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I didn’t see that coming

Photo courtesy of CBS Sports

I didn’t see that coming
February 17
13:33 2021

The Super Bowl did not turn out the way that many of us predicted. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in blowout fashion. The 31-9 victory by the Bucs in their home stadium was really a total shock.

At the age of 43, Tom Brady now has seven Super Bowl rings. Brady now has more Super Bowl wins than any single franchise in the NFL. When you say that out loud, it still doesn’t sound accurate, but it is. For him to accomplish this in his first season in Tampa is a credit to Brady.

The run that the Bucs had during the playoffs is quite remarkable and reminds me of the run the New York Giants had in 2007 in route to their Super Bowl victory over the then undefeated New England Patriots.  

Tampa beat an up-and-coming Washington Football Team with a great defense in the Wild Card round 31-23. Next, they faced the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional round. Tampa had lost the previous two meetings against the Saints in the regular season, but found a way to pull out the win in New Orleans 30-20. Tampa dismantled Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay back in October, so the Packers were looking for a little revenge. Once again Brady beat Rodgers, the NFL MVP, 31-26 in the NFC Conference Championship game, surprising many people and analysts.

Going into the Super Bowl, it seemed like almost a foregone conclusion that the Chiefs were primed to be the back-to-back champions. The Chiefs escaped the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional round and were too much for Buffalo in the AFC Championship game. The Super Bowl was supposed to be another stepping stone in the dynasty path for Kansas City; however, Tampa Bay thought otherwise.

With the weapons Tampa Bay had on offense, coupled with their defensive personnel, I figured the game would be closer than most people thought. I did not think the Tampa defense, led by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, was going to be able to handle the Kansas City offense the way they did.

The Tampa defense held Patrick Mahomes and company without a touchdown for the first time in his short career. Earlier this season, the Chiefs defeated the Bucs in a tight ball game, and it seems Bowles put together the perfect game plan to defend Kansas City.

In the first meeting, Chiefs wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, accumulated 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns. The Chiefs won the game, but I think the defensive staff from Tampa learned a lot from the loss. If the two teams hadn’t played in the regular season, I am not sure if Todd Bowles and his staff would have been able to formulate such a terrific plan of attack for the Super Bowl. The firsthand knowledge they gained from the loss was more valuable than actually winning the game, in my opinion.

I knew the Bucs would be an improved team from a year ago; however, I thought it would take a year for them to gel as a team. With no offseason and a new quarterback, I never imagined Tampa would put it all together to win it all.

This win for Brady doesn’t make Belichick look that good. Not only does it bolster the argument that Brady was the more valuable piece of that duo, but it also makes Belichick look foolish as a general manager as he essentially let Brady go. The Patriots went from perennial championship contenders to a sub .500 team and out of the playoffs all together.

Brady was already heralded as the greatest quarterback of all time and now with seven rings, it’s going to be hard to debate that. When he was in New England, people could give credit to Belichick instead of Brady. Now that he has won outside of New England, what argument can you make against him being atop the list of greatest quarterbacks?

I have heard people saying it was the defense that won the game against the Chiefs. I agree that the defense deserves more credit than they have received, but you have to give Brady his credit as well. Brady was 21/29 for 201 yards and three  touchdowns. Those numbers don’t overwhelm you, but he didn’t make mistakes and capitalized on every scoring opportunity early in the game that seemed to demoralize the Chiefs.

I will admit that I don’t agree with Brady being named MVP of the game. As good as he was in the game, I feel someone on that defense should have won the award. If it were possible, I would actually give the award to Bowles for his stellar defensive strategy that totally neutralized the Chiefs’ offensive attack.

What shocked me the most was how badly Chiefs coach Andy Reid was out-coached in the game. Historically, Reid has been one of the most innovative coaches in the league when it comes to play calling. For him not to make any adjustments throughout the game was surprising. He was thoroughly out-coached and that was the first time in a long time that I have uttered those words about Reid.

The thing I didn’t like was the venom spewed against Mahomes after the loss in the Super Bowl. “Overrated,” “Not that good,” and “His teammates make him look good” were things I saw people say on social media. Those quotes were actually the appropriate ones, as there were several others that I saw that I could not write in print.

No, Mahomes did not play his best game on Super Bowl Sunday. You can’t place all of the blame on him for that. The Tampa defense, the injuries to the offensive line, and his skill position players dropping passes, all contributed to Mahomes’ shortcomings during the Super Bowl.

He is still the best in the league, in my opinion, and it’s too bad he lost this game because if he would have won, the narrative for his career would have been different. He still has ample chances to win multiple Super Bowls, it just would have made a great arguing point when discussing his legacy once his career is over. To say you have beaten Brady in the big game is something only two quarterbacks can say.  

Eli Manning and Nick Foles are the only two quarterbacks to defeat Brady in the Super Bowl. The two victories Manning has over Brady in the Super Bowl essentially made him a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. For Foles, his win over Brady resulted in a statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field. Needless to say, if Mahomes pulled off the same feat, it would have catapulted his career even higher than it already is.

It will be interesting to see how these two teams fare next season. I am also interested in what other teams will do in free agency and the draft to try and compete against the Bucs and Chiefs. 

This is why the NFL is the nation’s most popular sport. The intrigue never stops all year.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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