Super Bowl LV: one to stay up for

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A four-hour broadcast for only 60 minutes of action during which the ball is only in play for 11 minutes may seem like a poor trade-off for many sports fans. Yet even after adding in the 50 minutes of advertisements, this year’s 55th Super Bowl is certainly worth staying up for.

For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game will be played at the home ground of one of the finalists, as Tampa Bay Buccaneers host reigning champions Kansas City Chiefs on 7th February. Yet whilst Covid-19 will reduce the usual week-long media coverage to a couple of days, the excitement and buzz growing around this game is stronger than ever due to one key match-up: Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes II.

GOAT versus new GOAT. Legacy vs destiny. Despite football being a team sport it is near-impossible to escape the discussion around these two quarterbacks.

On one side is the 43-year-old veteran who has dominated the NFL over the past twenty years, winning six Super Bowls out of his previous nine appearances and gaining a reputation as the greatest football player to ever live.

The talent of these two players makes this Super Bowl one to watch

On the other, the new 25-year-old superstar that many believe to be the only player to possess the talent to potentially surpass Brady.

A reigning Super Bowl champion, Mahomes, is on track to be the first quarterback to win back-to-back titles since – you guessed it – Tom Brady; it is for this reason that football analyst Tony Romo claims this game is “one of the great match-ups in sports history”.

Even with talk of legends aside, the talent of these two players makes this Super Bowl one to watch. Mahomes has built a fearsome reputation for raw arm strength combined with pinpoint accuracy.

In his first season as starting QB he threw 5,000+ yards and fifty touchdowns, only the second quarterback in history to do so, and has continued to amass impressive numbers, recording career high passing and rushing statistics this season.

The recipient of the largest contract in sporting history that totalled an eye-watering $503 million, he is the lynchpin of the Kansas City machine and will look to mirror his magic display at last year’s Bowl game in which he was the architect of an incredible 21-0 4th quarter comeback against the 49ers and was awarded MVP.

Brady on the other hand will be wanting to prove he can add to his impressive ring collection without the New England Patriots.

The Buccaneers have the worst winning percentage in NFL history and went 7-9 last season, yet under Brady they have reached a Super Bowl for the first time since 2002.

Only one other quarterback has won the Super Bowl with two different teams, and the future Hall of Famer will be hoping to join Peyton Manning and thus etch his name further into NFL history. Brady has thrown for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns this season, achieving incredible numbers at a remarkable age.

One of the greatest match-ups in sport history

But football is a team sport, and even without focusing on these two titans of football there is a multitude of talent amongst the two teams. As well as possessing the best QB in football, the Chiefs also possess the best tight end in Travis Kelce and best widereceiver and self-proclaimed fastest player in football, Tyreek Hill.

Under head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs have built an attack filled with a multitude of weapons to overcome any defence. This season’s 14-2 record is the best in their history, and they are playing at such a fast, dominating calibre that Colin Cowherd stated that this could be the first NFL team that has the talent to play like an NBA dynasty

It is easy to only look as far as the arrival of Brady and his New England teammate Rob Gronkowski to account for Tampa Bay’s success this season, yet strong recruitment and an important change in mentality have been just as important.

Head coach Bruce Arians stressed “breaking that losing culture” as a significant factor for this season’s fortunes, and it has clearly given them a new sense of determination and drive.

They will go into the Bowl game on a fantastic run of form having become only the fourth team in history to win three consecutive away days against division winners in the postseason.

This Sunday all eyes will be on the two most talented QBs in football in a showdown that has more than just a trophy on the line.

Players such as Mike Evans, who scored a career-high 13 touchdowns this season, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette have the ability to go toe-to-toe with the Chiefs offense, whilst strong draft picks have bolstered a sturdy defence.

The previous meeting between these two in November last year provides further evidence as to why this game is so exciting. The 27-24 Chiefs win saw a 75-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Hill, as well as a 14-0 fourth quarter from Tampa Bay that nearly spelled an impressive comeback, and fans will be hoping for a game of similar standards come Sunday.

And it wouldn’t be a Super Bowl without a blockbuster half-time show, with The Weeknd being this year’s special guest. If a football game of the highest quality is not enough to tempt you to stay up, then that the Canadian singer has contributed seven million dollars to the organiser’s fund to make this “halftime show be what he envisioned” surely will be.

According to Tony Romo, Mahomes will be never be able to catch Brady if he loses the “biggest game [he] will ever play”. Therefore, this Sunday all eyes will be on the two most talented QBs in football in a showdown that has more than just a trophy on the line.

Image: Robert du Bois via Creative Commons

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