Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes go head-to-head on Sunday in a possible Super Bowl classic that pits the best quarterback in NFL historical past in opposition to the pretender to his throne.
After an NFL season performed out in opposition to the backdrop of COVID-19, Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers will tackle Mahomes and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on the Raymond James Stadium.
The greatest occasion on the American sporting calendar kicks off at 6:30 p.m. native time (2330 GMT), with a lowered capability crowd of 25,000 and a US tv viewers of round 100 million anticipated to tune in.
A dream season finale sees the 43-year-old Brady attempting to win a seventh NFL championship in opposition to the 25-year-old Mahomes, who’s hoping to guide the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowls.
A victory for Brady and the Buccaneers would etch one other inconceivable chapter in a profession that has spanned 21 seasons.
The veteran quarterback has superior to the tenth Super Bowl of his profession in his first season with the Buccaneers after ending his two-decade stick with the New England Patriots final March.
“It’s been an incredible team effort throughout my life on and off the field,” mentioned Brady, who will grow to be the oldest participant ever to begin in a Super Bowl.
“I’ve tried to play my ass off every week — and I’m still trying to do it.”
A win for Mahomes, nevertheless, would mark a symbolic passing of the torch from essentially the most profitable quarterback in NFL historical past to the person tipped by many as a possible successor.
While the Chiefs have been put in as favorites, the Buccaneers can have the benefit of taking part in of their house area.
The Bucs received the correct to be the primary crew ever to play a Super Bowl at their very own stadium after beating the Green Bay Packers on the street within the NFC Championship recreation at Lambeau Field two weeks in the past.
The crew checked right into a resort in Tampa Bay on Saturday for closing conferences earlier than Sunday’s showdown.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians — who got here out of retirement to take the Tampa Bay job in 2019 — mentioned Saturday his crew would require no motivational speeches forward of the sport.
“Like I told them, if you need a speech to get fired up to play football, you’re in the wrong game,” mentioned Arians, who at 68 might grow to be the oldest head coach to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Chiefs in the meantime flew to Tampa on Saturday beneath a cloud after assistant coach Britt Reid was concerned in a site visitors accident on Thursday that left two youngsters injured, one in all them severely.
Reid, the son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, is being investigated for doable driving beneath the affect after telling cops on the scene of the crash he had been consuming.
The Chiefs confirmed Britt Reid’s involvement within the accident however have up to now declined additional remark.
Head coach Andy Reid confirmed no signal that the incident involving his son — who has a historical past of drug and driving offenses — was weighing on his crew’s Super Bowl preparations.
“Good energy,” Andy Reid mentioned after a closing walkthrough on Saturday. “It’s important to have that. This was just kind of a review day, so we go back through all the situations and make sure we have all those covered.”
Watch occasion worry
Sunday’s Super Bowl brings the curtain down on an NFL season that has been accomplished efficiently regardless of a nationwide coronavirus pandemic that has surged uncontrolled at completely different instances.
While COVID-19 pressured a number of video games to be postponed, and in a single case required a crew to begin a recreation with no acknowledged quarterback, the league’s security protocols have largely held agency.
While most video games this season passed off in empty stadiums, restricted numbers of followers have been allowed into some venues.
Sunday’s recreation will host a socially distanced crowd of round 25,000 in a venue which usually holds round 65,000 spectators.
The crowd will embrace 7,500 vaccinated frontline well being employees who’ve been invited to attend by the NFL.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to US President Joe Biden, has in the meantime urged Americans to not collect for events for worry of inflicting a resurgence of the virus.
“As much fun as it is to get together for a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that,” Fauci mentioned. “Watch the game and enjoy it, but do it with your family or the people in your household.”
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