Student recounts the madness and excitement of the 2020-2021 Super Bowl


On February 7th, 2021. The lights shined bright on Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida. It was time. One of the biggest events in all of sports, the Super Bowl, was just about to begin. Let’s set the stage. 

Every year, football fans across the globe are laser-focused on their favorite team’s hopes: The Super Bowl. Only 14 teams make the playoffs in general, fewer than half of all the teams across the league. Six first round matchups, followed by the divisional round, conference championships, and the holy grail — the Super Bowl. Fourteen teams, one goal. In the football world, it doesn’t get any bigger than this. 

However, as the month of January wound to a close, only two teams remained. Both had fought for months, itching for a chance at one of the biggest games in all of sports. Through blood, sweat and tears, these teams had finally come within reach of the Vince Lombardi trophy, the highest award in football. The question that football fans, players and coaches were asking would be answered soon: Who’s going to take it?

On one end of the ring were the Kansas City Chiefs, the young and flashy team that was fresh off of a 14 win, 2 loss season and a 2019-2020 Super Bowl victory. Led by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his explosive offense, this was the team to beat. They didn’t have a weakness, which is what made them so untouchable during the regular season and playoffs. After beating up on a very good Buffalo Bills team in the game before, Mahomes and the Chiefs were on fire heading into the game. They had playmakers everywhere. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce were superstar pass-catchers on offense, and safety Tyrann Matheiu and defensive tackle Chris Jones were superb on the defensive side of the ball. This squad was one of the most complete teams that the NFL had seen in years. 

On the opposite sideline stood the underdog Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Led by the greatest athlete to ever play football, Tom Brady, this team was no slouch. Even with Brady at age 43, he was playing good as ever. The Buccaneers finished their season with 11 wins and 5 losses, earning themselves a spot in the playoffs by just a couple of games. Brady was accompanied on offense by wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, alongside running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. However, the thing that had brought the Bucs this far was their defense. Led by linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, alongside a stellar defensive line and a strong group of cornerbacks, the Buccaneers were one of the premier defenses in the league, and a very impressive team all together.

After two weeks of training and preparation for this game, Feb. 7 had finally come. The gates opened at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, and it was almost time for the biggest game of the year. Extremely overpriced concessions were served, fans flooded into their seats, the anthem was sung, the coin was flipped, and just like that, at around 5:30 PM, Super Bowl LV was underway. 

The game began with a bit of a slow start, with both teams exchanging possessions with no points being scored just yet. That was until Mahomes and the Chiefs drove downfield. Tampa Bay ended up stuffing Mahomes on third down, forcing a Field Goal from Kicker Harrison Butker, and the Chiefs took a 3-0 lead with 5 minutes to play in the first quarter. The next possession, Brady and the Bucs worked their way to the goal line, and Brady found his favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, for a touchdown. The next drive, The Buccaneers marched all the way down to the one yard line, only for Kansas City to make an incredible goal line stand, forcing a turnover on downs toward the end of the first quarter. The Buccaneers had a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter of play.

The Chiefs struggled again to get anything going on offense their next drive, and Tampa Bay kept rolling. Brady found Gronkowski again in the end zone for the pair’s second touchdown of the night. Tampa Bay took a demanding 14-3 lead early in the second quarter. The next possession for Kansas City looked like what football fans were used to seeing. Mahomes found Hill and Kelce a few times on the drive, and the Chiefs were all of a sudden down to the 20 yard line. However, the Tampa Bay defense held strong once again, and the Chiefs settled for another field goal. 14-6 Bucs. With less than a minute left until halftime, The Chiefs fell apart. After a pass interference penalty, the Buccaneers set up shop in Kansas City territory. After more and more penalties on the drive, the Buccaneers found themselves on the goal line with just a few seconds until halftime. Brady located wide receiver Antonio Brown for the touchdown, giving the Buccaneers a 21-6 lead heading into the half. Some trash talk was exchanged after the play, and flags were thrown, but the Buccaneers had a comfortable lead heading to the locker room. However, Mahomes and the Chiefs were known for coming back in seemingly impossible games. The previous game, the AFC Championship against the Bills two weeks prior, they had come back from down 10, and the year before, they made a miraculous 24-point comeback in the playoffs, as well as a 10-point comeback in the prior Super Bowl. But for now, Brady and the Bucs were in charge. 

After one half of football, it was time to take a break from the intensity, and loosen up with the halftime show. This year’s performance featured The Weeknd singing quite a few hit songs. The performance was a solid 15 minutes, and the props, lighting and singing was impressive. Nothing too incredible, but a very solid show, and entertaining for football and Weeknd fans alike. However, that wasn’t the main focus during this event. 

Kansas City received the ball to start the half and began immediately moving down the field. Mahomes made a few great plays, but once again, the Buccaneers defense could not be tamed. Linebacker Shaquil Barrett picked up a big sack and forced KC to take another field goal. The score was 21-9. Once again, the Buccaneers wouldn’t let off of the gas. Leonard Fournette found the end zone from 27 yards out, increasing the lead to 28-9 in the third quarter. The next possession, Mahomes was heavily pressured by the Tampa defensive line, and threw it up for grabs, with Bucs rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. intercepting his desperation heave on third down. The Buccaneers took over once again. 

After that, there wasn’t much to say in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Devin White picked off Mahomes late in the fourth, and the Buccaneers cashed in on a field goal, but that was that. The final score was 31-9, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were crowned World Champions. Brady had won his record seventh Super Bowl, the most from any individual player ever, and his first with Tampa Bay. In addition, Brady was crowned Super Bowl MVP, his fifth time winning the prestigious award. Him and his teammates hoisted the trophy high, and the curtains closed on the 2020-21 NFL season. The story of the game was the Buccaneers’ stellar defense. The incredible pass rush left Mahomes running for his life and shut down the explosive KC offense. 

And that’s a wrap. In a season like no other, the outcome was unpredictable, The Super Bowl was great, every game, snap and event was something special, and it was a great time to be a football fan. And the one thing that we can all count on, even in a year where everything was different: Brady still won.