Yesterday was the first Sunday of February. On that day of the year – since the year 2004 – followers of the National Football League (NFL) gather to watch the AFC and NFC conference champions go head to head in the league’s Big Game, better known as the Super Bowl. This year saw Super Bowl LV, the 55th to bear the name, fought between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the latter’s actual home court, the first time in the history of the Big Game. With this real home-court advantage among other factors, it was no wonder the Buccaneers cleaned house this Sunday.
CBS Sports has it The Tampa Bay would emerge triumphant over Kansas City this past February 7 at Super Bowl LV, contested at the Buccaneers’ home stadium at Raymond James. The final score is indicative of how formidable the NFC conference champions were coming into this Big Game, trouncing their AFC counterpart this season at a staggering 31-9 winning lead. Two elements on the Buccaneers’ side during the contest could be the most contributive to their stunning victory: first, the fact that they are playing at home; second, their veteran quarterback, NFL legend Tom Brady.
Brady in particular was a the central figure in Super Bowl LV. This was his tenth appearance in the NFL championships, in five of which he would be named MVP including this very one. For the limited stadium audience and home viewers who saw Tampa Bay’s quarterback complete 21 passes of 29, three of which would lead to touchdowns, it can be hard to believe that he is already 43. In contrast his counterpart in the Chiefs Patrick Mahomes was beset with bad luck all throughout. This is his second time in 56 game appearances that he contributed no touchdowns.
Then there was the fact that, due to the original LV venue (Los Angeles, voted 2016) not yet finished in construction, the NFL selected Tampa as the alternate and the Buccaneers’ home stadium as the new venue. True, the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately forced the league to limit live fans to 25,000 (plus standees, making this the least-attended Super Bowl since the first), but with Tampa Bay right in their bulwark their players and coaches were inspired. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich made the Chiefs defending against the Buccaneers a nightmare, while the defensive players frustrated most scoring attempts by Kansas City.
Outside the game, all related events were also minimalized by necessity. The now-traditional halftime show featured Canadian singer the Weeknd and no other performers. He was backed by a choir with bandaged faces in tune with his current musical theming.
Image courtesy of The Guardian