By Cole Parkinson
It’s 2021 and Tom Brady is back in the Super Bowl — who’s surprised?
At 43 years of age, and in a Tampa Bay Buccaneer jersey, there has to be some surprise to seeing the GOAT back in the biggest game of the year.
I don’t have any real rooting interest in terms of teams, though I’m incredibly fond of Bills Mafia, but Tom Brady is one guy I’ve loved to watch for as long as I can remember.
He was drafted in 2000, when I was just five years old, so he’s been in the league for the vast majority of my life, and now he’s gunning for his seventh Super Bowl.
Of course, he’ll have to face the juggernaut Kansas City Chiefs and arguably the best QB in the league in Patrick Mahomes to do so. It’s a tall task, no doubt.
And who’s already tired of hearing the cliche “new school versus old school” in building up the big game? But that’s exactly what this is, the old guy going up against the new face of the NFL.
Mahomes is coming off another excellent season where he threw 38 touchdowns, 4,740 yards and had a completion rate of 66.3 per cent — the best of his career so far. The Chiefs went 14-2 in the regular season before facing off against the Cleveland Browns in the AFC divisional playoffs where they grinded out a 22-17 win. Mahomes was taken out of the game as he was diagnosed with a concussion in the third quarter, but the Chiefs were able to hold on. The Buffalo Bills were waiting in the AFC Championship, and with Mahomes back in, the Chiefs cruised to a 38-24 victory
Brady on the other hand, threw for 40 touchdowns, 4,633 yards and had a completion rate of 65.7 this regular season. After finishing with a 7-9 record the previous season, Brady was able to steer the pirate ship into a respectable 11-5 season. Beating Washington in the Wild Card game 31-21, New Orleans 30-20 in the Divisional playoffs and Green Bay 31-26 in the NFC Championship made the Buccs Super Bowl bound for the first time since 2003, which of course they won.
With the Super Bowl being played in Tampa Bay this season, it also marks the first time a team plays at home.
It sure does feel like an offensive battle is coming with Super Bowl LV.
The Chiefs offence (ranked first in the league) looks unstoppable most of the times but the Buccs had a sixth ranked defense in the league (5,234 yards) throughout the regular season. Defensive end Ndamukong Suh had six sacks, while linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, had 9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions.
The Chiefs’ defence is no slouch either boasting cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland (two interceptions) and L’Jarius Sneed (three interceptions and two sacks). The Chiefs were ranked the sixteenth defence in terms of yards with 5,733.
Vegas has the Chiefs as -3.5 favourites and an over of 56.5. Mahomes is also the favourite to land the Super Bowl MVP at -120 with Brady at +187.
While I expect a high scoring game, I don’t see any reason not to take the Chiefs in this game, but something in the back of my head says pick the Buccs.
The last time Brady met Mahomes in the playoffs was the 2019 AFC Championships where the New England Patriots beat the Chiefs 37-31 enroute to another Super Bowl. It’s hard to pick against Brady in the Super Bowl considering he’s 6-3.
Playing at home is also nothing to sneeze at, though COVID-19 restrictions have the stadium capacity set at 22,000 fans.
I’ll take the Buccs with a final score of 31-28 in a high scoring, back and forth battle.
Whether I’m right or wrong, let’s just hope for a thrilling game from start to finish.