The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defeat the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LV

A photo of Raymond James Stadium before Super Bowl LV with the cardboard cutouts set up occupying seats. Photo from the Official Raymond James Stadium Instagram account.

Super Bowl LV consisted of one of the most iconic showdowns in the National Football League’s (NFL) history. The Kansas City Chiefs, the American Football Conference (AFC) champions, went head to head with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the National Football Conference (NFC) champions. The game finished with the Buccaneers dominating the Chiefs in a 31-9 game, earning the Buccaneers their second-ever Super Bowl trophy.

Super Bowl LV Champions poster. Photo from the NFL Twitter account.

 Viewers were especially excited to see the competition between the two teams’ quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes II and Tom Brady. Both Mahomes and Brady have had phenomenal success during their time in the NFL. Fans anticipated a high stakes game not only because of the talent  of the quarterbacks but also due to the nearly 20 year age difference between them. Many fans, including a number of CBS commentators, were expecting a close game between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers, which did not happen as the Buccaneers won with a 22 point lead on the Chiefs.

Brady, alongside the Buccaneers have made Super Bowl history this year. Super Bowl LV was Brady’s tenth time playing in a Super Bowl, but what made it so momentous was the fact that of his ten Super Bowl appearances, he has won seven trophies. This win for the Buccaneers was led by the oldest quarterback and head coach duo to ever play in a Super Bowl game together, with Brady, age 43, and Head Coach Bruce Arians, age 68. The Buccaneer team has also gone down in history being the first team to ever play in a Super Bowl game that was hosted in their home stadium, as Super Bowl LV was held at the Raymond James Stadium. 

Last year at Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a 31-20 game under their current Head Coach Andy Reid, which was the second time the Chiefs franchise had ever won a Super Bowl championship. The first time the team won the Vince Lombardi trophy was back in 1970 under their former Head Coach Hank Stram.

Prior to Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers had only attended one Super Bowl game, specifically Super Bowl XXXVII back in 2003, where they defeated the Oakland Raiders, now the Las Vegas Raiders, in a 48-21 game under former Head Coach Jon Gruden.

The Kansas City Chiefs on defense during the second quarter. Photo from the Official Chiefs Instagram account. 
Amanda Gorman reciting her original poem at Super Bowl LV. Screenshot taken from her performance. 

Before the kickoff, there were two performances. The first one was by R&B and Soul artist H.E.R. who performed “America the Beautiful.” Following the first performance was the singing of our National Anthem performed by R&B and Hip-Hop artist Jazmine Sullivan and Country artist Eric Church. 

Amanda Gorman went down in history as the first poet to ever perform at the Super Bowl. Gorman recited her original poem “Chorus of the Captains,” as a tribute for the three honorary captains in attendance at the game: Pittsburgh Marine Veteran James Martin, Los Angeles Educator Trimaine Davis, and last but not least, Tampa ICU Nurse Manager Suzie Dorner. 

The NFL gave Dorner the honor of administering the coin toss, determining which team would go first. During the famous Super Bowl coin toss, the visiting team chooses heads or tails, and in this instance the Chiefs chose heads, which they won.  

Overall Super Bowl LV had a slow start as both the Chiefs and the Buccaneers attempted a touchdown, both being incomplete. At the 5:14 time mark, during the first quarter, the Chiefs were the first to score in the entire game. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicked a 49-yard field goal during the team’s second drive, earning the Chiefs a 3-0 lead. 

With only 37 seconds left in the first quarter, the Buccaneers scored their first touchdown of the game. Brady threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Wide Receiver Rob Gronkowski, which set the Buccaneers at a 7-3 lead against the Chiefs. This specific touchdown was the 13th touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski during the postseason, breaking the previous record of 12 postseason touchdowns, which was held by the 49ers’ Former Quarterback Joe Montana and Wide Receiver Jerry Rice. This touchdown also marked the first time Brady had ever scored more than three points during the first quarter at a Super Bowl game, as Brady and his teammates in the past were only able to score from field goals in previous Super Bowl appearances.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receiver Rob Gronkowski making his first touchdown of Super Bowl LV. Photo from the Official Buccaneers Instagram account. 

At the 6:15 mark of the second quarter, Brady threw another touchdown pass, earning the Buccaneers another seven points, giving them a 14-3 lead, both passes so far being caught by Gronkowski. Chiefs scored for the second time during the game at the 1:04 mark, Butker kicked a 34 yard field goal, earning the Chiefs another three points, setting them at 14-6, the Buccaneers still in the lead. Afterwards, the Buccaneers got the ball back for their third drive, with only six seconds left on the timer, Brady made a touchdown pass to Wide Receiver Antonio Brown, drawing the Buccaneers at a large lead of 21-6 by the end of the first half. 

Regardless of their opinions on football, millions of people tune in every year to watch the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. This year they had R&B and Soul artist The Weeknd headlining, playing some of his hit songs: Starboy, The Hills, Can’t Feel my Face, I Feel It Coming, Save Your Tears, Earned It, a mashup of House of Balloons and Glass Table Girls, and last but not least, his hit song Blinding Lights, which remained in the #1 spot on the Top 100 Billboard charts for four weeks straight. 

Following the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show, the Chiefs opened up the third quarter by scoring their third and final time of the entire game. Once again, another field goal, Butker kicked a 52-yard field goal, adding another three points to Chiefs, now making the score 21-9, with the Buccaneers still in the lead.

The Buccaneers scored yet another touchdown at the 7:45 mark. Brady scans across the field looking for an open receiver when he throws the touchdown pass to Running Back Leonard Fournette, who was wide opened. With no Chiefs defenders covering Fournette, he was able to make a 27 yard run into the endzone, growing the Buccaneers lead against the Chiefs to 28-9. 

The last points added to the score was made by the Buccaneers. During the 2:50 mark of the third quarter, Buccaneers Kicker Ryan Succop kicked a 52-yard field goal, earning the Buccaneers three points, leaving them at a 31-9 lead on the Chiefs. Due to the fact that neither team scored for the remainder of the third quarter and the entirety of the fourth quarter, that was the final score. 

Although Super Bowl LV has been memorable for the outstanding NFL athletes, those watching in person and from home have witnessed history. During the Super Bowl and also throughout the past football season, we have seen the remarkable progress that the NFL has made in regards to promoting inclusion and diversity. 

Joining Arians and the Buccaneer’s at Super Bowl was Assistant Defensive Line Coach Lori Locust and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Maral Javadifar, both of whom work full-time for the Buccaneer coaching staff, making history as the first two female coaches in the Super Bowl. Alongside Locust and Javadifar, another woman making Super Bowl history is Sarah Thomas. Thomas is the first female referee to officiate at a Super Bowl game. 

“The Super Bowl Today,” a preview prior to the game on the CBS channel, included a segment about Former NFL Quarterback Marlin Briscoe. Briscoe was the first black quarterback in the modern-day NFL. He was drafted in the 14th round for the Denver Broncos back in 1968. Briscoe paved the way for future black NFL quarterbacks such as: Mahomes of the Chiefs, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Teddy Bridgewater of the Carolina Panthers, and many others.

Soon after Super Bowl LIV on February 2, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck Americans and people all around the globe. Following the big Super Bowl win, former Chiefs Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif decided to temporarily set aside his football career for the season to return home to Montreal, Canada, to work at a health care facility. During “The Super Bowl Today,” CBS reporters alongside his fellow teammates highlight and honor his dedication and courage for putting others before himself. Even with his busy schedule and training facilities closed, Duvernay-Tardif continues to consistently practice in hopes of returning to the field and to the Chiefs soon. 

Similar to several other social events, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted Super Bowl Sunday traditions across the nation. With the COVID-19 pandemic still at large, numerous restrictions and regulations had been enforced to ensure the safety of the American public. “The Super Bowl Today” featured a segment where reporter Norah O’Donnell interviewed President Joe Biden, in which he was asked about his thoughts on Super Bowl Sunday parties. Biden strongly recommended that people refrain from large gatherings, although acknowledged that there would likely still be quite a few parties but encouraged people to make good choices and stay safe.

In attempts to limit the amount of fans within the stadium, the NFL has cut back ticket sales to pertain to social distancing guidelines. The Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida holds 65,890 seats, and 25,000 fans were in attendance for Super Bowl LV. Accompanying those fans were 30,000 cardboard cutouts to make the audience look more full and lively overall. 

However, it is still imperative that the proper guidelines were being implemented to prevent the spread of this ongoing deadly disease. During the regular season, the NFL had strict requests for each of their teams to go through consistent COVID testing daily. After the Championship round, where the Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in a 38-24 game and the Buccaneers beat the Green Bay Packers in a 31-26 game, the NFL mandated that all Chiefs and Buccaneer players and coaching staff be required to take a COVID tests twice daily. 

On Monday, February 8, 2021, the day after the Buccaneers’ big Super Bowl win, the Mayor of Tampa Jane Castor held a press conference confirming that there will indeed be some kind of championship celebration for the Buccaneer team and their fans, however, no details have been disclosed as of yet. She further explained that “everybody will be able to participate and participate safely” in this celebration.

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