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Tom Brady wins seventh Super Bowl as Buccaneers crush Chiefs 31-9

Tampa Bay's Rob Gronkowski celebrates his touchdown with Mike Evans and quarterback Tom Brady (12).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski celebrates with Tom Brady (12) and Mike Evans after scoring one of his two touchdowns against Kansas City in Super Bowl LV.
(Mark LoMoglio / Associated Press)

The most otherworldly of NFL seasons ended Sunday in the most familiar of ways.

With Tom Brady lifting the Lombardi Trophy.

Billed as a Super Bowl matchup for the ages — Brady versus Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes — it turned out to be a victory for the aged, as the 43-year-old Tampa Bay quarterback outplayed the upstart superstar 18 years his junior to win, 31-9, and secure an unprecedented seventh ring.

“You want to get this far, you’ve got to get the job done,” Brady said on a videoconference. “We did it.”

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Brady threw three touchdown passes, no interceptions, and was named the game’s most valuable player. He was the most celebrated acquisition of the NFL offseason, signing with the Buccaneers after two decades and six Super Bowl victories in New England.

“It’s been an amazing year,” he said. “We got off to a good start, 7-2, then we had a little rough stretch where we kind of found our identity, and we played a lot better football in December and January.”

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs failed to reach the end zone in any of their 11 possessions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 2021.

No doubt to the relief of Tampa Bay fans, Brady said during the trophy presentation, “I’ll be back.”

The pandemic season ended in pure pandemonium as confetti rained at Raymond James Stadium at the end of a historic game, as Tampa Bay was the first team to play a Super Bowl on its home field.

This Super Bowl originally was going to be held in Los Angeles but was awarded to Tampa because of SoFi Stadium construction delays. Next year, L.A. will play host to the Super Bowl for the first time since the Rose Bowl staged one at the end of the 1993 season.

The Buccaneers, who were 3½-point underdogs, clinched the second championship in club history and added to the stockpile of “Champa Bay,” which in the last six months won a Stanley Cup and reached the World Series before losing to the Dodgers.

The Buccaneers became the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl at their home field.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

The game marked the first time the Chiefs suffered a double-digit defeat with Mahomes at quarterback. Not since 2016 at Texas Tech had Mahomes started and lost a game by more than one score.

“They were the better team today,” said Mahomes, who had no touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 52.3. “They beat us pretty good.”

Mahomes had a big game here in a 27-24 win in November, but this time Kansas City was playing with backups at both tackle spots, and they were no match for the ferocious pass rush of the Buccaneers. According to ESPN, Mahomes (29 pressures) was under more heat than any quarterback in Super Bowl history, surpassing the 25 pressures on Buffalo’s Jim Kelly in Super Bowl XXVI.

Conversely, Brady was pressured four times by the pass rush — the fewest in any of his 10 Super Bowls. Much of that was because of the effectiveness of the Tampa Bay ground game. The Buccaneers’ Leonard Fournette rushed for a game-high 89 yards in 16 carries, including a 27-yard touchdown.

Kansas City converted just three of 13 third downs. Chiefs coach Andy Reid praised Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and blamed himself for the lack of production.

Here are some of the best photos from the 2021 Super Bowl, featuring Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I could have done a whole lot better to put these guys in position to make plays,” Reid said. “It just didn’t work. Give credit to Todd for the job he did. He got us.”

Reid’s 35-year-old son, Britt, who coaches outside linebackers for the Chiefs, was back in Kansas City in a hospital after allegedly causing a three-car collision on Thursday night that left a 5-year-old child critically injured. Britt Reid reportedly told an officer at the scene that he had between two and three drinks and was on a prescription for Adderall.

“I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t bleed for the people involved in it,” Andy Reid said.

Asked if the situation was a distraction, he said: “We put the game plan in the week before, so the distraction wasn’t a distraction as far as the game plan goes. Football standpoint, two different things. I don’t think that was the problem.”

Brady threw two touchdowns to tight end Rob Gronkowski, his old teammate from New England. The tandem eclipsed San Francisco’s Joe Montana and Jerry Rice as the most prolific quarterback-receiver duo in postseason history.

Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to play with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, and the tight end showed his value with two touchdowns in Super Bowl win.

In this game of NFL poker, a pair (Brady and Gronkowski) beat a one-of-a-kind (Mahomes), and there was no full house. There were 25,000 spectators at Raymond James Stadium — 7,500 of them vaccinated first responders who were guests of the league — and the fans were separated by cardboard cutouts occupying the rest of the seats.

That was yet another reminder of what a strange season this has been, with the NFL somehow completing a full slate of games without a bubble, staging games against a backdrop of empty seats and fake crowd noise. There wasn’t a single cancellation.

It was the first Super Bowl victory as a head coach for Bruce Arians, who two years ago had retired (for a second time) and was working as a color analyst for CBS, the network that broadcast Sunday’s game. His entire family came in for the game, including his mother, who is in her 90s.

“I had a great morning with my 2-year-old grandson in the backyard, pushing him on the swing,” said Arians, 68. “Then we came to the game.”

And, against all predictions, that turned out to be a walk in the park.

Here are some moments from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2021 that you might have missed.


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