Road to the Super Bowl: What No One Saw Coming

Road to the Super Bowl: What No One Saw Coming

The Super Bowl LV took place this past Sunday in Tampa, Florida. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs were looking to win back-to-back championships against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What’s interesting about this year’s big game is arguably, the faceoff between potentially the two greatest quarterbacks of all time, with many referring to the game as the “GOAT vs the Kid”, kid being the name of a young goat. 

Last season, Mahomes led the Chiefs with an impressive 12-4-0 record. This year they became a more dominant front, picking up 14 wins and only two losses. The Chiefs had faced off with the Buccaneers only one time this season in a last-minute fight-to-the-finish regular season game. In the fourth quarter of this game, Brady threw two touchdown passes to lead his team back in the game. But with two second-half interceptions, Mahomes outplayed Brady and held the ball in the last quarter to clinch the win at 27-24. Naturally, many saw the big game this year going either way. To overlook the Chiefs and only regard Mahomes is a rookie mistake. Their offensive line is one of the best in the NFL and they have one of the most explosive players in the NFL with Tyreek Hill as wide receiver, not to mention the dominant threat in tight end Travis Kelce. There is no doubt about it, the Chiefs went into the game looking to use all of these to their advantage.   

Brady’s first season with the Buccaneers could have started better, but the end is what matters, and a ticket to the Super Bowl is always cause to celebrate. With a slightly lower record of 11-5-0, they clinched the Wild Card game against the Washington Football team and proceeded to win against the Saints and Packers for the NFC title. However, the Buccaneers’ struggle with inconsistent office was something they had to endure as the season continued. Their only faceoff with the Chiefs came after two home losses: a brutal 38-3 loss against the Saints and a loss to the LA Rams. But after this struggle, they haven’t looked back: changing their tactics, the team was able to win by more than 10 points against the Lions, Falcons and the Saints to advance to the NFC championship.  

The New England Patriots, formerly led by Brady himself, was the last NFL team to win two Super Bowls in back-to-back years. Following the Chiefs’ win in 2020, this year could have been the test for Mahomes to see if he truly had the potential to match Brady’s standing. On the flip side, after Brady’s shocking exit from the New England Patriots, winning the Super Bowl with a completely different team could solidify his place as the greatest of all time. But the game played out like no one had imagined. 

Ironically, although both teams having the best offenses of the entire NFL, the first half was more of a defensive game. With nothing on the scoreboard in the first quarter until the last few minutes, the Chiefs finally had a field goal opportunity, and some penalties led to a last-minute touchdown for the Buccaneers. The Chiefs continued to make many defensive mistakes that cost them another touchdown in the second quarter, creating an eleven-point margin going into the second half. As the margin continued to grow, many fans held out hope that the Chiefs could overcome it just as they’ve had in the past, especially when looking back to their road to the Super Bowl last year. The third quarter further exposed the Buccaneers’ dominant position with Brady continuing to put points on the board. Mahomes, on the other hand could only muster up a field goal opportunity as his offensive line struggled to protect him and the Buccaneers’ defense taking out and even double-teaming Kelce and Hill. In the final quarter, the Chiefs continued to attack but the Buccaneers’ defense really came out to play and did what no other team in the NFL has done: hand Mahomes his first double-digit loss since coming into the NFL.  

All in all, both teams deserved to be in the big game. The Buccaneers showed more hustle and heart and kept their composure while playing against the powerful Chiefs. But the Chiefs aren’t done yet, it is clear that they are still a bright young team that has more opportunities in years to come. If Mahomes continues improving he could very well be a candidate for one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Brady, on the other hand, was all smiles after the game, announcing his decision to continue playing, all while adding a 7th ring to his record collection. 

About The Author

Samira Santana

Santana (Biomedical Engineering '23) is part of the Vector writing team. "I enjoy cooking, watching sports, and reading. The Vector gives me an opportunity not only to express myself, but to also share what’s happening in the world and be able to connect with my community."

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