Good morning! Happy post-Super Bowl Monday ... here's to hoping you were one of the smart ones who took it off in advance or were lucky enough to have the day off to nurse your hangover/food coma. Luckily for you, this newsletter takes no days off (except, uh, the two days over the weekend), so I'm here for your Super Bowl wrap-up needs.
We all should have seen this coming but Tom Brady is once again a Super Bowl champion -- and a Super Bowl MVP -- as the Buccaneers soundly handled the Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV last night. That's seven (SEVEN!) Super Bowl rings for Brady now -- meaning he personally has more rings than any franchise in the NFL. We'll get to the impact of last night's win on Brady's legacy here in a second.
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Yes, it was an impressive statement win from Brady Tampa Bay, but that means it was somewhat of a disappointing game from an entertainment and competitive standpoint (I also lost a bunch of money, but I can only blame myself there.) Here's a fun little stat that proves it was not as competitive as Super Bowls usually are: The margin of victory of the Bucs' win yesterday (22 points) is rather close to the COMBINED margin of victory of Brady's six Super Bowl wins with the Patriots (29).
Let's jump into some takeaways and analysis from last night, shall we? Oh, and remember to stay hydrated this morning. Super Bowl Mondays can be tough.
📰 What you need to know
1. What No. 7 means for Tom Brady's legacy 🏆
Tom Brady was going to wear No. 7 for the Buccaneers this year before wide receiver Chris Godwin agreed to surrender the No. 12 jersey number to his new quarterback. As it turns out, Brady secured No. 7 anyway ... just in ring form. If there was any doubt, it should be gone now: Brady is unquestionably the greatest QB in the history of football. Taking it a step further: is he the greatest team sport athlete ever?
- Jamey Eisenberg: "The conversation surrounding Brady now goes from greatest football player of all time to possibly the greatest athlete of all time. He now has one more championship than Michael Jordan, and Brady will be compared to other great athletes in other sports throughout history. Brady didn't want to talk about that after the game. He's not worried about his legacy yet. For now, he's just about collecting trophies"
Brady might have one more ring than Jordan, but Jordan still tops him in championship MVP awards (Jordan has 6 NBA Finals MVPs to Brady's five Super Bowl MVPs). Still, Brady has now won more Super Bowl MVP awards than any other quarterback has won Super Bowls.
And just in case you were wondering, Brady isn't going out on top -- at least not this year. He immediately squashed all rumors of a possible retirement by saying "we're coming back" after winning last night. It seems like Rob Gronkowski, who caught two TDs in the win, will be playing football again next year as well, though he's set to become a free agent.
And, for what it's worth, the legend of Brady-to-Gronkowski grew just a little bit larger last night.
- They team up for two touchdowns, which gave them the most scores by a duo (14) in postseason history
- They passed Montana-to-Rice (12) on the all-time list
- Gronk is also now the first player to have a reception in five different Super Bowls
As a Patriots fan, it stung a little bit watching two guys I wish had retired in New England go on and find glory with someone else, but ultimately I'm glad that they were able to add to their respective legacies.
2. Patrick Mahomes had a really rough night 🏈
Well, we've talked about Brady's legacy and what last night's win does for him, but what does last night's loss mean for Patrick Mahomes?
Well, first things first ... it's now going to be awfully hard for him to catch Brady's rings total. A 6-2 gap is tough ... but 7-1? Good luck, Pat. And for those who expected last night's game to be a symbolic passing of the torch from Brady (the GOAT) to Mahomes (the so-called "baby GOAT" or GOAT-in-training), well, that didn't go as planned.
However, it's pretty hard to pin any of what happened last night on Mahomes. Yes, his stats looked pretty rough on paper: 26 of 49 passing for 270 yards and two interceptions (both on tipped passes) and he didn't throw a touchdown in a game since Week 4 of the 2019 season. But he also didn't have a lot of help from the rest of his offense.
- Mahomes took three sacks, eight quarterback hits and was pressured a Super Bowl-record 29 times
- Mahomes traveled 497 yards before throwing the ball or being sacked, the most scramble yards in a game by any quarterback since 2016
- Chiefs receivers also committed several untimely and uncharacteristic drops
Mahomes and the Chiefs really suffered from having a banged-up offensive line and it never looked like they were able to establish a rhythm or get comfortable on offense. As such, that scary and explosive KC offense we've come to know? No where to be found. Mahomes did everything he could (including throwing passes while completely horizontal) but he needed more support.
Also, let's not ignore that the Chiefs as a whole continuously shot themselves in the foot. Kansas City racked up 95 penalty yards on eight flags in the first half alone (a Super Bowl record) and they just didn't look sharp enough for a team playing in a Super Bowl.
Of course, we've go to give credit where credit is due: The Bucs played a great defensive game. That leads us to...
3. Todd Bowles drew up the perfect gameplan for the Bucs defense 🏈
Say what you want about Mahomes or the Chiefs' offense, but there's no debating that Buccaneers' defensive coordinator Todd Bowles put together a brilliant gameplan against KC. The Bucs attacked the Chiefs' weaknesses and never relented. The defense was able to deploy minimal pass rushers while still pressuring Mahomes and forcing him to go on the run throughout the game, not allowing the Chiefs to find big gains from their playmakers.
- When these two teams met in Week 11, Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns (all three TDs went to Tyreek Hill, who had 13 catches for 269 yards)
- Mahomes was held to just 67 yards passing in the first half last night
- Hill had a quiet 73 receiving yards on seven catches
- Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and Steve McClendon all had strong performances on Tampa's front line
It was a well-coached game all-around from the Buccaneers sideline, and it's worth mentioning that Bruce Arians is now the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl (68 years and 127 days). Amazingly, Arians' 95-year-old mother was in attendance to watch him secure the Lombardi, which is pretty damn special.
It's also worth pointing out that, as the NFL continues to face criticism for a lack of diversity in coaching positions, the Buccaneers just won the Super Bowl with four Black coordinators working under Arians -- assistant coach/run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bowles and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. Leftwich and Bowles should both receive a ton of credit for their work in this finale, and that may put them on track for a promotion at some point down the line.
4. Breaking down who won the 2020 NFL Awards 🏈
This weekend wasn't ENTIRELY about the Super Bowl, as the NFL's highest individual honors were handed out on the eve of the big game as well. While it wasn't quite the party that it normally is -- the event was held virtually -- it still was a special night for a lot of guys across the league.
Here's a rundown of the winners:
- MVP: Aaron Rodgers
- Walter Payton Man of the Year: Russell Wilson
- Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Smith
- Offensive ROY: Justin Herbert
- Defensive ROY: Chase Young
- Offensive POY: Derrick Henry
- Defensive POY: Aaron Donald
- Coach of the Year: Kevin Stefanski
It's certainly not a shock that Rodgers took home the MVP award, but it was rather shocking that the Packers QB casually announced that he was engaged during his acceptance speech. That news came mere days after rumors surfaced that he's dating actress Shailene Woodley. Apparently, it's going really well! Guess you don't need to win the NFC Championship to make sure you get a ring on Super Bowl weekend.
📝 Odds & Ends
- In case you missed last night's halftime show, you can check out The Weeknd's full performance here
- Derrick Rose was traded back to the New York Knicks on Sunday
- The 2022 Super Bowl odds are out and, hey, the Buccaneers are not the favorites
📺 What to watch tonight
🏒 Coyotes vs. Blues, 8 p.m. | STL -150 | TV: NBCSN
🏀 Oklahoma State vs. No. 23 Kansas, 9 p.m. | KU -4.5 | TV: ESPN
🏀 Bucks vs. Nuggets, 9:30 p.m. | DEN +3.5 | TV: NBA TV
🥇 The best thing I saw yesterday
Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl. Seems a little basic but I mean ... c'mon. Sometimes you have to take a step back to truly soak in the fact that we're watching one of the greatest athletes of all time put the finishing touches on a career that may never be matched. It's pretty cool. (Also, Antoine Winfield, Jr. getting some hilarious, long-awaited revenge on Tyreek Hill was also pretty awesome.)