Super Bowl LV: Tom Brady leads Buccaneers to victory over Chiefs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady shouts as he runs onto the field.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady shouts as he runs onto the field before defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.
(Mark LoMoglio / Associated Press)

Tom Brady leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday. Here’s a recap of the game.

TAMPA, Fla. — Quarterback Tom Brady won his seventh NFL title Sunday, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Brady, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, won his first six titles with the New England Patriots before joining the Buccaneers last year.

Tom Brady and Buccaneers defeat Chiefs to win Super Bowl LV

Fireworks explode over Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., after the Buccaneers' 31-9 win.
Fireworks explode over Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., after the Buccaneers’ 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defended their home field to win Super Bowl LV, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.

Quarterback Tom Brady, the Super Bowl MVP, won his seventh ring, his first since leaving the New England Patriots last year, by throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Leonard Fournette rushed for 89 yards and a score and Ronald Jones added 61 more yards.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ group executed a masterful performance, limiting quarterback Patrick Mahomes to 270 passing yards and completing 53% of his passes. He also had two passes intercepted.


Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9: Fan interrupts game late in fourth quarter

Play stopped momentarily in the fourth quarter as a fan got onto the field and ran around before being tackled by security. He was wearing a pink shirt with black shorts and green shoes, and outran a few security guards before being tackled in the end zone.


The Weeknd’s chilly pop makes for a socially distant Super Bowl halftime show

The Weeknd performs at Super Bowl LV.
(Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was never a chance that the Weeknd’s halftime show at Super Bowl LV would feel like business as usual for pop music’s most-watched annual performance.

But even by the strange standards of our socially distant age, Sunday night’s showing by this Canadian pop-soul auteur was a proud outlier.

Instead of doing his thing in the middle of the football field, as halftime acts have done for decades, the Weeknd spent most of his 14-minute performance in the stands beneath a giant video screen at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.

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Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9: Patrick Mahomes can’t convert on fourth down

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes on fourth down as he's tackled.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes on fourth down as he’s tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett during the fourth quarter.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)

For two plays, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes scrambled around as if he was a virtual character in the Madden video game. For two plays, his passes fell incomplete, the last on fourth down, which gifted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the ball near their end zone. The Chiefs’ offense has been put in check by Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and his scheme.

Mahomes has completed only 15 passes for 131 yards. He has been flustered by pressure, unable to consistently find receiver Tyreek Hill on deep shots. Tight end Travis Kelce, who leads the team with 72 receiving yards, has caught passes only on underneath routes, nothing of true impact.


End of third quarter: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9

It won’t be impossible, but it’s definitely an uphill battle.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 15 minutes away from relinquishing the Lombardi Trophy, trailing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9. The normally high-powered offense has yet to score a touchdown. But if they score quickly, along with a few defensive stops or turnovers, things could change quickly.


Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9: Ryan Succop kicks 52-yard field goal

Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop celebrates after kicking an extra point.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop celebrates after kicking an extra point against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half Sunday.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop converted a 52-yard field goal to give Tampa Bay a 31-9 late in the third quarter.

Tom Brady misfired on a pass to the end zone, Chris Godwin failed to secure both feet in bounds on a touch catch, and Tampa Bay lost a bunch of yardage on a snap that sailed over Brady’s head. Count that drive as a win for the Chiefs, whose offense needs to score touchdowns quickly in order to make the game competitive.


Buccaneers 28, Chiefs 9: Patrick Mahomes throws interception

The meltdown continues.

On third down, Patrick Mahomes escaped pressure outside the pocket and heaved a pass toward the middle of the field, which Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield intercepted. Tampa Bay now has the ball just past midfield with six minutes left to play in the third quarter.


Rob Gronkowski’s girlfriend Camille Kostek predicted his two TDs on Friday

Rob Gronkowski and Camille Kostek in 2019
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Rob Gronkowski’s girlfriend Camille Kostek predicted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ big game two days before Super Bowl LV.

Working as a guest correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight,” the model and TV host called her shot in regard to her boyfriend’s Super Bowl performance:

“I’m predicting two touchdown passes from Tom [Brady] this game.”

Of course, the Brady-to-Gronk connection has been quite successful over the years, in New England and now in Tampa. But Gronk only had one two-touchdown game this season, so Kostek was going out on a bit of a limb.

But he scored on an 8-yard pass in the first quarter and a 17-yard pass in the second to help the Buccaneers take a 21-6 halftime lead.

Kostek took a victory lap on Twitter.


Buccaneers 28, Chiefs 9: Leonard Fournette extends Tampa Bay’s lead

Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette carries the ball in front of Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette carries the ball in front of Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu during the first half Sunday.
(Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

Leonard Fournette scampered untouched though a gaping hole in the Chiefs’ defense for a 27-yard touchdown, widening the Buccaneers’ lead to 28-9 in the third quarter.

Tom Brady again connected with Rob Gronkowski for a 25-yard completion that extended the Bucs’ drive, which lasted for only six plays and covered 74 yards. The Chiefs’ hope for becoming back-to-back Super Bowl champions seems to be dwindling.


Buccaneers 21, Chiefs 9: Harrison Butker kicks his third field goal

The Chief’s first drive out of halftime that started nicely ended with a 52-yard field goal from Harrison Butker, whittling Tampa Bay’s lead to 21-9.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire contributed chunk rushes for 26 yards and 10 yards. But again, the Buccaneers’ defense stood firm.


Halftime: Buccaneers lead Chiefs 21-6 after Antonio Brown’s TD

Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu confronts Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu confronts Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady after a Buccaneers touchdown in the final seconds of the first half Sunday.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Todd Bowles for Super Bowl MVP?

The Buccaneers defensive coordinator learned from his unit’s mishaps in their November matchup with the Chiefs, and they have responded with a stout showing in the first half.

The Buccaneers lead 21-6 after quarterback Tom Brady tossed two touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski and one-yard touchdown to receiver Antonio Brown with just six seconds remaining in the half.

But make no mistake, they are in front because of the defense.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has completed only nine passes for 67 yards, and Kansas City has 124 yards of total offense through two quarters. When these two teams met in Week 12, Mahomes threw for 359 yards in the first half alone.

Penalties have hurt the Chiefs, including two pass interference calls in the waning seconds of the second quarter that led to the last touchdown. Safety Tyrann Mathieu let his frustration show after the last score, which led to a brief skirmish on the field before the teams entered the locker room at halftime.


Buccaneers 14, Chiefs 6: Another field goal for Kansas City

Kansas City narrowed the deficit to 14-6 after kicker Harrison Butker connected on a 34-yard field goal.

Tampa Bay’s defense blitzed quarterback Patrick Mahomes on third down in the red zone to force him to throw the ball away. The Chief’s offense is still in a rut. Mahomes has completed only nine passes for 67 yards.


Watch Amanda Gorman honor wounded warriors and frontline workers with Super Bowl poem

Poet Amanda Gorman.
Poet Amanda Gorman became a sensation at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. She added the Super Bowl to her list of accomplishments on Sunday.
(Kelia Anne)

With tonight’s performance of “Chorus of the Captains” at Super Bowl LV, Amanda Gorman becomes the first poet to be a part of the sporting event.

The 22-year-old L.A. native performed a poem celebrating the contributions of the game’s three honorary captains: educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Marine Corps. veteran James Martin.

Gorman, who has announced plans to run for president in 2036 as soon as she’s eligible, recently signed with talent agency IMG Models. Her upcoming titles “The Hill We Climb: Poems,” “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” and a special edition of her inauguration poem have all shot to the top of Amazon’s bestsellers list.

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Buccaneers 14, Chiefs 3: Rob Gronkowski scores another TD

Tampa Bay extended its lead after Tom Brady connected again with Rob Gronkowski on a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Penalties negated an interception by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu and a defensive stand that would have limited the Buccaneers to a field-goal attempt. Kansas City punter Tommy Townsend gifted Tampa Bay with a short field after shanking a punt for only 29 yards near his end zone.


Top photos from Super Bowl LV

Here are some of the best images from Super Bowl LV.

Tampa Bay's Rob Gronkowski reacts after scoring the first touchdown of Super Bowl LV.
Tampa Bay’s Rob Gronkowski reacts after scoring the first touchdown of Super Bowl LV between the Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes walks to the huddle during Super Bowl LV.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Click here for more.


Buccaneers 7, Chiefs 3: Ronald Jones stuffed at goal line on fourth down

Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu celebrates a goal-line stand against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu celebrates a goal-line stand against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Kansas City’s defense denied Tampa Bay a touchdown on a goal-line stand from the one-yard line in the middle of the second quarter.

Coach Bruce Arians challenged the official call that running back Ronald Jones did not break the plane on fourth down but was unsuccessful.

Earlier, the Chiefs allowed the Buccaneers to march from the 30-yard line, a drive that included a 31-yard completion from Tom Brady to receiver Mike Evans. Tampa Bay is running the ball effectively, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.


End of first quarter: Buccaneers 7, Chiefs 3

The defenses established themselves in the first quarter until Tampa Bay scored a late red-zone touchdown to lead 7-3 after the first 15 minutes.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has yet to find a rhythm, and has completed two of eight passes for nine yards and a 39.6 quarterback rating. He has 24 yards rushing in three carries. Tom Brady has completed six passes on seven attempts for 50 yards and a touchdown.


Buccaneers 7, Chiefs 3: Tom Brady connects with Rob Gonkowski for TD

Tom Brady threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski to give the Buccaneers a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter.

It capped off a 75-yard, eight play drive where Tampa Bay gained consistent yardage, including chunk plays of 16 yards, 15 yards and 11 yards.


Chiefs 3, Buccaneers 0 (first quarter)

Harrison Butker split the uprights on a 49-yard field goal for the game’s first score, giving the Chiefs a 3-0 lead.

It capped a 31-yard, eight-play drive that took up just over three minutes.


Chiefs vs. Buccaneers scoreless in first quarter

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones carries against the Kansas City Chiefs.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Two drives each, two punts.

Super Bowl LV has started off slow, with both offenses in the feeling-out stage. The Buccaneers initially showed life on their second drive, but a pitch reverse negated some momentum, and they were forced to punt again after Chiefs defensive lineman Frank Clark tackled Tom Brady for a six-yard loss.


Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church perform Super Bowl LV national anthem

Grammy nominees Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church collaborated to sing the national anthem prior to the kickoff of Super Bowl LV.

The performance started with a brief guitar intro by Church, who also sang the first verse by himself. With a slow, shuffling tempo, that portion of the song lasted 35 seconds.

Sullivan took over for the second verse, which lasted another 30 seconds.

From “the rockets red glare” forward, the two performers sang together, with Sullivan handling a lot of the big notes.

By the time the singers finished holding out the word “free” for 12 seconds and the song was over, 2 minutes and 23 seconds had elapsed. Earlier in the week, the over/under for the length of the anthem was set at 2 minutes, so anyone who took the “over” is a happy bettor right now.

Both performers did an excellent job, with no obvious flubbing of the words or hitting sour notes. None of the players or coaches shown on the CBS broadcast took a knee or raised a fist during the anthem.


Chiefs win the coin toss, defer to second half

The Kansas City Chiefs run onto the field before the start of Super Bowl LV.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The Kansas City Chiefs won the pregame coin toss after team captain Travis Kelce called heads.

The Chiefs deferred, which means the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will receive the opening kickoff.

The game is underway.


Chiefs and Buccaneers take the field

With kickoff less than 20 minutes away, the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have taken the field at Raymond James Stadium.

Tom Brady is looking to win his seventh Super Bowl title today while Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is looking to guide Kansas City to its second straight title.


Chiefs and Buccaneers inactives for Super Bowl LV

A look at the roster players who will not be in uniform tonight for Super Bowl LV.

Kansas City Chiefs

CB BoPete Keyes

RB Darwin Thompson

TE Ricky Seals-Jones

DE Tim Ward

DT Khalen Saunders

QB Matt Moore

CB Chris Lammons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Ryan Griffin

QB Drew Stanton

WR Justin Watson

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn

TE Antony Auclair

DL Khalil Davis

DL Jeremiah Ledbetter


KCBS legend Jim Hill is treating Super Bowl LV like any other Sunday. Well, almost

Jim Hill in front of Staples Center.
KCBS sportscaster Jim Hill, in front of Staples Center, is preparing to cover Super Bowl LV.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

For millions of viewers, the Super Bowl is the biggest and most anticipated sporting event of the year.

But for Jim Hill, the elder statesman of local TV sports coverage, it’s just another Sunday.

That becomes clear when the veteran KCBS sportscaster is asked how many Super Bowls he’s covered in his career.

“Gee, I don’t know,” Hill said in a phone interview earlier this week, after a long pause to consider the question. “I would say it goes back to 1985, maybe? I don’t really count. A lot of people like to go over the experiences they’ve had. I’ve covered large stuff, and I’d rather spend time covering as opposed to counting. I just like to go out and do it.”

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Child remains in critical condition after car crash involving Chiefs’ Britt Reid

A studio portrait of Britt Reid.
Chiefs outside linebackers coach Britt Reid, the son of head coach Andy Reid, was involved in a car crash Thursday that left a child in critical condition.
(Associated Press)

Some players and coaches have started to head onto the field for pregame stretches ahead of Super Bowl LV. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 PST.

One coach who will not be there is Kansas City Chiefs outside linebackers coach Britt Reid, son of coach Andy Reid, who did not make the trip because of his involvement in a vehicle crash Thursday night that left a 5-year-old girl with life-threatening injuries.

A family member who created a GoFundMe page that has generated more than $212,000 said the girl, Ariel, was still in critical condition.

Much of the focus this weekend has been on the matchup between the Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the story surrounding the incident continues to develop.


What if there’s a tie? Here are the overtime rules

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady gets ready to throw a ball.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady warms up before a game against the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 20.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

Super Bowl LI was looking like a blowout.

The Atlanta Falcons led the New England Patriots 28-3 midway through the third quarter before Tom Brady led the Patriots on an improbable comeback that resulted in something that had never happened before and hasn’t happened since.

A Super Bowl tied at the end of regulation.

We know how that one ended — Brady marched the Patriots down the field on the first possession of overtime and James White ran two yards into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

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‘This didn’t end well’: The year I assigned Leon Uris to cover the L.A. Super Bowl

Author Leon Uris in 1978.
Author Leon Uris wrote a “very good” Super Bowl XXI preview story for The Times. His story on the game, however, was “the least compelling $5,000 story ever” to run in the paper.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

As we watch Super Bowl LV, there will be an assumption that we will get giddy about Super Bowl LVI, where some team will play against Tom Brady. For the 2022 game, Brady will wear orthopedic shoes with Velcro and spikes. Nike will buy TV ads in senior-viewing time slots.

The truth is, in Los Angeles, we probably will be more fascinated than giddy. The Super Bowl will be returning to our backyard, but for many L.A. sports fans, the game triggers some cranky memories.

It does for me.

The Raiders and Rams left Los Angeles after the 1994 season. The Rams found Valhalla in St. Louis, near a giant arch that wasn’t a McDonald’s restaurant. The Raiders found theirs in beautiful downtown Oakland. No accounting for taste. Los Angeles never felt jilted. More amused and relieved. Bye-bye, Georgia Frontiere. See ya, Al Davis. Don’t let the door hit you in the ...

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Prediction: Chiefs will batter Tom Brady and Bucs in Super Bowl LV blowout

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady looks on before a game
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady looks on before a game against the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 3.
(Kevin Sabitus / Associated Press)

In an abomination spanning more than two decades, this Super Bowl prediction column has been wrong about XV times.

Sixteen out of 21 years, I have picked the wrong team. Eleven consecutive years, I struck out. Three straight times I picked the Buffalo Bills.

I have been wrong on so many occasions, gamblers have actually emailed me during Super Bowl week to ask for a preview of my pick so they could bet the other team.

As annual Super Bowl prediction columns go, you’re reading the worst of all time, the WOAT.

However, during all these years, there is one thing I have gotten right, and it involves the GOAT.

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Secret to stopping Patrick Mahomes? Bucs might want to copy Chargers’ strategy

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the ball.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws against the Chargers on Sept. 20 at SoFi Stadium.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

Everyone has a game plan ahead of their matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Once it’s put into motion, though, the creativity and sheer speed of the reigning Super Bowl champions’ offense typically unravels that strategy.

“I’m not paid to be a defensive coordinator,” Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill said, chuckling, when asked about how other teams scheme against them. “That’s above my pay grade.”

One defensive coordinator who’s experienced consistent success against the Chiefs is Gus Bradley, who recently joined the Las Vegas Raiders after four seasons with the Chargers.

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Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady Super Bowl LV matchup a clash of NFL eras

A chart of statistics comparing Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes
Breaking down the matchup between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes ahead of Super Bowl LV.
(Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)

An NFL season that looked as if it might never happen is ending in a way we might never see again.

Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady versus Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, a sports debate come to life.

More than a Lombardi Trophy is up for grabs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday. This is about a clash of eras, with the Lord of the Rings — Brady has a record six of them — looking to keep the greatest threat to the crown at bay.

So monumental is the quarterback matchup in this game that CBS analyst Tony Romo had to reach outside the sport for an apt analogy to describe the showdown at the most important position on the field. He turned to the NBA.

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Peyton Manning and others share their favorite stories about Bucs quarterback coach Clyde Christensen

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning talks with Clyde Christensen.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning talks with Clyde Christensen during a game in 2010.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

Some of the favorite NFL memories of longtime NFL offensive guru Clyde Christensen, currently quarterbacks coach in Tampa Bay, and his players:

30 minutes or less

Christensen’s favorite restaurant in Indianapolis was a nondescript pizza joint called Puccini’s. He’d go there every Friday night, without fail, and order the Ultimate Warrior, their version of the deluxe.

“He’d tell us, ‘Going to Puccini’s today. Coach Clyde’s paying,’” quarterback Peyton Manning recalled. “He’d call himself Coach Clyde, using the third person. He was always offering to buy us pizza.”

Well, that’s not exactly how Christensen remembers it.

“Here’s the real story,” he said. “I’d be sitting there at Puccini’s and Peyton would call. He’d say, ‘Hey, you at Puccini’s?’ I’d say, ‘Yeah, I am as a matter of fact.’ And he’d say, ‘Any chance you’d drop me by a little medium cheese on your way home?’ I’d tell him he was in the opposite direction and he’d say, ‘Can’t you just swing by?’ He still owes me about 40 bucks. Not to mention no tips.”

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How to make the best nachos for the Super Bowl

Animated illustration of loaded nachos
(Hanna Carter / For The Times)

When it’s a sports game night, an awards show night, a fun movie night or any other occasion that guarantees your attention will be trained on a television screen rather than on what’s on the plate in front of you, it’s nachos for dinner in our house. Easy to throw together quickly, it’s basically a salad of chips and toppings, the ideal food to snack on when your attention span is limited.

When my partner and I lived in New York, we’d spend at least three Sunday nights a month at one sports bar in our Upper Manhattan neighborhood. I always got the burger and he the nachos. These nachos were made of freshly fried chips topped with a free-flowing cheese sauce that definitely had Velveeta in it and a generous ladleful of chili, accompanied by the usual suspects of sour cream, salsa and guacamole. In between sips of beer and transfixed gazes on the bright screens overhead, these nachos were the perfect bar food.

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How Todd McNair and Ronald Jones connected in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones carries the ball.
(Mark LoMoglio / Associated Press)

Before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired him two years ago, Todd McNair wondered if he would ever again coach in college football or the NFL.

The former USC running backs coach had not worked in the industry since 2010, and he remains enmeshed in a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA that has spanned nearly 10 years.

That situation, though, was far from his mind this week.

McNair is preparing former Trojan Ronald Jones II and other Buccaneers running backs for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

“It’s out there,” he said of the lawsuit during a telephone interview, “but I’ve got a Super Bowl to win.”

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California’s next COVID-19 peril: Super Bowl as superspreader event. Can we learn from past?

Fans wait in line for an exhibit at the NFL Experience
Fans wait in line for an exhibit at the NFL Experience in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

In normal times, the Super Bowl is one of the country’s premier social occasions — bringing enthusiasts and nonfans alike together for hours of football-fueled festivities.

But in the era of COVID-19, officials and experts say Sunday’s game poses a tremendous risk, and that widespread large watch parties could imperil California’s precarious emergence from the worst wave of the pandemic.

“Don’t fumble this. We’re almost there,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary. “Let’s keep our guard up a little bit longer.”

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Will the pandemic take the fun out of Super Bowl LV? Advertisers are cautious

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady looks to pass over Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady looks to pass over Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon during a game on Nov. 29.
(Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

Former ad executive Donny Deutsch knows the power of an effective Super Bowl commercial.

In 2011, Deutsch’s New York-based agency delivered a spot showing a kid in a Darth Vader costume exerting his powers (with the help of his father’s keyless ignition control) over a Volkswagen Passat. The entertaining minute received plenty of free airtime and online shares after the game.

But if Deutsch were still in the ad business and advising clients about Super Bowl LV, his advice would be: Stay away. He believes the public is still emotionally raw over a year filled with a pandemic, social justice protests and an ugly election campaign that was capped with a jaw-dropping attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

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Before he was ‘Big Red,’ Andy Reid lived the big life with his friends in L.A.

VIDEO | 13:16
Andy Reid’s old friends talk about growing up with him in L.A.

Andy Reid’s childhood friends from his time growing up in Los Angeles share old stories about the Kansas City Chiefs coach.

Ted Pallas has an autograph from Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, a sort of signature he takes everywhere he goes. It’s an inch-long, diagonal scar just above the bridge of his nose — a different kind of Lombardi Trophy from their childhood in the Los Angeles neighborhood near John Marshall High.

“When we were 8 years old, we were horsing around in the bedroom of my house, and we lived maybe six doors apart from each other,” said Pallas, who now lives in Del Mar. “We’re screwing around, he picks me up, throws me across the room, and I hit the corner of my desk.”

In the NFL, that (mostly) gentle giant is Andy Reid, a legendary coach who one day will be enshrined in Canton.

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Tom Brady lifted Buccaneers just by being Tom Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady pumps his fists on the field.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reacts after beating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game on Jan. 24.
(Msatt Ludtke / Associated Press)

After a failed drive in the third quarter of an October “Thursday Night Football” game against the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady walked off the sideline, took off his helmet and hurled profanities at his offensive linemen.

On third-and-27, Brady misfired on a pass to receiver Mike Evans, took a hit from linebacker Khalil Mack and the referees called a holding penalty. It personified what Fox announcer Troy Aikman called “an ugly possession.” Still, despite the slew of mistakes, the Buccaneers lost by only one point.

Three months later, as Tampa Bay’s performance sharpened, the Buccaneers are now one win from becoming Super Bowl champions at their home stadium. And the same offensive line that bore the brunt of Brady’s ire is now thanking him for changing their direction.

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Here are the 2021 Super Bowl commercials with celebrity cameos (so far)

For Super Bowl LV fans who have little interest in the actual game and care more about its commercials, you’ve come to the right place.

After a year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, even the big-game commercials are going to be a little different this year. Legacy advertisers such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Budweiser have opted out of advertising during Sunday’s game, pouring their cash into philanthropic efforts instead of splashy ad campaigns. But that left plenty of airtime for newcomers to the Super Bowl ad blitz.

One thing is certain: The stars are still coming out to play.

Fully represented this year as usual: the celebrity cameos that make the ads conversation starters — or occasionally a questionable move in the star’s career.

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Roger Kingdom aims to get Buccaneers over last hurdle for a Super Bowl title

Roger Kingdom clears a hurdle in the men's 110-meter hurdles semifinal with competitors nearby.
Roger Kingdom clears a hurdle on the way to winning the men’s 110-meter hurdles semifinal at the Seoul Olympics in September 1988.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

The Super Bowl features a few players fast enough to leave smoldering scorch marks on the Raymond James Stadium grass — among them receivers Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman of Kansas City, and Scotty Miller of Tampa Bay. They’re the kind of talent that leave evaluators slapping their foreheads and staring at their stopwatches in disbelief.

But the most decorated speedster of them all will be a coach in the game, and it’s not Bruce Arians or Andy Reid.

The speed and conditioning coach for the Buccaneers is Olympian Roger Kingdom, who was on Arians’ Arizona Cardinals staff and followed him to Tampa.

Kingdom, 58, won the gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the Summer Games in Los Angeles in 1984, and again four years later in Seoul.

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LeSean McCoy and Le’Veon Bell don’t mind watching the Super Bowl from the bench

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeSean McCoy runs past Minnesota Vikings inside linebacker Todd Davis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeSean McCoy runs past Minnesota Vikings inside linebacker Todd Davis during a game on Dec. 13.
(Alex Menendez / Associated Press)

Had their respective teams made the Super Bowl in 2017, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeSean McCoy and Kansas City Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell would have been featured heavily in the offensive game plan.

But on Sunday, both will take a minimal role, as they have all season. And they are fine with that, they said.

Gone are the days when Bell and McCoy both rushed for more than 1,000 yards and were selected to the Pro Bowl for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills, respectively, four years ago. Instead the two this season served as mentors to younger players.

Bell, 28, rushed for 328 yards and two touchdowns in 11 regular-season games for the Chiefs. McCoy, 32, rushed for just 31 yards in 10 games. In the NFC championship against the Green Bay Packers, McCoy played only one offensive snap.

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No feuding. No fireworks. No fun. Super Bowl Week has become Super Bowl Weak

A billboard advertising Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium
A sign for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Welcome to Super Bowl Weak.

The quarterbacks admire each other. The coaches relate to each other. Insults are countered by shrugs. Barbs are met with blessings. Bulletin boards are empty. Nobody is guaranteeing anything, all of which guarantees one thing.

This has been the worst week in the Super Bowl’s 55-year history.

There’s no feuding, no fireworks, no fun.

For a variety of reasons — mostly pandemic related — Super Bowl LV has become Super Bowl ZZ.

Admit it, some of you didn’t even remember the game was Sunday. Or maybe you had no idea who’s playing other than it’s Tom Brady against somebody.

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Expect plenty of Super Bowl trickery and scheming from Chiefs vs. Bucs

Chiefs coach Andy Reid watches quarterback Patrick Mahomes warm up.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, right, watches quarterback Patrick Mahomes warm up before Kansas City’s divisional playoff win over the Cleveland Browns last month.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

The shovel passes. The motions. The misdirections.

When the Kansas City Chiefs creep near the goal line, there’s no shortage of schemes and strategies they’ll use to score touchdowns. It’s something coach Andy Reid said he and his staff wanted to continue to do, even if he was raised in an era of simple power runs and I-formations.

“We try to have fun with it the best we can,” Reid said ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We try to stay creative and have fun with it.”

The trickery saw its biggest audience in last year’s Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, when four players in the backfield spun 360 degrees before running back Damien Williams took a direct snap and ran four yards to set up a touchdown two plays later.

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From Peyton Manning to Tom Brady, Clyde Christensen has a quarterback connection

Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen speaks with Tom Brady.
Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen is regarded by legions of NFL quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, as the best in the business.
(Danny Karnik / Associated Press)

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers boarded their buses last Sunday to leave Lambeau Field, where they had just upset the Green Bay Packers to earn a trip to Super Bowl LV, Tom Brady assumed his regular seat across the aisle from quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen.

Even in the age of social distancing, Brady and Christensen are inseparable — two legends laser-focused on the same prize.

“We’re sitting in the back of the bus, and I’m looking up at all these signs saying Title Town and Lambeau Field,” Christensen said. “And our talk as we were driving out was, ‘Why us? How does this happen?’ The playoffs are a time when you gratefully retrospect your life. You think about how we got here, how many people helped us along the way. … How lucky am I?”

In a phone call this week, Brady said: “We sit next to each other on the bus every road game. He and I get a chance to talk about everything that happened in the game. Kind of our little therapy session, win or lose. He’s got great perspective. When I’m sitting there listening, I’m very much — the story isn’t about me — but for him to say, ‘How lucky am I,’ I feel the same way. How lucky am I?”

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Dr. Fauci warns against Super Bowl parties: ‘Enjoy the game’ with household only

Dr. Anthony Fauci is reluctant to reveal his Super Bowl predictions, but he readily shared his warning on the spread of COVID-19 if Americans proceed with unsafe football festivities this Sunday.

Appearing on the “Today” show Wednesday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director discouraged NFL fans and party enthusiasts from gathering amid an unrelenting pandemic to watch Super Bowl LV, a near-national holiday during which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Every time we do have something like this, there always is a spike — be it a holiday, Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving,” Fauci told Savannah Guthrie. “As you mentioned, Super Bowl is a big deal in the United States.

“Enjoy the game, watch it on television, but do it with the immediate members of your family, the people in your household,” he said. “As much fun as it is to get together in a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that.”

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Tampa Bay, not Los Angeles, is Titletown, U.S.A., baby! says Dick Vitale

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale shows off his Tampa Bay sports gear.
ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale makes no secret of his fandom for Tampa Bay sports teams.
(Courtesy of Dick Vitale)

High above Raymond James Stadium, the First Fan of Tampa pro sports could provide his own off-air commentary Sunday, the volume rising inside his suite with every Tom Brady pass in the Super Bowl.

The PTPer is doing his thing, baby! It’s an M&Mer and the Chiefs need to get a T.O.! We’ve got the All-Rolls Royce Team and they’ve got the Dow Jonesers. This is no knee-knocker. We’re going to bring the W!

It won’t be anything Dick Vitale hasn’t said before about the local teams he’s adopted as his own. The veteran ESPN college basketball analyst, who lives in nearby Lakewood Ranch, has become an ambassador for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lightning and Rays, savoring a recent run of success unlike any other in the city’s history.

“It’s Titletown U.S.A. right now,” Vitale, 81, said in a telephone interview.

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How the NFL used tracking tags to keep coronavirus from derailing season

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes prepares to take a snap
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes prepares to take a snap during a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 29.
(Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings increased their game-day buses from five to 11, affording their players plenty of room for social distancing. The Baltimore Ravens chartered a second airplane, giving them 600 seats for a traveling party of 120. The Rams reconfigured their SoFi Stadium locker room so that, for instance, no two receivers dress next to each other.

The NFL will play its final game of the season Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. It’s a finish line many people thought unreachable amid the COVID-19 pandemic, especially because the league was operating outside of a bubble. But pro football persisted, making changes both simple and sophisticated to prevent a crippling spread of the virus.

Whereas the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball played compressed and abbreviated seasons, the NFL played a full schedule in the traditional 17 weeks, followed by an uninterrupted slate of postseason games. There were plenty of hiccups, including coronavirus outbreaks on multiple teams, but not one of the 256 games was canceled.

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Chiefs vs. Buccaneers: How the Super Bowl LV teams match up

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin attempts to make a catch.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin attempts to make a catch between Kansas City’s Rashad Fenton, left, and Juan Thornhill during the Chiefs’ win on Nov. 29.
(Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

Breaking down the on-field matchups for Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs (16-2) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-5) in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., at 3:30 p.m. PST. (TV: CBS)

Chiefs pass offense vs. Buccaneers pass defense

The biggest key for the Chiefs is they can’t go backward. That means no giving up sacks, and no holding calls. Not easy when the Buccaneers apply pressure off the edge with Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett, and Kansas City is playing with two backup tackles. Patrick Mahomes can drop way back, extend plays, then throw on a rope with the flick of a wrist. The Chiefs will look to take the edge off that pass rush by emphasizing the quick-passing game, meaning the ball is thrown within 2.5 seconds, and with an up-tempo offense that will cause that pass rush to wane in the fourth or fifth play of a drive. EDGE: Chiefs

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Super Bowl LV prop bets: Wager on nuptials, nostrils and more

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady points during a game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady gestures during a game against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 8.
(Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press)

Tom Brady is 43 years old. He will play in his 10th Super Bowl on Sunday when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Both of those facts are sure to be mentioned during CBS’ broadcast of the big game.

But which one will be brought up first?

Odds are, Jim Nantz, Tony Romo or any of their on-air colleagues will mention the number of times Brady has played for the NFL championship (5-7 odds from before speaking about the number of times the GOAT quarterback has been around the sun (1-1 odds).

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Everything you need to know about Super Bowl LV

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes in their uniforms on the field in separate photos.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, left, and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
(Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press; Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

Super Bowl LV will start at 3:30 p.m. PST on Sunday. It will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here’s everything you need to know about the game.

What channel will the Super Bowl be on?

The game will be broadcast by CBS (Channel 2 in the Los Angeles market) and ESPN Desportes.

Where can I stream the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl LV can be streamed through the following connected TV, iOS and Android applications:

How can I listen to the Super Bowl?

You can listen to the Super Bowl on the following providers:

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Peyton Manning reenacts Super Bowl I with a jetpack and an off-target touchdown pass

Peyton Manning wears a jet pack on the field.
Peyton Manning wears a jet pack to simulate a portion of the Super Bowl I halftime show.

When he was playing in Super Bowls, Peyton Manning never got a chance to watch the halftime shows. But he does now.

In his ESPN+ show “Peyton’s Places,” the legendary quarterback journeys through NFL history to show viewers in his humorous way the people, places and situations that helped form the game. In an episode that will debut Sunday, the day the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Manning explores the history of the Super Bowl halftime show — and reenacts the pageantry and silliness of the Super Bowl I version.

Manning spoke this week to Times NFL writer Sam Farmer about the history of halftime shows.

In the quarterback’s words:

Can you believe that Fox once had a head-to-head showdown with the NFL?

It was almost 30 years ago, when Washington was playing Buffalo in the Super Bowl on CBS, when Fox featured a live performance of “In Living Color” at the same time as the halftime show. They had a lot of football-themed skits. Everybody switched over to this fledgling network to watch.

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