Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 7:47, 2nd quarter
Big break for Tampa Bay. Tyrann Mathieu gets a clutch interception that’s wiped out by a clear holding penalty. It’s still Tampa Bay ball and they are going to be on the Kansas City 27.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 8:25, 2nd quarter
The Buccaneers are in a great spot here, obviously. Brady throws to Brown, but he gets hit for aloss. 2nd & 13, Brady throws to Gronk who gets a nine hard gain here.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 9:09, 2nd quarter
Mahomes throws one incomplete, then follows it up with a throw to Darrel Williams, but he only gets two yards. Mahomes finds Kelce, a very good idea, but Kelce straight-up drops it. The Chiefs have to punt, and in fact have to do it twice thanks to a flag on the play. They will pin Tampa Bay at the Chiefs 38.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 10:09, 2nd quarter
Now, of course, the Chiefs are buried deep here. On 1st & 10, Hill gets to the Kansas City 15. A good job, but there’s a lot more ground to cover.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 10:55, 2nd quarter
The Buccaneers are on the two-yard line now. It’s 2nd & goal, Brady throws incomplete. 3rd & goal at the Kanas City 2… Jones can’t get anywhere and there’s even a fumble on the play. Tampa Bay recovers it at the one here, however. On 4th & goal, the Kansas City defense stops the Bucs. There’s a review, but it only confirms the calling on the field. Chiefs ball.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 12:25, 2nd quarter
Ronald Jones picks up 8 yards. It’s 2nd & 3 at the Kanas City 45 when Brady find Mike Evans for a long play, 31 yards to the Kansas City 6. Buccaneers take a timeout. When they get back they have Ronald Jones go up the middle for four yards.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 14:24 2nd quarter
Okay, they do have virtual fans here but they’re all cardboard. This feels like a metaphor but I can’t think of what for. On 1st & 10, Brady throws incomplete to Jones. On the net play we have another penalty here, it’s unnecessary roughness on the defense. Kansas City’s Chris Jones to be specific. It’s a 15 yard gain.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 14:50, 2nd quarter
It’s 3rd & 4 for the Chiefs. The Buccaneers make another defensive stand here and Mahomes throws incomplete once again. They are going to have to punt here.
Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, end of the 1st quarter
Can the Chiefs counter here? Pringle takes the kickoff to their own 37. On 2nd & 10, Mahomes throws one incomplete before targeting Travis Kelce on 2nd & 10. Kelce picks up six yards and that’s the end of our first quarter.
TOUCHDOWN! Chiefs 3-7 Buccaneers, 0:37, 1st quarter
Next play we have a flag on the defense. It’s for holding, on Bashuad Breeland. It’s 1st and 10 for Tampa Bay. Brady throws super-deep to Antonio Brown, a 16 yard gain that will take them to the Kansas City 39. Brady then finds Brate for 15 yards. They’re on their opponents’ 24. A very smart, methodical drive going here. Fournette picks up another eleven yards. Brady finds Brown for a five yard gain.
It’s 8 and goal and—wow it’s just like the old days; Brady finds Gronkowski for a touchdown! The extra point is good and the Bucs have a lead.
Chiefs 3-0 Buccaneers, 3:56, 1st quarter
Butker’s kick goes into the end zone, so that will be a touchback here. The Buccaneers are at their 20. Laurence Fournette gets the first two carries here, for Tampa Bay and he’s gets them to a 3rd & 1 situation. It’s Fournette’s ball again and he just manages to pick up the first down.
Chiefs 3-0 Buccaneers, 5:14, 1st quarter
Mahomes tries to find Hardman but can’t and then Edwards-Helaire gets pushed back a yard. Mahomes throws another near touchdown, but it’s just an incomplete pass. They do, however, get points on the board via a 49 yard field goal by Harrison Butker.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 6:08, 1st quarter
Mahomes runs again for a first down, this is something he can do far better than the mostly immobile Tom Brady. He gets to the Buccaneers 41. Edward-Helaire picks up six yards, that’s 2nd & 4 and… whoa, the Buccaneers just barely manage to snuff out a near-touchdown pass from Mahomes. There’s also a flag on the play though, so that’s an automatic first down and they are at the Tampa Bay 30.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 8:03, 1st quarter
Our first Tyreek Hill sighting of the day as he picks up 5 yards to start the Kansas City drive. On 2nd & 5, Clyde Edwards-Helaire picks up the remaining five yards to pick up the first down
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 8:41, 1st quarter
Bradley Pinion comes on to punt and it looks like the Chiefs will start their second drive here on their own 38.
Feels like a fair question.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 9:22, 1st quarter
Roland Jones Jr is the running back with the first carry for the Bucs and he makes the most of it running off for 13 yards. Scotty Miller gets caught for a loss of three. He throws to Cameron Brate who gets five yards but Brady is sacked on the very next possession and that will do it for them.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 11:29, 1st quarter
The punt goes into the end zone for a touchback so Tampa Bay will be starting at their own 20.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 11:29, 1st quarter
On 1st & 10, Mahomes runs again, for a gain of 2 yards. 2nd & 8, Mahomes throws one long but it goes nowhere. 3rd & 8, Mahomes throws to a wide open Mecole Hardman but it’s nowhere near him. He tries again, and it’s another no-go so the Chiefs have to punt as well.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 12:48, 1st quarter
On 2nd & 7, Mahomes throws incomplete. On 3rd & 7, he legs it out and picks up eleven yards for a first down.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 13:33, 1st quarter
The Buccaneers punt which puts the Chiefs at their own 33. On 1st & 10, Mahomes throws to Byron Pringle for a 3 yard gain and you know once Pringle pops he just can’t stop.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 13:48, 1st quarter
And it’s quickly a three-and-out. Well that’s a good start for my scoreless first quarter prediction.
Chiefs 0-0 Buccaneers, 15:00, 1st quarter
The Buccaneers will be starting at their own 28 after a short kickoff return.
Oh of course we have one more montage to go. This one’s narrated by Brad Pitt in a weirdly deep voice.
And we’re doing a salute to everyday heroes here before the coin toss. Kansas City wins the coin toss and the wisely decide to defer, so the Buccaneers will have possession first. We’re very, very close to actual sports here.
There’s already chatter online about the crowds possibly being larger than previously announced. Judging by the eye, it definitely feels that way.
Hey, Eric Church. I actually like him and he’s singing along with Jazmine Sullivan. We’re doing a mixture of country and soul here that shouldn’t really work, but actually does.
So that’s two impressive performances in a row, hopefully that ends up being a sign that this is going’to be a good one.
The H.E.R. performance was quite great. Also, this is a great tweet.
Oh hey, it’s the incredibly talented H.E.R. doing “American the Beautiful.” This is really, really lovely stuff.
The Super Bowl isn’t entirely about football. Some, in fact, would argue that it isn’t even mostly about football. On that note, the Guardian will also be keeping up a liveblog of the commercials and the halftime entertainment and everything else that goes along with this de facto holiday.
Oh, hey it’s the Chiefs war chant. That’s… that’s, uh, an interesting choice …
There’s something else newsworthy about today: Sarah Thomas will be the first woman to ever officiate a Super Bowl. This feels like it probably should have happened before 2021, but it’s nice to see regardless.
The player introductions are about to begin, which is a sign that actual football will be coming soon.
Email from Oliver Wicks:
Hi Hunter, I’m enjoying your text stream. I’m Olly in Liverpool, England. Here’s my prediction.
Nobody thought the Bucs would beat the Saints in the play offs, let alone the Packers. But tonight, I think the TB12 fairytale will come to an end and the Chiefs will thunder to a second super bowl win in two years. If Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill all have an 8/10 game or better, you simply can’t stop them and can’t outscore them. That will happen tonight. They’re just too good.
This feels like a solid “most likely scenario” on my end, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I expect it to play out that way.
Well, we at the Guardian thank everybody who will be staying up with us. I won’t lie, these things tend to go a little long.
From our good pal Roger Kirkby:
Hi Hunter, I’ve seen too many predictions that these two QB’s are gonna go toe to toe in a high scoring shootout. Therefore I predict 10-7 at the half, I’ve got no dog in this fight, but if I was a betting man I would go unders all the way. Love watching the SB to see a funky play that you don’t see often, the team that springs one will win.
I too am afraid that we sort of jinxed things here. Games very rarely play out as expected (I mean, obviously, or otherwise they wouldn’t play it.) I have predicted a scoreless first quarter partly because of that. We’ll see.
If anyone else has any predicitons, feel free to share it with us. The email’s hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian, the Twitter account is @HunterFelt (don’t worry this is the last time I’m going to repeat myself here at least until halftime).
I’m writing this from a very wintry Boston, MA. Since I’m snowbound here, you would think that I would get a pang of jealousy while watching these two teams playing in sunny, 60 degree weather. Funnily enough, not really. I mean, it’s not like there’s anywhere to go here in the New Abnormal.
My brother Travis actually lives in Southwest Florida and roots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (although I think he’s really more of a hockey guy). Let me tell you, it’s borderline-hilarious that he’s now rooting for Tom Brady while I’m not. Maybe it is all about the laundry. I’m going to attempt to get him to comment on how the Bucs are doing. In the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning just won the Stanley Cup, so we’re lookng at an abundance of riches here, potentially for Tampa.
Hello all, this is Hunter Felt and I’m taking over this blog for the next few hours. Glad to be here and glad not be outside in the snow.
Sometimes we in the media need to manufacturer narratives where there aren’t necessarily there. That will not be the case today when the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers here in Super Bowl LV. The focus is going to be on the two quarterbacks. Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady (age 43) is looking for another ring to help solidify his case as the best QB in NFL history while Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (age 25) is hoping to be the player that eventually could challenge Brady.
Now, there are other things going on here than a quarterback battle for the ages. The Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in last year’s Super Bowl and are looking to win back-to-back championships. The Chiefs have done a fantastic job in surrounding Mahomes with a variety of dangerous offensive weapons, most notably tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. They were 14-2 during the regular season, giving them the best record in the league and they are the favorites to win it all today.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady will be appearing in the tenth Super Bowl of his career—he has already won six—but this would be his first time winning a championship with a team other than the New England Patriots. Also, this is the first time that a team has ever had home court advantage in a Super Bowl, as this will all be taking place at Raymond James Stadium. This would be more of a help for Tampa Bay if it weren’t for the fact that this Super Bowl will have the lowest attendance in NFL history for reasons that should be quite obvious. As Tom noted earlier, there will only be 25,000 fans in a stadium that has a maximum capacity of 65,890 and who knows how many of those will actually be Bucs fans. (I still think it would be hilarious if they took their lead from the NBA and put virtual fans in the seats.)
No matter what happens, we probably couldn’t have hoped for a more intriguing matchup than the one we’re getting today. This could be quite a fun one. f you feel like you want to join us here in this liveblog we’ll be taking your thoughts, questions and whatnot. Just email them to us (to firstname.lastname@example.org) or tweet them (to @Hunter Felt). We’ll post those here on the blog over the next few hours. It’s the Kansas City Chiefs vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The game’s scheduled to start at 6:30pm, but I’ll be back well before that to get you prepared for the final NFL game of the season.
Tom Brady goes for his seventh Super Bowl title today at the tender age of 43. And, in a stupidly successful career, this season may be his finest yet:
Meanwhile, the Puppy Bowl was broadcast earlier today and we have today’s sporting hero already. The mental tenacity and physical toughness to overcome injury and compete in the sport Jett loves is why he’s the best in the game:
Patrick Mahomes’ arm is looking decent in the pre-game warm-up.
How good is Mahomes? Our NFL columnist Oliver Connolly thinks the Chiefs quarterback is chasing Jordan rather than Brady:
“Mahomes is chasing that rare space that puts an athlete at the center of pop culture; that makes them both indivisible from the sport they play but allows them to exist a step removed, the same way that Jordan still hovers over everything in the NBA. Jordan hasn’t played in the NBA for 17 years. But the NBA economy – from debate show culture to documentaries to shoe deals to marketing to ownership groups – still runs on Michael Jordan.
“To put Mahomes near that class so early in his career may sound hyperbolic or blasphemous but consider this: no quarterback in NFL history has gotten off to the same sort of start to a career as Mahomes. And no single position holds such a spot in the US sports landscape as that of a starting NFL quarterback.”
Sidenote, his teammate Travis Kelce has thought hard about his wardrobe today:
“Evening, Tom,” emails Matt Dony. “I don’t tend to follow American Football, but I love watching almost any sport when it’s played well. Most years, I stay up and watch the Super Bowl (or, most of it, anyway) because it’s such an ‘Event’. This year, though, it’s awkwardly coinciding with an England cricket match that’s being broadcast on terrestrial tv from the early hours of the morning in the UK. So, my quandary is, do I stay up late and watch this? Or go to bed, and get up early to watch the cricket? I’m genuinely stumped…”
Hmmmm. I’d probably watch both and sleep through tomorrow.
The Raymond James Stadium will be at a third of its capacity today, with a third of the tickets given to health workers to acknowledge their tireless and vital work during the pandemic.
Unlike the stadium, the bars of Tampa will be crowded today, despite the pandemic. They’ll be allowed to operate at 100% capacity, as long as customers are seated and masked. You can read more about the city’s preparations for the game here:
The Buccaneers have homefield advantage today and the most successful quarterback of all time, but they are up against a terrifyingly dangerous offense, led by arguably the most talented NFL player of all time. How do they win? Our writers give their thoughts:
Shorten the game. The Bucs have proven they can swap between a number of styles this season. They can win with their exceptional defense. They can rely on Tom Brady to hang in a shootout. Against the Chiefs, though it won’t be as entertaining, they will have to rely on the run-game to extend drives against a weak-ish Chiefs front in order to contain the scoreline. Get Brady to the final drive with a chance to win the game, that should be the plan. Oliver Connolly
Sic Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and Ndamukong Suh on the Chiefs’ backup tackles. Mix it up a little on first down. (The handoffs to Leonard Fournette & Co are so predictable.) And capitalize on every opportunity to connect with receivers downfield, a point of emphasis for Bruce Arians all season. If Antonio Brown is looking for a time to shine, this is it. Andrew Lawrence
Brady’s doesn’t want to get into a throwing contest with Mahomes at this point of his career. His edge will lie in his experience. He doesn’t want to be a pure game-manager here, he’s going to have to connect on a few long-balls to win, but if he focuses on making the right play over trying for the big play, his team have a solid chance. Hunter Felt
Tampa must play to their strengths and blitz early and often. They have the pedigree – nine sacks and two wins against Rodgers this season – and can slow down Mahomes by attacking an offensive line missing both its starting tackles. You run the risk of death by a thousand Tyreek and Travis-shaped cuts but Todd Bowles must be brave to limit Kansas City’s scoring. Graham Searles
You can read more game predictions here:
Little-known 576 year-old quarterback Tom Brady is starting for the Buccaneers today, so we asked another hall of famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to write about playing into your 40s (OK, Brady is 43). These are the fantastic results:
“I was 42 when I retired from the Lakers. After 20 seasons, I had a lot of NBA records and very little hair. Some of those records have since been broken, some remain to be broken at a time to be decided. I did learn some lessons about being a middle-aged athlete in a league where the average age is 26, which is also the age of the average NFL player. Some of those lessons were about playing, some were about being a player – two very different things.
“Playing on a professional level against well-trained athletes 20 years younger is a challenge. The court seems much longer, the legs seems heavier, the hoop seems smaller. That’s when you come face-to-face with what philosophers call the mind-body problem: the relationship between the consciousness of the mind and the stubborn bag of meat that is your body.”
You can read Kareem’s full column here:
Joe Biden has been interviewed by CBS about the Super Bowl. The president is asked if he thinks we will be able to watch next year’s game in front of a full stadium.
“It’s my hope and expectation … that we will be able to watch the Super Bowl with a full stadium [in 2022]. He also advises people not to pack into Super Bowl watching parties this year: “If you’re watching, be careful,” he says.
He is also asked if he’d prefer to be thrown to by Mahomes or Brady (Biden was a receiver back in the day). He opts for Mahomes who, he notes, has some “potential”, a mild understatement. Then Biden remembers he is a politician and says they are “both great quarterbacks”. A change from his predecessor who probably would have nominated himself as the greatest player of all time.
The build-up to this game has been overshadowed by a horrible car crash involving Chiefs linebackers coach Britt Reid that left a child in serious condition. And the latest news is not good:
Britt Reid is the son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, so who knows how he must be feeling right now (and that’s before we get into the parents of the injured child).
Britt Reid is also in hospital with unspecified injuries and, according to a police report, said he had had two or three drinks on the evening of the accident.
Miss the day when players could smoke on the sidelines? (LEGAL NOTE: The Guardian does not endorse smoking – even the low tar ones.) Then take a stroll through our gallery of Super Bowls past (also featuring the Giants dressed as Shirley Temple, which is as terrifying as it sounds):
Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce has appeared on CBS and talked about his offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy.
“I think it’s disrespectful that he hasn’t found a head coaching job yet,” said Kelce. “But I’ll reap the benefit of him being here every single year and we’ll just keep making the Super Bowl as long as we’ve got him.”
Bieniemy has been one of the masterminds of one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history. And, yet, despite the dearth of coaches of a colour in a league where the majority of players are black, Bieniemy has been unable to find a head coaching job while LOTS of guys who look like Sean McVay are put in charge of teams.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is asked about the NFL’s lack of black coaches. He says he takes the issue “very seriously” and admits the league “didn’t do as well as we wanted”. It’s easy to put the blame on Goodell and the league office – and there’s plenty to blame the commissioner for! – but the fact is that the white billionaires who own NFL teams are the ones choosing not to employ black coaches.
Andrew Lawrence has more on the coaching situation in the NFL below:
Hello and welcome to coverage of [checks Roman numerals] Super Bowl 55, between the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs and the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the first team to play in their own stadium in Super Bowl history). Usually the Guardian would be in the stadium, but with the pandemic this year the NFL could only promise us a desk in the media center in the stadium carpark, so we’ll be in front of the TV too. No matter, let’s face it, NFL is better on TV than live anyway.
The most obvious question is: who is going to win? Four of our writers had their say, and their thoughts are below:
Chiefs 31-24 Buccaneers. The combination of Brady and Bowles is about as good as you can hope for in trying to knock the Chiefs off their perch. No one is capable of stopping the Chiefs, but all the Bucs require is a defense that slows Mahomes-Andy Reid machine down, even for a possession or two. Tampa have the talent and staff to be able to pull off such a plan. I have the Bucs giving Brady a chance on the final possession but coming up just short. The Chiefs’ offensive power, even with all the Bowles goodness, is just too overwhelming. And even when plays break down, nobody is better off-script than Mahomes. The Chiefs go back-to-back and Mahomes takes home a second successive MVP. Oliver Connolly
Chiefs 30-29 Buccaneers. As exposed as Mahomes figures to be on the edge, one could easily see the Bucs defense forgetting about the QB’s wheels until it’s too late. Whether it’s by picking up chunk yardage or buying time to fire darts to Cheetah & Co, eventually, Mahomes will take their heart. Andrew Lawrence
Chiefs 34-17 Buccaneers. Look for the teams to keep it close for a while but by the fourth quarter, the Chiefs will have the lead and salt it way with one of those Mahomes bursts where he rattles off two touchdowns in the blink of an eye. Hunter Felt
Chiefs 30-33 Buccaneers. I said it mid-season and I will say it again, Tom Brady and the Bucs will win the Super Bowl. Picking against Brady is a fool’s errand especially now he is an underdog. Six titles and your team not being favourite is testament to how good the Chiefs are but Brady will have the last word in the game with a last-minute drive and possibly on which QB is truly the greatest. Same time next year, Tom. Graham Searles
You can read the predictions in full below: