Tampa, Florida – Raymond James Stadium was the site where history was made on Sunday as the greatest of all-time squared off against the greatest of this time. When the dust settled at the end of the day, Tom Brady lifted his seventh Lombardi trophy as he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their second franchise Super Bowl. Brady also took home his fifth Super Bowl MVP, the most ever in NFL history, and his seventh ring now gives him more championships than any other NFL franchise.
The actual game started off slow, with a tentative first quarter that saw three straight punts until the Chiefs finally managed a field goal on the fourth drive of the game. Brady answered on the very next drive with a balanced attack that carved its way through the Kansas City defense. An eight-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski gave the tandem the most Super Bowl touchdowns in NFL history, a number they would add to in the second quarter when Brady hit Gronk again to put the Bucs up 14-3.
The remainder of the game was dominated by Tampa, as Brady picked apart the Chiefs secondary with ease. He kept them off-balanced all game long with a wide arsenal of plays and he ended the night with 201 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. While the Bucs kept scoring touchdowns, the Tampa defense continued to hold the high octane Chiefs offense to field goals. It was the first time a Patrick Mahomes led team has not scored a touchdown in a game.
The Chiefs struggled off the bat as the Tampa pass rush proved to be too much for this patchwork offensive line. Mahomes was intercepted twice and sacked three times overall, as the battle in the trenches was the difference maker as it so often is. Kansas City seemed distracted all game long, as did Andy Reid who was uncharacteristically predictable and boring with his play calling. The news earlier in the week of his son Britt Reid’s DUI accident that currently has a young victim in critical condition, seemed to be weighing on the conscience of the entire organization.
For Tampa Bay’s front office it proved their conviction in their offseason and mid-season acquisitions. Tampa was only one of two teams in pursuit of the 43-year old Tom Brady, and many thought they overpaid when they landed him as their new starting quarterback. Brady and the Bucs management pieced together a motley crew of rejected players, including Brady’s old friend Rob Gronkowski who he coerced out of retirement, recently released running back Leonard Fournette, and former star wide receiver Antonio Brown. All three acquisitions scored touchdowns in the Super Bowl.
This Super Bowl is a lesson in leadership. From Brady, who is now unquestionably one of the greatest leaders in the history of professional sports, to head coach Bruce Arians, who put together a coaching staff that shut down a team that many thought would be a dynasty. Arians has three coordinators and an assistant head coach on his staff that are African-American and two full-time coaches who are female. Tampa Bay has formed a winning and diverse culture in their organization, and are a fitting and well-deserving Super Bowl Champion.