An Englishman’s tale; Staying Up for Superbowl LV
Updated: Apr 5, 2021
At the time of writing Superbowl LV is underway. That is 55 for those of you who have no prowess in Roman Numerals (I googled it so you don’t have to). I am English. That means Superbowl is a very late-night affair. Tip-off is sometime after 1130pm, which requires some preparation to stay awake for a game that will last beyond 3 am.
My strategy begins by incrementally upping my sleep time across the weekend. It then turns to Coffee, and lot’s of it. Then comes the question of which broadcast to choose from; Sky or BBC? After guidance from my friend Jack, I elected to go with the BBC coverage, as they break down plays in layman’s terms, which is beneficial to a novice such as myself. Speaking of Jack, he accompanied me for my first Superbowl in 2017; Patriots vs Falcons aka the greatest comeback in Superbowl history. Unfortunately, due to Covid, we can’t watch in the same space, so we have resorted to the power of the internet and are watching along via FaceTime.
Let’s hope this game is worth it. Kansas looking for a back to back, Mahomes the future of the league, up against Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay. This is a recipe for success surely.
For me it has to be Tampa Bay, based on my limited knowledge this is purely based on narrative. That narrative circles around a certain Tom Brady, the Goat of Quarterbacks. Brady is 43, this is his 10th Superbowl, his first at Tampa Bay, chasing a 7th Ring. If he can pull this off (and at this point of writing he is up 14-3 in the 2nd Quarter) it will be a legendary tale. For that reason, I’m riding Bucs. Jack went Kansas, to begin with, but sloppy defensive penalties have allowed the Bucs to streak ahead. Mahomes is only just starting to heat up come the 2 Minute Warning in the 2nd Quarter.
Another misstep from the Chiefs sees the Bucs charging down the Gridiron. 1st and Goal, mere seconds left in the half.
1st Down, pass interference.
So we get another 1st and Goal.
TOUCHDOWN TAMPA BAY.
And the score at halftime is;
Tampa Bay 21, Kansas City 3.
For a Brit staying up late, so far it has been worth it. Jack is talking me through plays and foul calls so I’m gaining knowledge in time with the action. Action, that’s been the name of the game so far and it has all been in Brady and the Buc’s favour. The name of the game for the Chiefs is penalties. There have been lot’s of penalties and with the protection Brady’s Offensive Line provides that just cannot be happening for Kansas, but it is.
Next up is the Halftime Show. The Halftime Show is a Superbowl Tradition that is met with giddy anticipation every year. This year on the mic is The Weeknd who reportedly has put $7million of his own money into the production of the show to meet his required ‘vision,’ whatever the hell that means.
Is the 7 mill worth it?
Well, it is easy to see how the money has been spent. The Production is grandiose and that is an understatement. Also, The Weeknd has an arsenal of great hits at his disposal (I’m a fan) and he has the voice to match.
It is certainly eccentric and a lot to take in at half one in the morning, but it’s entertaining so I’ll give him a pass and extra. It is a thoroughly enjoyable half-time show. I’d forgotten how many of his songs I loved. Anyway, that is enough of celebrating The Weeknd.
Let’s get back to the action.
3rd Quarter underway.
Kansas City begins the Quarter with their longest play of the game; a 26-yard Running Play. Is this the start of a comeback? Incomplete at 3rd Down would suggest perhaps not, but a 55 Yard Field Goal is a conciliation, points on the board. 21-9.
Bucs come flying out of the gate with a Touchdown in their very first drive down the field. Brady has time, and laser focus, Kansas’ defence has neither. 28-9. At this point, only one other Superbowl Team has faced such a large deficit, the Patriots in 2017, hmm… Can Kansas pull off a comeback here? Unlikely, their first attempt ends with a sack and an interception and in no time at all the ball is back with Tampa Bay.
This looks like it could be a blowout; Tampa get a 1st Down the first time of asking and it is all too easy. They look like they can get 1st Downs at will. However, a twist in the tale has occurred. Tampa makes their first mistake with a fumbled snap. Tampa smothers it for a big loss and settles for a 50-yard field goal. They’ve extended the lead. A twenty-point deficit. Can Kansas City pull this off? They’ve scored 30 plus four times this offseason, a record stat. So perhaps they can do this. They need touchdowns and they need them fast. Mahomes goes for a big pass to Kelce downfield, incomplete, but a flag gives them an automatic first down. This is a step forward, a small one, but a step nonetheless. As the clock runs down toward the end of the 3rd Quarter, the Chiefs look to be warming up, they're heading downfield, but the
Tampa defence is bruising and tough. The 3rd Quarter ends Tampa 31/Kansas 9.
Onto the 4th and Final Quarter and this all seems to be said and done. Mahomes starts with a bullet to Kelce. Chiefs inside the 15-yard line. Mahomes skips out of the pocket and seems stuck for a minute on the 2nd Down, he throws a pass to the end zone, too high, incomplete. 3rd and 9. Mahomes struggles again out of the pocket and scrambles back to the 30-yard line, throwing a Hail-Mary as he is sacked, it gets to the Endzone, but it’s incomplete. 4th and 9. Again Mahomes runs for his life, another Hail-Mary pass, another fumbled catch in the Endzone. No score again for the Chiefs. Game over, surely.
Tom Brady gets the ball back and all Mahomes can do now is watch. Run the ball, work down the clock. This is a victory lap. Bucs take their first Punt since the 1st Quarter, this is very telling. Chief’s have the ball again, but it is too late. A deep first pass is followed by a sack. One step forward, two steps back, that has been Kansas City all night long. Clean pass, misfire, clean pass, misfire, over and over again.
Sport is all about mindset, isn’t it? Brady is composed, and his experience seems to have filtered throughout his team. The Chiefs have been rattled from the get-go, and now they look dismayed. Ooh, a pitch invader has gotten involved. One tweet sent into the BBC broadcast comically states the pitch invader has made more yards than the Chiefs offence.
Jack’s put it well, saying he’s never seen a Quarterback this vulnerable. This has surely got to be Mahomes’ worst day on the Gridiron. There is no protection and seemingly no plan come every snap. On the other side of the coin, Tampa Bay has run like a well-oiled machine. About 2 and half minutes left now so I’m not tempting fate by saying ‘That’s all she wrote folks,’ or he wrote I guess since I identify as a Male. The Bucs stopped Drew Brees, they stopped Aaron Rodgers and now they’ve stopped Patrick Mahomes. That is three future Hall of Famers they have defeated. Wow. Coming into the game I thought this was going to be a blow for blow high scoring affair. Instead, this has been a one-sided rout. However, it has definitely been worth the late night. There has been drama, excitement, surprise and dramatic plays. It’s been a good Superbowl if not a great one.
Another interception with a minute and a half remaining and the celebrations begin in earnest for the Champions in waiting. The touchline is bouncing on the Tampa-Bay side, smiles and cheers. Mahomes looks on dismayed, his sombre mood rippling throughout the Chiefs, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. Mahomes has youth on his side and incredible talent, he will be at the Superbowl again and will likely win a few more with this Kansas City team.
And that’s the final whistle. Brady at his 10th Superbowl wins for the 7th time. 7th time! At 43 years of age, a new team a new conference. That is legacy. The final image I’ll describe is Brady embracing his wife and kids, a beautiful moment full of joy and a fitting one to end on.
I hope you’ve found my account of Superbowl LV engaging. This piece has been fuelled by Beer, Coffee and oddball sleep patterns so forgive me if it reads like incoherent babble. I think I'll leave it there.
Finally, I can go to bed…