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Vince Lombardi Trophy is staying in Tampa Bay
Thanking the City of Tampa for a “wonderful Super Bowl week in a season we will never forget,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell awarded the Lombardi Trophy to Bucs co-owner Joel Glazer as confetti fell inside Raymond James Stadium following Tampa Bay’s 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55.
“The Vince Lombardi Trophy is staying in Tampa Bay!” Goodell exclaimed, in reference to the Bucs being the first team to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Glazer saluted the health-care workers who have been so instrumental in battling the coronavirus, saying “they’re the real champions.”
The trophy next went to head coach Bruce Arians, who acknowledged his 95-year-old mother, Catherine, who traveled from Pennsylvania to attend the game, then quipped, “This really belongs to our coaching staff and our players. This is your trophy. I didn’t do a damn thing.”
Quarterback Tom Brady received it next, as Super Bowl MVP after winning his seventh NFL championship in 10 Super Bowl appearances.
“How ‘bout that?” Brady said, holding the trophy high, before reflecting on a journey that began with his signing in March and through a rough December that dropped the Bucs to 7-5 before the Bucs reeled off eight straight wins to claim the second championship trophy in the franchise’s 45-season history.
“We came together at the right time, “Brady said. “I think we knew this was going to happen, didn’t we?”
CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz asked Brady if his first championship outside of New England was any more special, but Brady declined to make any comparisons between his titles.
Brady, who has one year remaining on his contract with the Bucs, did, however, make it clear that he isn’t done yet.
“We’re coming back,” Brady said. “You guys know that.”
Bucs breeze to second Super Bowl
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and the Bucs defense punished Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throughout a 31-9 victory in Super Bowl 55 Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
The Bucs won their first championship in 18 years and only the second in their 45-season history. They also delivered Tampa Bay’s second major pro sports title in less than four months, following the Lightning’s Stanley Cup win in September.
Brady won his seventh NFL championship in his 10th Super Bowl appearance, eclipsing even Michael Jordan’s six NBA titles with the Bulls.
Brady threw two touchdown passes to former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski and another to Antonio Brown as the Bucs raced to a 21-6 halftime lead.
The Chiefs repeatedly hurt themselves with penalties (11 to the Bucs’ 4), including two pass-interference penalties during a late second-quarter drive that culminated with Brown’s TD catch.
Brady was efficient, completing 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and the three scores. He targeted Gronkowski a team-high seven times and connected on six, good for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Leonard Fournette rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries, including a 27-yard touchdown run.
Inside linebacker Devin White led the Bucs defense with 13 total tackles, including two for loss, and an interception. Ndamukong Suh had 1.5 sacks, Barrett one (Cam Gill had the other 1/2-sack). Antoine Winfield Jr. also intercepted a pass.
Harassed throughout the night by Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, Mahomes was limited to 270 yards on 26 of 49 passing with two interceptions. He picked up another 33 yards on five carries.
All of Kansas City’s scoring came off the foot of Harrison Butker, who kicked field goals of 49, 34 and 52 yards.
Running out of opportunities
Down 22 points early in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs eschewed a field-goal attempt on fourth and 9 from the Bucs 11 to try for a first down.
But as has happened repeatedly throughout the game, Patrick Mahomes was immediately chased out of the pocket, and his sidearm pass for running back Darrel Williams at the goal line was broken up by William Gholston.
Kansas City turned the ball over on downs.
Adding insult to injury
Two plays after extending their lead to 19 points, the Bucs put Patrick Mahomes on the ground, outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett sacking him for a 6-yard loss.
Then, the Bucs took the ball away from the Kansas City quarterback.
Antoine Winfield Jr. intercepted a deflected pass intended for Tyreek Hill, giving Tampa Bay possession at the Kansas City 45.
Of course it wouldn’t have been a play without a Chiefs penalty, and the Bucs declined a holding infraction against Austin Reiter.
The Bucs turned the takeaway into a 52-yard Ryan Succop field goal and a 31-9 lead with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter.
Bucs take three-score lead
The Bucs needed less than four minutes to take their biggest lead of the game.
One play after Rob Gronkowski took a pass over the middle 25 yards to the Chiefs 27, Leonard Fournette ran untouched around right end to pick up the rest.
Fournette’s 27-yard scoring run boosted the Bucs’ lead to 28-9 with less than eight minutes to play in the third quarter. The six-play drive took just 3:41 to complete.
Butker kicks third field goal of game
Clyde Edwards-Helaire produced the Chiefs’ biggest play of the game on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, gaining 26 yards up the middle to the Kansas City 45.
It kickstarted an early third-quarter drive that culminated with Harrison Butker’s third field goal of the game, a 52-yarder that trimmed the Chiefs’ deficit to 21-9.
The drive stalled when Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David knocked down a pass over the middle for Travis Kelce on third and 7 from the Tampa Bay 34.
Kansas City did not have a play longer than 14 yards in the first half.
Bucs lead 21-6 at halftime
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and the Chiefs were called for eight penalties — most of them costly — as the Bucs raced to a 21-6 halftime lead in Super Bowl 55 Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay is 30 minutes from its first championship in 18 seasons and only the second in its 45-season history.
Brady found former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski for two first-half scores and connected with Antonio Brown for another late in the half on a drive that was kept alive by two pass-interference penalties against Kansas City.
Brady finished the half 16 of 20 for 140 yards and the three scores. He was intercepted by Tyrann Mathieu, but the giveaway was nullified by a penalty.
Brady targeted Gronkowski a team-high five times and connected on each occasion, good for 42 yards and the two touchdowns.
Chiefs counterpart Patrick Mahomes was limited to 67 yards on 9 of 19 passing. He picked up another 33 yards on five carries.
All of Kansas City’s scoring came off the foot of Harrison Butker, who kicked field goals of 49 and 34 yards.
Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend struggled in the first half, averaging 35.7 yards on three punts. A 29-yard punt gave Tampa Bay possession at the Kansas City 38, setting up a second-quarter touchdown drive.
Inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, with five tackles apiece, led a Bucs defense that held the Chiefs to 124 total yards. White had two tackles for loss, and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett twice pressured Mahomes into incompletions.
One more score
Not content to take an 8-yard lead into the locker room at halftime, the Bucs threw deep down the left sideline to Mike Evans from their 42 with as the clock ticked down in the second quarter, and the gamble paid off — big time.
Bashaud Breeland was called for pass interference, resulting in a 34-yard penalty that moved the ball to the Chiefs 24.
After a 15-yard pass over the middle to running back Leonard Fournette, Brady threw into the end zone for Mike Evans. The pass was incomplete, but Tyrann Mathieu was called for interference, putting the ball at the 1.
Brady threw a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown on the next play, pushing the Bucs’ lead to 21-6.
Mathieu was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play.
Welcome to the Super Bowl, Travis Kelce
The Chiefs finally got standout tight end Travis Kelce involved in their offense late in the first half.
Patrick Mahomes completed passes of 13, 12 and 11 yards to Kelce on a field-goal drive that trimmed Kansas City’s deficit to 14-6 with just over a minute remaining in the second quarter.
Mahomes also scrambled 10 yards for a first down.
The drive stalled at the Tampa Bay 14, after Shaquil Barrett chased Mahomes well out of the pocket on third and 6, forcing him to throw the ball away.
The Chiefs were forced to settle for a 34-yard Harrison Butker field goal.
Chiefs give Bucs a helping hand
The Chiefs gift-wrapped the Bucs’ second touchdown of the game.
Tampa Bay took advantage of three Kansas City mistakes, each bigger than the last, on a six-play, 38-yard scoring drive that extended its lead to 14-3 with just over six minutes remaining in the first half.
First, Tommy Townsend shanked a punt 29 yards, giving the Bucs possession at the Chiefs’ 38.
Then, a defensive holding penalty against Charvarius Ward negated a Tyrann Mathieu interception.
It appeared the Bucs would come away with a field goal at best after Brady threw incomplete over the middle for Tyler Johnson on third and 5 from the Kansas City 22.
But Antonio Hamilton lined up in the neutral zone on Ryan Succop’s 40-yard field goal, giving the Bucs a first down at the 17.
Brady found Rob Gronkowsk in the back of the end zone for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead on the very next play.
Oh, and on the touchdown pass? Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland was called for defensive holding. The Bucs declined the penalty.
Chiefs make goal-line stand
The Bucs got their first real splash play early in the second quarter, when Tom Brady found wide receiver Mike Evans over the middle for a 31-yard completion to the Chiefs 6.
But Tampa Bay came away empty-handed thanks to a Kansas City goal-line stand.
After a 4-yard Ronald Jones run moved the ball to the 2, Brady threw incomplete to Joe Haeg on a tackle-eligible play and Jones was stopped following a 1-yard gain, setting up fourth and goal from the 1.
The Bucs put defensive tackle Vita Vea in the backfield to block, but Jones was stopped for no gain, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Bucs challenged the ruling, but the call on the field stood following a replay review.
Earlier in the drive, Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for 18 yards to the Bucs 48.
Gronkowski makes Super Bowl history
With his 8-yard touchdown reception late in the first quarter, Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski snagged a sliver of Super Bowl immortality.
The Canton-bound tight end, primarily a blocker and de facto decoy through the Bucs’ first three playoff games, became the first player to catch a pass in five different Super Bowls, according to ESPN researchers.
Gronk gets Bucs into the end zone
The Bucs took their first lead on Tom Brady’s 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski with 37 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After opening the drive with three straight Leonard Fournette runs, resulting in a first down, the Bucs went to the air and came away with a couple of big plays — completions of 16 yards to wide receiver Antonio Brown and 15 to tight end Cameron Brate.
An 11-yard Fournette run moved the ball to the Chiefs 13, and Brady went back to Brown for 5 yards to the 8.
On the very next play, Brady found Gronkowski open over the middle on a play-action pass, and the tight end went untouched into the end zone.
Chiefs go to the ground
The Chiefs kept the ball on the ground for much of their second possession, which culminated with Harrison Butker’s 49-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
An offside penalty against Bucs outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul put the ball at the Tampa Bay 30.
Devin White dropped Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a 1-yard loss on second and 10, setting up third and 11 from the 31.
Mahomes threw on the run into the end zone, but the ball appeared to go through the hands of Tyreek Hill, and Kansas City had to settle for the field goal.
The Chiefs picked up 26 yards on five carries on the drive. Mahomes and Edwards-Helaire each accounted for 11.
Bucs move the chains
Bucs running back Ronald Jones made the first big play of the game on Tampa Bay’s second possession, gaining 13 yards off right tackle for a first down at the Tampa Bay 33.
It went for naught, however, as Frank Clark sacked Tom Brady for a 6-yard loss on third and 8 from the Bucs 35, resulting in Bradley Pinion’s second punt of the game.
Missed opportunity for Chiefs
The Chiefs managed to pick up a first down on their first possession but squandered a big-play opportunity when Patrick Mahomes was unable to connect with a wide-open Mecole Hardman deep downfield.
The pass on third and 8 from the Kansas City 49 forced a Chiefs punt.
Earlier in the drive, Mahomes scrambled around left end for 11 yards on third and 7 to pick up a first down at the Kansas City 47.
Mahomes ran twice for 13 yards on the drive. He also completed a 3-yard pass to Byron Pringle.
Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett had a free path to Mahomes on the second play of the drive, forcing an incompletion.
Bucs go three-and-out on opening drive
The Bucs failed to pick up a first down on their opening drive, managing just 4 yards on their first three plays from scrimmage.
After Jaydon Mickens returned the opening kickoff 26 yards to the Tampa Bay 23, Tom Brady threw for 1 yard to Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette picked up 3 yards off left tackle to set up third and 6. Brady’s pass for Godwin was incomplete, forcing a Bradley Pinion punt.
Bucs’ Cameron Brate, Antonio Brown active
Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown and tight end Cameron Brate will be active for the Bucs tonight in Super Bowl 55.
Both players were listed as questionable Friday. Brate did not practice, listed as having a back injury. Brown was a full participant but was listed with a knee injury.
Fan cutouts create sobering image of Super Bowl 55
They beat the sunrise to Raymond James Stadium, by several hours. Not even the previous night’s squall line could dislodge them from the seats they had long since occupied for the most surreal of Super Bowls.
The coroplast images, all 30,000 of them, were cut out — quite literally — for such conditions. Few things at Super Bowl 55 captured the gravitas, persistence and poignance encapsulated in this game quite like the artificial figures composed of non-toxic, waterproof, shockproof, corrosion-resistant material, Joey Knight writes.
Bucs ensured superfan could be a big Super Bowl help
In his game-day persona as Big Nasty, Keith Kunzig is known as one of the Bucs’ biggest fans. And team officials apparently wanted to make sure he was positioned well to help.
After the Bucs clinched their spot as the host team in Super Bowl 55, Kunzig said a team official reached out with a ticket offer.
Bucs seek second title in their 45-season history
Can you believe it?
Eighteen years after their last Super Bowl appearance and less than a year after signing six-time champion Tom Brady, the Bucs will play in the NFL’s championship game today for only the second time in the franchise’s 45-season history.
In their home stadium, no less.
Brady and head coach Bruce Arians believed it.
In fact, Brady anticipated just about every ebb and flow of the season, from the slow start due to the lack of an offseason program and preseason games, to the late-season run, to the Super Bowl appearance.
The Bucs (14-5) will play the defending champion Chiefs (16-2) in Super Bowl 55 at 6:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in what has been billed perhaps the greatest quarterback matchup in the history of the game.
Brady, the most successful player in NFL history, will be seeking his seventh Lombardi Trophy in his 10th Super Bowl appearance. Mahomes, the MVP of Super Bowl 54 and heir apparent to Brady’s legacy, will try to make the Chiefs the first team to win back-to-back NFL titles since Brady’s Patriots in 2003 and ‘04.
Of course, to focus solely on the quarterbacks is to ignore a defense that has carried the Bucs throughout this postseason. More than Brady or Mahomes, the outcome of today’s game could depend on the play of a Tampa Bay secondary that has shined since being dissed at the outset of the season.
One of the players in that secondary will be toughing it out, as safety Jordan Whitehead will play with a “significant tear” in his labrum, an injury sustained during the NFC Championship Game. He will wear a harness on his shoulder and require surgery after the season.
Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee) and tight end Cameron Brate (back) are listed as questionable on the injury report and and expected to play. The same is true for Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf).
Weighing heavily on the minds of the Chiefs’ is a 5-year-old girl who is fighting for her life after being injured during a three-vehicle collision Thursday night in Kansas City that involved assistant linebackers coach Britt Reid, son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Britt Reid was hospitalized and did not travel to Tampa for the Super Bowl.
— FRANK PASTOR, Assistant Sports Editor
Miley Cyrus wows healthcare workers
Miley Cyrus brought Big Treadmill Energy, plus guest stars Joan Jett and Billy Idol, to the TikTok Tailgate for 7,500 vaccinated health care workers from Tampa Bay and the country. She heaped praise, noting the sacrifices they made to “get back to doing what we love, being who want want to be, fulfilling our purposes.”
You never know what to expect with Miley, but in this context, she was kind of... therapeutic? Stephane Hayes writes. For the first time in a while, a party in the U.S.A. felt like something we could picture again.
Lightning, Rays, Rowdies cheer on Bucs
The Lightning won’t be in Tampa for Super Bowl 55, but they’re traveling in style as they cheer on the Bucs from afar during their trip to Nashville for Monday’s game against the Predators.
Just over four months after the Lightning won the Stanley Cup, the Bucs seek their second Lombardi Trophy in the franchise’s 45-season history tonight against the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium.
Brady’s parents detail ‘harrowing’ experience with COVID-19
Tom Brady Sr. spent 18 days in the hospital with pneumonia and COVID-19 in September, struggling to breathe and worried he might die as a result of the virus.
“I’m thankful I’m here, to be honest with you,” Brady Sr. said Sunday during an interview with Andrea Kremer on NFL Network.
Brady’s mother, Galynn, also contracted “a severe case” of COVID-19 but remained at home under the care of her daughters.
Latest Super Bowl 55 prop bets and betting lines
As kickoff for Super Bowl 55 approaches, here are some of the notable odds and prop bets as of about 3 p.m., for entertainment purposes only, of course.
The Chiefs are favored by three points, but the odds have shifted slightly to the Bucs, according to SportsBettingDime.
Lynch: Football life comes full circle with Hall call
It’s not lost on John Lynch that he played his only Super Bowl in his hometown of San Diego or that he will be introduced as the newest member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, where he spent 11 seasons.
“I feel like this is just meant to be, that we’re here in Tampa,” said Lynch via a conference call Sunday prior to Super Bowl 55.”
Jordan Whitehead will play with partially torn labrum
Safety Jordan Whitehead is known as one of the Bucs’ toughest players, but that grit will be tested in Super Bowl 55.
Whitehead will play tonight at Raymond James Stadium with a “significant tear” in his labrum, an injury he sustained in the Bucs’ win at Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago.
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