He’s 20 years and 346 video games into essentially the most profitable profession in NFL historical past, however Tom Brady nonetheless is not completed profitable Super Bowls.
The 43-year-old added to his document with a seventh title on Sunday, guiding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their second league crown with a 31-9 win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV.
What was anticipated to be the 25-year-old quarterback’s coronation as Brady’s logical successor (the Chiefs had been slight favorites to repeat) as an alternative changed into one of many largest assertion video games the league has ever seen.
Brady not solely proved he can win with out New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, his boss for his first 9 Super Bowl appearances, however the recreation’s MVP concurrently gave clear arguments each for and in opposition to retirement.
On one hand, Brady re-established that he has completely nothing left to show, having gained extra Super Bowls than each NFL crew together with the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (each six).
Then once more, why would Brady retire now when he is nonetheless able to tossing three touchdowns in a Super Bowl victory? Besides, he nonetheless has one season left on the two-year, $50 million contract he signed with Tampa Bay again in March – his first foray into free company after 20 NFL seasons.
‘Yeah, we’re coming again’ Brady mentioned when requested about retirement. ‘You already knew that.’
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady kisses spouse Gisele Bundchen after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9
Carlton Davis #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts as confetti falls after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs
Tom Brady holds the Lombardi Trophy with daughter Vivian as he is flanked by his two sons after profitable Super Bowl LV MVP
Brady hoists the Lombardi trophy as confetti rains down on the sphere at Raymond James Stadium
Gisele Bundchen waits for husband Tom Brady in one among his branded shirts following Super Bowl LV in Tampa on Sunday
A streaker sporting a hot-pink onesie eluded safety and slid into the top zone with 5:03 left within the recreation
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman Ryan Jensen celebrates with his household after profitable the Super Bowl LV
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with his daughter Vivian Brady after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs
Rob Gronkowski (left) and Tom Brady (proper) have now gained 4 NFL titles collectively, together with three with New England
The script was a well-known one for Brady, who threw landing passes to 2 former Patriots teammates: tight finish Rob Gronkowski (two) and vast receiver Antonio Brown (one). ‘Congratulations to the best of all time,’ learn a tweet from the Patriots account after the sport. ‘And Gronk, watch out with that trophy…’
After some early struggles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady discovered Rob Gronkowski on a pair of touchdowns
Tanner Hudson #88 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts as confetti falls after defeating the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV
Rob Gronkowski caught two extra touchdowns from Tom Brady to go together with the three Super Bowl scores he had in New England
Andrew Adams #26 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts as confetti falls on the turf at Raymond James Stadium
That’s not Bill Belichick: In their first season working collectively, Bucs coach Bruce Arians and Tom Brady gained an NFL title
Brady and spouse Gisele Bundchen share a kiss amid the confetti following Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
A pissed off Patrick Mahomes returns to the sideline within the second quarter of Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa
Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates Shaquil Barrett and Ndamukong Suh take down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Rob Gronkowski now has 5 profession landing receptions after hauling in a pair from Brady within the first half on Sunday
The script was a well-known one for Brady, who threw landing passes to 2 former Patriots teammates: tight finish Rob Gronkowski (two) and vast receiver Antonio Brown (one).
‘Congratulations to the best of all time,’ learn a tweet from the Patriots account after the sport. ‘And Gronk, watch out with that trophy…’
Brady additionally broke his personal mark for oldest participant to win a Super Bowl and joins Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the one quarterbacks to win one with a number of franchises.
The Buccaneers (15-5) gained their second NFL title and first in 18 years whereas changing into the primary crew to play the large recreation at house, capping an uncommon and difficult season performed via the novel coronavirus. They gained three street video games as a wild-card crew to achieve the Super Bowl.
‘I’m so happy with all these guys,’ Brady mentioned. ‘We had a tough November however we got here collectively on the proper time. We knew this was gonna occur. We performed our greatest recreation of the yr.’
Tampa’s victory prevented Mahomes and the Chiefs (16-3) from changing into the primary repeat champions since Brady’s Patriots did it in 2003-04.
The NFL accomplished its 269-game season on time with none cancellations, a outstanding accomplishment that required practically 1 million COVID-19 checks for gamers and crew personnel.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Leonard Fournette and Jaydon Mickens have fun after profitable Super Bowl LV
After a number of tumultuous seasons in Pittsburgh adopted by transient, equally tumultuous stints in Oakland and New England, Antonio Brown has discovered a house in Tampa, the place he caught one-yard landing move from Bucs QB Tom Brady on Sunday
Buccaneers QB Tom Brady has phrases with Kansas City Chiefs defensive again Tyrann Mathieu within the first half of Super Bowl LV
Tampa Bay pushed its result in 28-9 within the third quarter on a 27-yard landing run by working again Leonard Fournette, a former first-round decide who signed with the Bucs after being lower by the Jacksonville Jaguars
Due to the virus, solely 25,000 mask-wearing followers had been allowed in, together with roughly 7,500 vaccinated well being care employees who got free tickets by the NFL. About 30,000 cardboard cutouts made the stadium look full.
A streaker sporting a hot-pink onesie eluded safety and slid into the top zone with 5:03 left within the recreation. Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-powered offense by no means bought that far in opposition to Tampa’s ferocious protection.
Bruce Arians grew to become the oldest coach at age 68 to win the Super Bowl. His mother, 95-year-old Kay Arians, witnessed it in particular person. Brady, Gronk and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles helped Arians get that Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Bowles devised a masterful plan to frustrate Mahomes and shut down the Chiefs, the exact opposite of Kansas City’s 27-24 win in Tampa in Week 12, when the Chiefs jumped to a 17-0 lead within the first quarter. Tyreek Hill had 269 yards receiving and three TDs in that one. He was held to 73 yards on seven catches.
After the Chiefs took a 3-0 early lead, it was all Brady and the Bucs.
Brady completed a career-first when he tossed an 8-yard TD move to Rob Gronkowksi to provide the Buccaneers a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left within the first quarter. Brady’s 9 Super Bowl groups in New England produced simply three factors whole within the first quarter. Gronkowski, who got here out of retirement to play with his buddy, caught his thirteenth and 14th postseason TDs from Brady. That broke the document they shared with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, who mixed for 12.
Despite taking part in at house, the Buccaneers weren’t allowed to fireside the cannons from their famed pirate ship after touchdowns and massive performs. They did it quickly after the clock expired as purple, white and black confetti fell onto the sphere.
Fans nonetheless loved the thud of Gronk’s thunderous spike after his first rating.
Tampa missed a possibility to increase the lead when Brady’s 2-yard move to offensive lineman Joe Haeg was knocked out of his arms by Anthony Hitchens in the long run zone. Ronald Jones was stopped quick on consecutive carries as Arians caught to his ‘No danger it, no biscuit’ philosophy and went on fourth down.
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV
Patrick Mahomes absorbs a success from Buccaneers exterior linebacker Shaquil Barrett through the first half of Super Bowl LV
Antonio Brown #81 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates profitable Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday
Patrick Mahomes got here up quick in his try to repeat as an NFL champion as Tom Brady gained his document seventh title
(Left) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. (Right) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Lavonte David celebrates with family members
Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church carry out the nationwide anthem earlier than Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium
Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church carry out the nationwide anthem whereas the Air Force carry out a fly over earlier than Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium
Rob Gronkowski with the primary of his two landing spikes on the day
But the Chiefs did not achieve any momentum off the cease. Instead, they made one expensive mistake after one other.
First, All-Pro tight finish Travis Kelce dropped a move that will’ve been an enormous achieve on third down. Then punter Tommy Townsend shanked a 29-yarder after a penalty compelled him to kick once more. The Bucs began at Kansas City´s 38 as an alternative of their 27.
A holding name on Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward negated an interception by All-Pro security Tyrann Mathieu. Kansas City’s protection held however an offside penalty throughout Ryan Succop’s profitable area purpose gave the Buccaneers a primary down. Sarah Thomas, the primary lady official in a Super Bowl, threw that flag.
Brady wanted one play, firing a strike to Gronkowski for a 17-yard TD and a 14-3 lead. Gronk hesitated earlier than spiking the ball, ready to ensure the flag on the play was once more in opposition to the Chiefs.
Mahomes drove the offense for a 34-yard area purpose by Harrison Butker that lower it to 14-6, however Kansas City’s protection fell aside within the ultimate minute of the primary half – permitting 42 yards on two move interference penalties. One in opposition to Mathieu in the long run zone arrange Brady’s TD move to Brown for a 21-6 halftime lead.
It was Brady who satisfied his new crew to provide Brown an opportunity after the troubled former All-Pro got here off suspension. His TD toss to Brown was his fiftieth of the season, together with 10 within the postseason.
Mathieu took an unsportsmanlike penalty after the TD move for moving into it with Brady as he ran to the sideline.
After Brady’s Bucs amassed solely 16 yards on their first two drives, Mahomes engineered an eight-play, 31-yard drive that culminated with Harrison Butker’s 49-yard area purpose and a 3-0 lead (pictured)
Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spikes the ball after an eight-yard landing reception within the first quarter
The Chiefs had a vital goal-line stand within the second quarter, which prevented the Buccaneers from taking an 11-point lead
Line choose Sarah Thomas grew to become the primary lady to officiate a Super Bowl on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes walks on the sphere throughout heat up hours earlier than the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs play the NFC Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers within the National Football League Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
The mere reality that there’s a Super Bowl this season is not any small feat given every thing the league and nation has been via with the continuing pandemic.
It took practically 1 million COVID checks, 1000’s of Zoom conferences, a dozen or so rescheduled video games and an untold quantity of flexibility for the NFL to not miss a single of its 269 regular-season and postseason video games within the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
The NFL and society, basically, are hoping America’s largest sports activities celebration will not flip into the mom of superspreader occasions, both on the stadium or on the inevitable 1000’s of high-fiving, chip-dipping, hug-it-out Super Bowl events deliberate throughout the land.
With the truth that crucial outcomes of the Super Bowl — the spike, or lack of spike, in COVID numbers — would not be identified till nicely after the ultimate rating was posted and many of the $4.3 billion in anticipated wagers are settled, the NFL nonetheless scored factors by merely making it to the end line with none main disruptions.
‘The reality that each crew performed the proper variety of video games. and that most individuals didn’t get sick, is an actual testomony to their perseverance in making it occur,’ mentioned Dennis Deninger, who teaches a Super Bowl and Society class for Syracuse’s sports activities administration division.
The resiliency of the gamers and the league stood out as a vivid be aware this winter, as the coronavirus ravaged the United States and the world. The NFL’s potential to maintain the present shifting — albeit imperfectly — strengthened the game’s sturdy footing in American tradition. It additionally generated debate about whether or not the nation and the league have their priorities straight, on condition that assets dedicated to taking part in soccer may have conceivably been expended elsewhere.
Chiefs and Bucs followers have fun in the long run zone alongside the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
President Joe Biden and first woman Dr. Jill Biden are seen on a scoreboard display delivering a message earlier than the NFL Super Bowl 55 soccer recreation between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday
Around 22,000 socially distanced followers had been on the first (and hopefully final) Super Bowl of the pandemic period
General view of the pirate ship earlier than Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium
A vaccinated physician from Florida who did not give her title holds up an indication exterior of Raymond James Stadium on Sunday
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not put on their house uniforms, however the NFC Champions performed at their house stadium
An attendee sits within the stands earlier than Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday
‘In some methods, you say, it would not really feel proper to be speaking about sports activities and fascinated with sports activities in the course of a pandemic,’ mentioned Ketra Armstrong, the director at University of Michigan’s Center for Race and Ethnicity in Sport. ‘But whenever you suppose the position sports activities can play for the psyche of the nation, and also you perceive the extent persons are going to to ship sports activities, you may recognize’ the hassle the NFL made to make the season occur.
And, in reality, the NFL’s efforts benefited greater than merely the league’s personal pursuits. Using as a spine of its analysis the roughly 957,000 checks it performed on greater than 7,500 gamers and staff, the NFL collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control to publish a paper describing testing protocols, mitigation methods and contact-tracing measures that may be helpful in ‘high-density environments’ such as colleges and long-term care amenities.
A key conclusion from the paper was that ‘though the protocols applied by the NFL had been resource-intensive’ — i.e., the league had loads of cash and manpower to implement a testing program few different organizations would dream of — lots of the classes realized had been priceless.
‘The thought was to check ceaselessly, to establish whenever you had a constructive, and to isolate and hint carefully should you did,’ commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned, whereas taking a victory lap of kinds earlier within the week at his annual Super Bowl information convention. ‘We do not suppose there was a safer place to be than at an NFL facility that yr. We by no means doubted that for a second.’
Tampa Bay Buccaneers gamers run to the sphere as they’re launched earlier than Super Bowl LV
Fans social distance as they watch a stage present earlier than Sunday’s Super Bowl LV between the Chiefs and Buccaneers
All followers had been required to put on masks, though this Kansas City Chiefs fan opted in opposition to the N95 mannequin
Devin White #45 and Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the sphere earlier than Super Bowl LV
A Chiefs fan behind cutouts of followers in Raymond James Stadium hours earlier than the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs play the NFC Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The season was removed from good. Because of rescheduling, there have been video games performed on every single day of the week, together with Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The Titans, Ravens, Browns and Steelers had been amongst those who endured high-profile outbreaks that threatened not solely their rosters however the league’s whole operation. In the season’s largest debacle, the Broncos had been compelled to play a recreation with a large receiver taking part in quarterback after everybody within the QB group bought put underneath quarantine on late discover.
Goodell mentioned all selections had been made in service of prioritizing security over every thing, together with the NFL’s longstanding calling-card — aggressive steadiness.
And but, as Goodell identified, offense got here at a document tempo, and 70 % of this season’s video games had been determined by eight factors or much less — reinforcing that, even in a pandemic, anybody can beat anybody on any given Sunday within the NFL.
As the playoffs wore on, some developments began feeling extra regular, even when they did not all the time replicate nicely on the league.
There was the weeklong wait to see if Mahomes would play within the AFC championship recreation following his placement within the league’s much-debated ‘concussion protocol’ after his head slammed to the turf within the earlier week’s win. Mahomes returned every week after the scary incident and led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.
The two largest off-field information objects centered on a high-stakes quarterback carousel, with marquee signal-callers Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford swapping groups (Goff to the Lions and Stafford to the Rams) and DeShaun Watson of the Texans demanding a commerce.
Tom Brady walks the sphere previous to the sport
Fans sporting protecting face masks are surrounded by cut-out pictures of followers to take care of social distancing as a result of coronavirus illness (COVID-19) earlier than the sport
Buccaneers followers arrive at Super Bowl LV prior on Sunday, February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes walks throughout the Super Bowl LV brand earlier than Super Bowl LV in opposition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium
One of essentially the most constant defensive lineman over the past decade, Tampa Bay’s Ndamukong Suh (proper) warms up on Sunday
More troubling was the annual reminder of the NFL’s typically lackluster document in hiring minorities for teaching and front-office positions.
‘We had two minority coaches employed and it was not what we anticipated,’ the commissioner mentioned of the seven head-coaching vacancies within the league this yr. ‘And not what we anticipate going ahead.’
It undermined progress made earlier within the season when Goodell, taking the temperature of a rustic agitated by rising requires social justice, conceded that the league ought to have paid extra heed to Colin Kaepernick when he began his personal type of protest by kneeling on the sidelines 4 seasons in the past.
‘We know the NFL has failed miserably in lots of regards in being socially accountable, culturally accountable and exhibiting it has a racial conscience,’ Armstrong mentioned. ‘What you hope is that they will make the most of this distinctive second to maximise the facility of sport. There’s quite a bit they will do. Much more they need to do.’
Clearly, although, the main focus of this season was not on the NFL’s imperfections, however moderately on the video games themselves. With just a few months to see what different sports activities did proper and improper, the NFL got here up with a plan, revised it, revised it once more, and bought all its video games in, albeit in entrance of principally empty stadiums. Goodell mentioned a complete of 1.2 million folks attended video games that, in a traditional season, would have been seen dwell by as much as 17 million.
The capper to all of it was a marquee matchup, to be performed earlier than a crowd of twenty-two,000, that includes the 2 largest names in soccer: Brady vs. Mahomes.
‘The NFL, and plenty of sports activities, served as examples for organizations in company America about how, should you put your thoughts to it, yow will discover methods to include the virus, and proceed doing what you do,’ Deninger mentioned.