The Big Game
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The matchup for Super Bowl LV is set, Kansas City (14-2) versus Tampa Bay (11-5).
Tom Brady led the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl in his first season with the team and his tenth appearance in the big game.
Tampa Bay will be the first team to play in the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
When it comes to this it seems like a technicality because there have been teams that played in their hometown but not stadium.
For instance, the 1979 Los Angeles Rams played Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl. The 1984 San Francisco 49ers played Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium.
This is a matchup of the young upstart QB against the greatest of all time.
The Chiefs are defending champions, led by Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes was second in the league in passing yards with 4,740, 38 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Brady was third with 4,633, 40 TD’s and 12 picks.
Both teams are loaded with offensive weapons. Tight end Travis Kelce is fifth in receptions (105) and second in receiving yards (1,416) in the league, which includes wide receivers. He also had 11 touchdowns. Tyreek Hill had 87 receptions for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Tampa Bay’s star play makers have missed a few games this season with injuries.
Mike Evans had 70 catches, 1,006 yards and 13 TD’s. Chris Godwin played in 12 games with 65 receptions, 840 yards and 7 touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski had 45 catches, 623 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Buccaneers also have two talented running backs, Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones.
These teams met in Week 12 in Tampa. Kansas City won 27 – 24, but the game did not seem as close as the final score.
The Chiefs led 20 – 7 at halftime and the Bucs scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. Hill had 13 receptions, 269 yards and 3 touchdowns. The number one priority will be to stop him in this game.
Tampa Bay is 6th in total defense and Kansas City is 16th. The Chiefs are average on defense but in today’s NFL they just need to outscore opponents.
The road to the Super Bowl was very different for these teams. The Bucs were the fifth seed in the NFC, so they had to play three road games. They beat Washington, New Orleans and Green Bay to get here. The NFC Championship was a hard fought 31 – 26 win over the Packers.
“Tom is the GOAT (greatest of all time),” said Bucs receiver Scotty Miller, who caught a 39-yard touchdown pass with 1 second left until halftime. “Last year, we ended 7-9. This year, we’re going to the Super Bowl. He’s the biggest reason.”
The Chiefs were the number one seed in the AFC so they had home field advantage and a bye week in the first round.
They played Cleveland in the divisional round and won 22 – 17. Mahomes was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
In the AFC Championship they beat Buffalo 38 – 24. There were several times in the game where both teams got into scuffles.
I think this is going to be a very close game. Losing the first meeting should give Tampa Bay an advantage because they know what to expect.
Also, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienimy is the hottest candidate to get a head coaching job. This has to provide some distraction for him going in to this game.