After witnessing two rematches on Conference Championship Sunday, we will have another rematch to determine the winner of Super Bowl 55.
Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce had their usual brilliant games and the Kansas City Chiefs ended the Buffalo Bills’ incredible season by a score of 38-24. The Chiefs repeat as AFC champions and Andy Reid is headed to his third Super Bowl as head coach. Kansas City has the chance to become the first team since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots to win consecutive Lombardi Trophies. They’ll surely be without their left tackle Eric Fisher, who unfortunately injured his Achilles.
Standing in the way of a Mahomes/Reid repeat is none other than the king himself, Tom Brady. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers raced out to a 28-10 lead over the Green Bay Packers on a chilly day at Lambeau Field, but Brady’s three touchdown passes gave way to three second-half interceptions. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers only scored six points off of those takeaways, whereas both of Green Bay’s turnovers resulted in Tampa Bay touchdowns. Matt LaFleur made a frankly stunning decision to kick a field goal on 4th and goal down 31-23 with over two minutes to go and all three timeouts. He trusted his defense to get one more stop and to give Rodgers the ball back with a chance to win it outright. Kevin King, who was dreadful all game and may overtake Brandon Bostick as most hated Green Bay Packer in recent NFC Championship Game memory, just about ripped Tyler Johnson’s shirt off for a game-sealing pass interference penalty on 3rd down. The refs let a lot of things go but that one was way too obvious.
By the way, the vaunted Packers home field advantage (which sadly seems to be ironclad against the Seattle Seahawks) has been compromised in the playoffs yet again. This is their sixth playoff loss at Lambeau Field since 2002 and three of them were to warm-weather teams like the Atlanta Falcons (dome team, too), San Francisco 49ers, and now Tampa Bay.
Tom Brady makes his staggering 10th Super Bowl appearance and the Buccaneers become the first team in NFL history to play in the big game at their home stadium. The 1979 Los Angeles Rams and 1984 San Francisco 49ers pretty much played at home but not in their actual stadiums. Tampa Bay’s defense made some terrifically clutch plays throughout this postseason and while Brady will get the headlines, they’re a huge reason that they’ve made it this far. Brady has never made the Super Bowl as a wild card team and he nearly doubled his career postseason road win totals in one shot.
Kansas City was the last team to defeat Tampa Bay in the regular season, hanging on for a 27-24 win at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs had a bye week after dropping to 7-5 and have been on a tear ever since. We know the Chiefs have had a ton of close wins but the AFC CG was their best performance in a long time.
Either Mahomes gets his second ring and adds to his astonishing list of accomplishments in just three years as a starter, or Brady gets his seventh ring and adds to his astonishing list of accomplishments in his 20th year as a starter. If you’re a Tampa sports fan you’ve already witnessed a Stanley Cup win, an American League pennant, and now perhaps a first Super Bowl win since 2002.
Oh yeah there will be a lot of hype. Tough luck for anyone on either team not named Brady or Mahomes.
Written by Mookie Alexander