors.

Many people had the Chiefs to win it all right from the get-go; though it would be fair to say Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager’s prediction is certainly the most accurate (so far): “Annual tradition, 30 minutes before Week 1 kicks off… Super Bowl pick: Chiefs over Buccaneers.”

It comes down to the Super Bowl. Bucs versus Chiefs. Brady versus Mahomes. Coach Arians takes on Coach Reid as the Bucs become the first team to host a Super Bowl. Who will win?

Regardless of predictions and preferences, this matchup is an exciting one and there is no doubt that Super Bowl 55 will be one of the most interesting Super Bowl matchups that the NFL has ever seen.

Super Bowl 55 takes place on the 7th of February with kick-off at 23:30 GMT. The game will be shown live on the BBC with coverage starting at 23:00 GMT.

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

Image: Wikimedia Commons / All-Pro Reels

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Jeffrey Beall

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Jeffrey Beall