The big match

NFL’s underdog story: ‘150th’ Super Bowl for the goat Tom Brady

Tampa Bay will face defending champions Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes in a home Super Bowl

Real-life sport often has the knack of producing Hollywood-style storylines and endings. The “underdog vs. giant” narrative, when the bigger opponent gets defeated, is the classic sporting script and one that always brings blockbuster takings at the box office.

In the NFL this year a true underdog story is currently in production - and it’s starring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and legendary quarterback Tom Brady. 

Widely considered the greatest of all time (the “goat”), Brady doesn’t usually play the underdog. But since his move from New England to Tampa there were high hopes that the 43-year-old could write new chapters for a team that were last in the playoffs in 2007. 

After finishing second in the NFC South division, the Bucs finally secured a playoff spot and qualified for Wild Card weekend. Here they beat Washington before slaying the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees in the divisional round. Then on Sunday night in the NFC Championship game, Brady and the Buccaneers saw off the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers to secure their place in the big one: Super Bowl LV. 

Now they face the biggest challenge of all on the biggest stage of all. Next up it’s reigning champions Kansas City Chiefs and their own leading man Patrick Mahomes who stand between Brady and the Bucs lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Tampa Bay’s only previous Super Bowl win was back in 2003 when they beat the Raiders.

The winners of Super Bowl LV will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy

The winners of Super Bowl LV will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy

Elsa/Getty Images

Historic ‘home’ Super Bowl for the Bucs 

Drafted as a sixth-round pick in 2000, Brady went on to spend 20 trophy-laden years with the New England Patriots. There he won a record six Super Bowl rings and was named Super Bowl most valuable player (MVP) on four occasions and the NFL’s MVP three times. 

A move to Tampa Bay last March was the latest chapter in the Brady story and upon signing a two-year contract with the Bucs he said he was “excited, humble and hungry” to start his new football journey.  

Even though Brady has a new team, in a new town, the destination is the same: another Super Bowl and at home too, says the Associated Press

Taking place at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium, Super Bowl LV on 7 February will be the tenth of Brady’s career and for the Bucs they become the first franchise in NFL history to play a Super Bowl on home turf, Sports Illustrated reports. 

Speaking after Sunday night’s 31-26 win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field, Brady said: “It’s great to get another road win and now we got a home game, and who would have ever thought a home Super Bowl for us. But we did it.” 

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was Super Bowl MVP in 2020

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Mahomes vs. Brady: dynasties collide 

Led by their star QB Mahomes, defending champions Kansas City started the 2020-2021 NFL season as many people’s favourites to retain their crown. They secured their place in Super Bowl LV with a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship match on Sunday. 

The Mahomes vs. Brady narrative at Super Bowl LV will see the “author of the old dynasty” collide with the “creator of a new one”, says NFL.com columnist Judy Battista. “It should provide a delicious storyline about a potential passing of the torch from one generation of greatness to the next.”

For 25-year-old Mahomes it’s a match-up that he can’t wait for. Last year’s Super Bowl MVP said: “Being able to go up against one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback of all time, in his 150th Super Bowl, it’s going to be a great experience for me. 

“To go out there and have a chance to repeat, and I get to do it against the best, it’s something special and I’ll be excited for the opportunity.”

Mahomes and the Chiefs are listed as slight favourites to defend their crown at Super Bowl LV, CBS Sports reports. But with home field advantage and Brady pulling the strings, the wildcard Bucs will be confident of completing a fairytale end to the season’s story. Bucs’ head coach Bruce Arians said: “We’re coming home, and we’re coming home to win.”

Super Bowl LV: the key details
  • Who: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs 
  • When: Sunday 7 February 2021 
  • Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA 
  • UK start time: 11.30pm (GMT) 
  • UK TV coverage: Sky Sports and BBC

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