The GOAT was mad, the Honey Badger didn't care, and their on-field back-and-fourth created headlines in the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl LV. Tyrann Mathieu stood his ground against Tom Brady, but Brady and the Buccaneers got the last word after putting up a dominant 31-9 victory over the defending champion Chiefs.
Mathieu declined to divulge what was said between himself and Brady, but he did say that he had "never really seen that side of him." Emotions were clearly high, but it appears that cooler heads prevailed shortly after Sunday's night game. Immediately after the game, Brady texted an apology to Mathieu, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine. Brady said that he knew that he had to match Mathieu's intensity during Sunday night's game.
Included in the text was Brady calling Mathieu the "ultimate competitor." He also called the Chiefs' All-Pro safety an "incredible leader, champion and class act," per Laine. Brady said that he has followed Mathieu's career since his time at LSU. He added that his verbal altercation with Mathieu was not a reflection of his feelings toward him. Brady made it known that he wants to apologize in person sometime in the future.
Both players were complimentary of each other during the lead-up to the game.
"I really love him as a player," Brady said, via Newsday. "I think he's got great ball-hawking ability. He seems like he's always coming up with the biggest plays in the biggest moments."
"I'm a big fan of Tom," Mathieu said when told of Brady's compliments towards him. "I follow him. I've always been a fan of him. To have somebody that I idolize in a sense even recognize me, that's a proud moment. But once we step on the field, it's all about competing at a high level. It's all about trying to make the most of each opportunity, each play."
While Mathieu has enjoyed far more success than failure during his career, the 2019 Super Bowl champ fell victim to Brady's right arm near the end of the first half of the Super Bowl. After forcing Mathieu to commit pass interference on Mike Evans, Brady fired his third touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, who made an inside move on Mathieu before breaking inside to give the Buccaneers a 21-6 halftime lead. The Chiefs never recovered while falling short in their bid to become the first repeat champions since the 2003-04 Patriots.
"You've got to take the winning, and you've go to take the losses as well," Mathieu said after the game. "You've got to do your best to learn from them all."