The Legendary Super Bowl 55

Steven Moore, Sports Statistician

Although the events of Super Bowl 55 might not have panned out how most expected, the game was one that will never be forgotten. This year’s Super Bowl matchup took place in Tampa Bay, Florida, pulling a huge hometown advantage to the side of the Buccaneers. However, the opposing Chiefs team was hungry for a repeat. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers back in February of 2020 in last year’s Super Bowl. These two teams faced off earlier in the season when the Chiefs traveled to Tampa back in week 12 of the regular season, and Kansas City defeated the Bucs 27-24. This final score did not represent the game events, however, because the Chiefs had dominated almost all aspects of this game.

The high-powered Chiefs offense had been playing the best football they had been playing all year late in the season. This was led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wideout Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Hill produced crazy impressive numbers this year with 87 receptions for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also had 13 carries on the ground for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Kelce also had a career season, outshining all other tight ends in the league by a long shot. He put up huge numbers as well with 105 receptions, 1,416 yards, and 11 touchdowns. This receiving tandem was unstoppable throughout the year and they combined for 21 receptions, 341 yards and three touchdowns alone against Tampa Bay earlier this season. Now in the Super Bowl, the solid Buccaneers defense would need to have a scheme brilliant enough to try and shut down Kelce and Hill in order to keep the Lombardi trophy in Tampa.

For the Buccaneers, their season had been a rollercoaster as well. They had all the offseason hype surrounding their new acquisitions, most notably because of Tom Brady. Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football achievements wise. All game statistics aside, Brady has six Super Bowl victories in New England, being named the MVP in five of those six victories. He is now looking for his seventh here in Tampa Bay as he reaches the age of 43. In addition to bringing Brady to town, Tampa was also able to keep their whole front seven, despite high-profile starters like outside linebacker Shaq Barrett and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Bucs were known to have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, which would create a difficult task for Kansas City’s rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this Super Bowl matchup.

Heading into, and throughout the playoffs this year, both teams were dealing with some notable injuries. In the AFC divisional round when the Chiefs took on the Cleveland Browns, Patrick Mahomes injured his right big toe, and he showed some clear discomfort in the first half of that game as a result. Later on in the game, Mahomes took a hit from Mac Wilson on Cleveland when he tried to scramble for a first down. Mahomes would come out for the remainder of the game, putting backup Chad Henne in a difficult position to close out the divisional round. They would go on to win the game however, but Mahomes was diagnosed with a concussion and he would also explain to the media of how he was still experiencing some neck spasms, going into the AFC championship game against the high-powered Buffalo Bills squad. Edwards-Helaire was also dealing with ankle and hip ailments coming into and throughout the playoffs, which would open up Le’Veon Bell’s role with Helaire out. On the other side, most notably for Tampa Bay, star receiver Mike Evans was dealing with a knee injury heading into the first playoff game against the Washington Football Team. Throughout the season, Evans had been dealing with on-and-off knee and hamstring injuries but he would go onto participating in 88 percent of all snaps this year, meaning he would miss no games even while on the injury report. Chris Godwin of Tampa Bay, who had an insane rookie year last season had also been dealing with hamstring troubles earlier in the year keeping him sidelined for a couple matchups early on, was fully healthy and coming off a huge game in Atlanta in week 17. Nonetheless, both teams were given proper rest and were more than ready for this gritty matchup.

Coming into the game, all odds were on Kansas City even though they were on the road against a hot Buccaneers team. The Chiefs were favored by three points, which puts a lot of confidence in the young Patrick Mahomes and his offense. The game had started off slow with little scoring. Very pleasing to some, Tom Brady connected with his old friend Rob Gronkowski for the first touchdown in Super Bowl 55. Brady and Gronk connected six times, two of those times would result in touchdowns. A well known name in the NFL, Leonard Fournette would also punch it in for a score one time for Tampa. Fournette would later rush for 89 yards on 16 carries. Freshman Raygen Brayton stated, “Fournette deserves to be the RB1 at least to start because of his playoff performances every week.” Additionally, sophomore Luke Culver added, “Fournette deserves to be the RB1 at least to start because of his playoff performance.” Many NFL fans were recognizing the impact that Fournette was having on the Bucs playoff run to the Super Bowl. Ronald Jones, Tampa’s regular season RB1, had fallen into the shadow of Fournette in the playoffs as his physical run style took over behind Brady.

As for the receiving, Evans and Godwin were relatively quiet, combining for three receptions, only resulting in 40 yards. For Kansas City, they could not seem to move the ball at all the whole contest. Many were questioning play calling and decision making. Junior Max Goldberg said, “You can’t blame them for the entire game because there were problems on both ends of the ball.” This is referring to the play calling of head coach Andy Reid, and the decision making by Patrick Mahomes. A lot of fans were skeptical in terms of what changed in the Bucs defense from week 12 when Tyreek Hill torched the secondary. Hill was held to seven catches with 73 yards and no touchdowns, while Kelce had 10 catches for 133 yards and no touchdowns. Although both receivers still had great games, the biggest part of both stat lines was no touchdowns. Tampa Bay took away the biggest scoring threats on the other side of the ball, which ultimately allowed them to win this game. The final score was convincing, 31-9 in favor of the Buccaneers.

Tom Brady was able to acquire his seventh Super Bowl victory and fifth MVP award. Senior Laurel Stanton said, “I think Brady deserved the MVP award.” Many fans saw potential in other players for MVP, such as Rob Gronkowski, but Brady threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns, proving his Super Bowl efficiency. Overall, the game was fun to watch with some surprising aspects. The biggest one being how quiet the Chiefs offense had been all four quarters. Regardless, Brady and the Bucs were keeping the trophy in Tampa Bay, and they were able to pick up a sensational Super Bowl victory in a very important time in Tom Brady’s career.