Super Bowl LV Preview

The two best teams in football duke it out this Sunday night in what’s expected to be a Super Bowl shootout.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes stepping up and throwing on the run. Photo by Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images.

There’s no shortage for anticipation leading up to a Super Bowl. Every day, no matter how busy or tired, if you are a true football fan, you are counting every waking moment for the big game.

This is how I have normally spent my days, all while getting used to a new environment. The nights are always cozy and chilly despite the lukewarm bed, and entertainment is never an issue, but keeping focus and excitement is. I originally wanted to spend more time on football, but the academics kept me busy and distracted me for most of the time leading up to the game. There was even doubt as to whether I could write this piece. Thought about writing it on the notebook first, like the usual process. But time was running short, and the deadline is still approaching; I had to make the sacrifice. It’s not an official deadline, but everyone knows you only have the smallest of margins to give your predictions before they just become mumbo jumbo noise on the speakers. Most reporters like to flirt with time out of laziness or second nature just because they hate themselves. I’m still not sure where I stand on the issue.

In the simplest of terms, this Super Bowl amounts to a chance for serious bragging rights. If the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers they’ll become the first team since the New England Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowls, establishing themselves as the new dynasty of the league and the team people will try to emulate when building a roster moving forward. If the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs they will successfully turn their entire culture upside down and establish a level of respect they haven’t had since 2002; despite their Super Bowl title, it has been consistently mentioned how they have historically been the worst team in the league with the lowest winning percentage of any major North American sports team, at just a meager .393. A title will vanquish the doubts and set things right for the future.

The bragging rights also extends to the quarterbacks; if Patrick Mahomes beats Tom Brady the implications for his legacy would be astronomical, and the same goes for Brady. All eyes will be on them come Sunday. A legion of football fanatics will be empowered by the energy of a thousand suns. No amount of criticism or taunting will be able to shut them up. They will now have the most ultimate of trump cards, a Super Bowl victory against the greatest QB of all time and/or his generation. You can smell the aroma of victory and the dread of defeat in the air.

Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and TE Tob Grokowski having a conversation. Photo by Ethan Miller, Getty Images.

I haven’t paid much attention to the roster of either team. My knowledge is limited to the players on COVID reserve and the injuries. In my estimations, both teams are almost to their best of strengths, save for a few members of the Chiefs offensive line.

The first matchup between the two teams resulted in a 27–24 Chiefs victory. The Buccaneers allowed the Chiefs to score 21 points in the first half but held them to only six points in the second. The Bucs offense never got it going until the end and the defense was missing a few key pieces that allowed them to be burned heavily on long pass plays. Aside from these blunders Brady also threw two costly picks that weren’t too consequential in points but made them lose drive momentum. If they are able to avoid these mistakes there is a good chance this game can play out differently.

It is fair to say both team’s offenses are evenly matched in terms of firepower, though they have a different way of executing it. The Chiefs are more aggressive, athletic, and maverick in their approach, while the Bucs are slow, fundamental, and methodical. They strike fear in opposing defenses, but run the same risk of volatility. To stop both teams you need to make sure every hit counts; there is really no other way.

Each team’s defenses are very much capable of getting pressure and make things uncomfortable. It has been mentioned repeatedly on several forums and websites by credible observants that Chiefs TE Travis Kelce is not the same player when being shoved, pushed or muddled in the line of scrimmage; it throws him off-balance and doesn’t allow him to properly get in position to receive the football. The Bucs would be very wise to implementing this strategy in order to slow him down. While you can’t do the same for WR Tyreek Hill, a competent double team is very much capable of neutralizing him as the Patriots have shown to do from time to time. The Chiefs should be thinking the same thing, but focusing most of their resources on getting pressure to Tom Brady. It is a tale as old as time: if you pressure Brady, you win; it’s that simple. The Broncos showed it, the Ravens showed it, and the Giants showed it, twice.

Perhaps the X factor in why I am so confident the Chiefs will repeat as champions is due to the experience of their defense. As mentioned in previous columns, they are a well-rounded unit who tend to bend but rarely break. They have been in this situation before and have proven more than capable of stepping up to the challenge. That is of course not to say the Bucs defense can’t do it too, only that it is best to trust the experienced group more than the other. Despite everything that has been said about both teams’ offense, this game will rest on the defenses’ hands.

It pains me to say that despite everything I have outlined on how this can be a competitive game I already know the Chiefs are going to win it. Believe me when I say that I wish there was even the slightest of hope that the Chiefs have a chance of losing this game. Nothing on Earth will make me happier than to see them walk in shame through the tunnels as the confetti starts to pour, but they won’t. I know when I see a team of destiny who wins against even the biggest of odds for too long to not know when I’m seeing it again. It doesn’t matter how close the game is or if the Bucs are actually leading by 10 with five minutes to go. I haven’t seen anything that can stop this team, even with all their faults. They are just too much to handle, and everything seems to go their way regardless of how well the offense or defense plays. It seems to me that they can overcome everything no matter the odds. They are an abomination of enigmas and contradictions, but their well-oiled machine runs to perfection.

You can never be too damn sure about these things though. Football is such an unpredictable sport. I tend to enjoy the comparison of a well-made movie with twists and gut-wrenching action from start to finish, one of those spy thrillers that knows how to set the mood and get everyone suspicious and anxious. By the time it ends you have no idea how they got to where they did but there they are, basking and relishing the victory or wallowing in defeat. Another one of those sagas is upon us again, and for once I would like to enjoy the game as a reformed man who no longer screams and collapses in agony because of some questionable convictions. The hype is in crescendo. The audience is screeching. Here comes the trumpets.

Thank you very much for reading my work.

Absurd journalist and essayist from the outskirts of Shambhala.

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