Super Bowl Preview: GOAT vs. MVP

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes square off in a battle of the old guard and the future

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Dirk Shadd/Times

Can Tom Brady maintain his series edge over Patrick Mahomes? We’ll fine out Sunday.

Christina Denovio, Sports Editor

On Feb. 7, Super Bowl LV will showcase an incredibly anticipated matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, FL. Veteran quarterback Tom Brady will lead his team in their home stadium against the defending Super Bowl champions, led by young quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This year will mark Brady’s tenth Super Bowl appearance and his first Super Bowl appearance with the Bucs. Brady already has six rings from his time playing for the New England Patriots, and he looks to add a seventh against a team that beat the Bucs 27-24 during the 2020-21 regular season.

Mahomes, though less experienced than Brady, is considered the best young quarterback of his generation. The 2018 NFL MVP will be looking to win his second straight Super Bowl with a team that recently signed him to a 10-year contract worth up to $503 million, the largest contract in sports history. Brady currently holds the title of most successful quarterback of all time, but due to Mahomes’ talent and athletic ability, the Chiefs QB is seen as a threat to that claim.

Both teams featured in this year’s Super Bowl had excellent regular seasons, as the Buccaneers went 11-5, and the Chiefs finished with a record of 14-2. Tampa Bay secured the Wild Card spot in the playoffs, as they finished No. 2 in the AFC South behind the New Orleans Saints. They went on to dominate the playoffs, and eventually beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 24.

The Chiefs had the best record in football this season, making them the clear favorites to get to the Super Bowl. In the AFC Championship, the Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills with relative ease to secure a spot in their second consecutive Super Bowl. Last year, Mahomes led his team to victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Miami, FL.

The real excitement around the upcoming Super Bowl comes from the matchup of two great quarterbacks in very different stages of their careers. Brady is 43-years-old and has a two-year, $50 million contract with Tampa Bay. There is a strong chance he will retire after the 2021-22 season, so football fans are seeing him in what might very well be his last Super Bowl appearance ever. On the other hand, Mahomes still has at least nine seasons with the Chiefs ahead of him. Brady left a team that went to ten consecutive playoffs to play for Tampa Bay, a team that had not gone to the playoffs since 2007. Similarly, Mahomes revived the Kansas City program, which had not won a Super Bowl since 1970.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and CBS analyst Tony Romo commented on the matchup.

“This is like LeBron James facing Michael Jordan. Jack Nicklaus against Tiger Woods.”

“In 30-40 years from now, I have a funny feeling this might be the greatest matchup [of all time],” Romo continued, “This could be one of the great matchups in sports history.”

Brady is the undisputed greatest quarterback of all time for many fans, but Mahomes had the most accomplishments by any player under the age of 25 in NFL history.

After already obtaining a Super Bowl ring and an MVP trophy, Mahomes looks to become the first quarterback to win two Super Bowls before turning 26. Mahomes even has a shot at the MVP trophy this year, but he is up against Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who finished with an astonishing 4,299 passing yards, 48 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Mahomes is still very much in the running, as he threw for 4,740 yards, 38 passing touchdowns and has a QBR of 82.9 and a passer rating of 108.2.

For those who are not true football fans and simply watch the game for the fun of it, something to look forward to is The Weeknd’s performance during the halftime show. The Canadian singer spent $7 million of his own money to ensure the greatness of the performance.

“We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience,” The Weeknd said. “We want to do that with the Super Bowl.”

While the matchup between these two great quarterbacks may entice regular football watchers, much of the American population will be interested in seeing what The Weeknd comes up with during halftime.

It’s hard to predict the winner of this year’s Super Bowl, as it comes down to more than who is the greater quarterback. Tampa Bay’s talented wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin sweeten Brady’s chances at another ring.

On the other hand, Mahomes has weapons like Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins to throw to. Both teams also have strong defenses. The last time the teams squared off, each defense impressively was able to hold the opposing team’s superstar QB to under 30 points. Whatever the outcome may be, as Romo predicted, this Super Bowl will certainly be memorable for its epic QB matchup.