Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened in Super Bowl LV...
Things That Made Me Giddy
The Immortality of Brady: He wasn’t the best player on this team, and my MVP vote went to Shaq Barrett (and also wasn’t counted because I didn’t have a vote). But whatever unquantifiable leadership quality Brady brings to a franchise, this was the end result of it.
Tom Brady’s Rings:
Todd Bowles: He didn’t try to reinvent the wheel despite the extra week for preparation. The Bucs played a lot of two-deep, and he trusted his pass rush would get home, which it did. Shaq Barrett and the front four wrecked this game, and the secondary was in place to clean up everything else.
Brady and the Bucs Get Under the Chiefs’ Skin: The Bucs got the better of the Chiefs in every way possible and didn’t hesitate to tell them all about it. This was utter domination.
Devin White Is Everywhere You Want Him to Be: He's been a little up-and-down through two seasons, but it seems he might be a year or two away from becoming one of the league's special linebackers.
I Mean, This Was a Butt Kicking: The officiating was problematic in the first half, but it wouldn’t have mattered in the end. The Bucs outplayed and, especially, outcoached the Chiefs in every way imaginable.
How Much More Money Did Shaq Barrett Earn Tonight?: Probably not much more, since he had already earned the right to become one of the highest-paid non-quarterbacks in football when he hits free agency this offseason. He played 2020 on the free-agency cancellation tag, and at age 28 should absolutely draw what amounts to a top-of-the-market three-year deal.
Rob Gronkowski’s Lives: And catches touchdowns. Two of them, to be exact. And throws the ball at the ground at a great velocity afterward.
Ali Marpet Pulling in Front of Leonard Fournette: Just a beautifully executed, classic power run.
The Bucs Will Take Those Points at the End of the First Half: There were some questionable calls in the first half, but the 34-yard pass interference penalty on Bashaud Breeland was not one of them. The Chiefs used a time out after stuffing Leonard Fournette on the first play of that drive, and another after giving up eight yards on second down, and the Bucs made them pay for it in the form of seven points heading into halftime.
Mike Edwards’s Classic Air Jordan Cleats: Remain awesome, arguably the best the NFL has seen since Walter Payton’s Roos.
Mahomes’s Highlight Reel of Incredible Incompletions: There was the ball he bounced off Tyreek Hill’s face in the end zone on the first drive, and a few others sprinkled in throughout the game (the Kelce third-down drop comes to mind). And there was also this one on a desperation fourth down in the fourth quarter.
Hey, At Least Harrison Butker Was Pretty Good!: He hit all three of his kicks! Including a 52-yarder!
Andy Reid, Just … Didn’t Do Anything: He didn’t get his tackles help, he didn’t put Patrick Mahomes on the move, the Chiefs barely did any chip-blocking, and they seemed shocked that the Bucs were focused on taking away Tyreek Hill. This is a tape to burn for the Chiefs players, but probably for the coaching staff too. What did they do for two weeks?
I Mean, Come On:
Travis Kelce’s Rough Night: He did some second-half stat-padding, but this was one of the worst games of his career. He had a brutal drop on a third down after the Chiefs’ goal-line stand, and he slipped and then couldn’t shake Lavonte David on a third down to start the third quarter, resulting in a pass breakup.
This Holding Call: Never in the history of organized football has this been a penalty on the defensive player, but it is an especially egregious officiating error at the end of a season in which officiating crews very much took a “let them play” approach. The flag comes out before the interception and there’s no putting it away once it’s out, but this is overeager officiating at the worst possible moment.
Tommy Townsend Gets the Yips: A nightmare first half for the Chiefs' punter, who had two go off the side of his foot and bobbled a snap that led somewhat directly to a holding penalty (which preceded one of those kicks off the side of the foot).
Chris Jones Fouls Personally: It was another unnecessary call from an officiating crew weirdly determined to leave its mark on this game, this one bailing the Bucs out of a coming third-and-long. But Jones, who should have been tossed in the first half of the AFC title game for throwing a punch, has to stop letting himself get trolled into penalties in big games.
Joe Haeg Can't Hold On: A disappointing moment for him in the second quarter, but also a rightful ending to any tackle-eligible play.
The Commercials: Were terrible. All of them. Except for the local ones that played late after halftime and post-game. Richard Chevrolet out here had a good one, Mt. Rushmore theme with a lot of rock puns. Support local business.
Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About
Tom vs. Tyrann: There was a lot of talk going back-and-forth at the end of the second quarter, but I’m not sure what Mathieu would have been saying after the way Brady torched him on the touchdown at the end of the half.
What We’ll Be Talking About This Offseason
Ariel, Age 5: Is fighting for her life after Chiefs outside linebackers coach and Andy Reid's son Britt Reid, under investigation for driving under the influence, crashed into a stopped car she was in.
Chris Godwin’s Future: The Bucs have already invested a lot of money in Mike Evans. And considering the discount they can get on Antonio Brown, close friend of Tom Brady who was already toxic to most of the league but is also scheduled to face a civil trial for sexual assault during Week 13 next season, they'll likely debase themselves again. The wide receiver market is loaded and the position is stacked for April’s draft. Is Godwin the odd man out in Tampa?
How Do You Handicap the NFC for 2021?: The Rams found their answer at quarterback while the Saints lost theirs. The Packers figure to be back at full strength, and the 49ers will get a Pro Bowl roster coming off of IR. The Bucs, meanwhile, just blasted the best team in football. There’s not really any reason Tampa shouldn’t be NFC South favorites next year, with a chance to host some games on the way to the Super Bowl.
A Mahomes/Henne Quarterback Controversy Brewing?: Only time will tell. But more likely, Patrick Mahomes will be in 75% of the next 12 Super Bowls, and by his mid- to late-30s will be challenging Tom Brady's numbers. So... let's hold off before discussing the legacy of a 25 year old.
Thanks for Reading the Sunday FreakOut This Year: I’ll be back in September. But for now, as the tradition goes, let’s sign off with the greatest end-credits song in television history, courtesy of Mark Mothersbaugh...
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