As the current NFL season continues apace, we’re beginning to get a clearer picture of which teams are emerging as potential champions, and which teams will have work to do to salvage anything from their campaign.
Of course, the prize at the end of all this is a place in Super Bowl LVI, which takes place in February at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. It’s every player’s dream to have a Super Bowl triumph on the CV, and the current favourites to take the ultimate prize this season among those betting on NFL are the Buffalo Bills.
There is still a long way to go, so as we gradually draw nearer to the 2022 Super Bowl, let’s take a look back at the 2021 edition and remind ourselves what happened.
Bucs springing a surprise
Few people were expecting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to have a major say in who would win the Super Bowl last season, but after making the play-offs, Bruce Arians’ side built momentum and made it all the way to the showpiece game.
Their passage to the Super Bowl included wins over the Washington Football Team, the New Orleans Saints, and the Green Bay Packers. They scored at least 30 points in all of those games, as legendary quarterback Tom Brady inspired them to a thrilling run of form.
Chiefs standing in their way
The Bucs had the small matter of Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs to deal with in the Super Bowl. Having won the showpiece game the previous year, it was no surprise to see the Chiefs back in the Super Bowl, with talented quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the top of his game.
The Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills to secure their opportunity to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and they were understandably the favourites heading into the Super Bowl, due to the fact they had recent experience of getting over the line on such a big occasion.
However, there were a couple of things that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had on their side in advance of the Super Bowl. One was that the game was being played at their home venue, the Raymond James Stadium. The other was that, in Tom Brady, they had the most decorated quarterback in Super Bowl history.
Despite playing so well a year earlier, the Chiefs just couldn’t get going, and Brady was in inspired form, helping the Bucs establish a 21-6 lead by half-time. The majority home crowd were starting to believe that Tampa Bay were heading for the title.
Not even the enigmatic performance by The Weeknd in the half-time show could motivate the Chiefs, who failed to produce any kind of fightback in the second half, struggling against the powerful Tampa Bay defence.
Brady and co. continued to dominate, finishing another touchdown to ultimately run out 31-9 winners. It was a commanding performance, and the scenes of celebration duly ensued.
“I’m so proud of all of these guys,” Brady reflected as he celebrated his seventh Super Bowl triumph. “We had a rough November but Bruce Arians had all of the confidence in us and we came together at the right time. Coming down here and playing with this group of guys is amazing.”