Fireworks across the night sky wasn't the only thing streaking in Super Bowl LV. As Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs desperately tried to find their way against a visceral Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, they finally found a bit of momentum when it was much too little and far too late. Driving down the field late in the fourth quarter, Mahomes saw his drive suddenly halted by a scantily-dressed male fan who had somehow dodged NFL security and found his way to the field.
He was chased by several stadium personnel before being taken down (or giving himself up via slide, depending upon your tilt) at the Bucs' one-yard line. That was closer than the Chiefs had gotten to the end zone all day, but rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. didn't mind the breather on that drive.
"That was funny, but honestly I needed it because we were getting driven on," he said, via the Associated Press. "When he came out, that gave me a little bit of time to catch my breath. I'm glad he went out there because that helped me out a lot."
Winfield wasn't a participant in the NFC title game due to an ankle injury, but returned to make his presence felt when it mattered most for the Bucs. He'd finish with four tackles on the day but, more importantly, one of Mahomes' two interceptions as he helped contain dynamic wideout Tyreek Hill both physically and mentally. The latter climaxed when Winfield threw up a peace sign in the face of Hill after an incomplete pass that followed the streaking fan situation, a move that was readily seen as payback from the relentless taunting Winfield and the Bucs suffered at the hands of Hill in their loss to Kansas City in Week 12.
Unlike Hill in that contest, who was flagged for neither his peace sign aimed at Winfield nor his trademark backflip into the end zone, Winfield was penalized and the Chiefs were awarded 15 free yards, but he has zero regrets about his decision.
"It was just something I had to do," he said. "When we played them earlier, Hill went off on us. He backflipped in front of my face and gave me the peace sign. So, it was only right that I gave the peace sign back to him at this moment.
"It felt amazing to be able to do that."
While he was arrested and later charged with trespassing, the streaker likely feels the same way -- in that his choice felt amazing -- plus it had the seemingly unintended (?) effect of letting Winfield and his defensive compatriots gather themselves for one final stop en route to hoisting Tampa Bay's first Lombardi trophy since the 2002 season.