TAMPA BAY, Florida − The most unique season in recent memory will come to a close on Sunday, February 7th. The Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) will attempt to defend their title against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) in Super Bowl LV. The Bucs will attempt to avenge their loss to the Chiefs in Week 12 and win their first league title since 2002. The Chiefs will be going for back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
TV Sports was in attendance for the Super Bowl virtual media week in Tampa Bay. Check out the storylines we are watching coming up to the big game.
Brady vs. Mahomes in the spotlight
For most NFL fans, the matchup between two elite quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, has everyone looking forward to Sunday. In his first season in Tampa Bay, Brady has led his team to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2002; he will be making his tenth Super Bowl appearance, an NFL record. Mahomes and the Chiefs will attempt to repeat as champions; Mahomes won the Super Bowl MVP in the Chiefs win in 2020.
Both defenses will have a huge task at hand slowing down two of the league’s best quarterbacks. Chiefs defensive lineman Frank Clark said backup quarterback Chad Henne has done a good job emulating some of Brady’s game in practice, but emulating Brady is easier said than done.
“You can’t really emulate Tom Brady. You can’t really emulate the actions and what he does. And emulate what he sees. A lot of his game is done with his eyes,” said Clark.
The Bucs defense will have to prepare for the biggest rising star in the NFL today in Partick Mahomes. Bucs linebacker Lavonte David spoke about the responsibility of the defense in containing Mahomes’s ability to create big plays with his feet.
“It’s just going to take discipline. Latching on to a man whenever we are in man-to-man, or if we are in zone coverage latching on to a guy, being able to take away the zones and his reads.
At the end of the day, we just have to get to him; as quick as you can, as fast as you can, any way you can,” said David.
The Bucs hope to keep the run game contained and force Mahomes into situations he is not comfortable in. The Chiefs game plan is similar.
“First and foremost, everything starts with the run game, we have to eliminate that first. But with the quarterback play with the Bucs, we know how great this dude is, so a lot of the onus is on us,” said Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor.
LSU playmakers on both teams
Louisiana State University is well represented in Sunday’s game; Chiefs players Clyde Edwards- Helaire and Tyran Mathieu as well as Bucs running back Leonard Fournette are just some of the former LSU Tigers playing in the Super Bowl.
Edwards-Helaire spoke on how LSU taught him what it meant to prepare and compete at the highest level.
“Whether it was practice, study halls, I was going to compete. That’s what it was in LSU and that’s been my mindset ever since,” said Edwards-Helaire.
As a rookie, Edwards-Helaire is one of the few Chiefs players going for their first Super Bowl ring. However, Edwards-Helaire is no stranger to the big stage; he was on the LSU team that won the College Football Playoff National Championship last season. He says he has not had the time to reflect on all the success he has had in the past two years because his mindset is always on the next game.
“I’m not going to say I necessarily try to keep away from it and not think about it, I just try to think about the next game. I’ve just been fortunate enough week in and week out for most of those weekends to end in W’s,” said Edwards-Helaire.
Tampa Bay becomes the first team to host a Super Bowl
With Tampa Bay hosting Super Bowl LV at Raymond-James Stadium, they become the first franchise to ever play a Super Bowl game at their home stadium. With COVID restrictions, the already unique week has become even more different for guys preparing for a game at home.
Bucs linebacker Lavonte David grew up in southern Florida and said his week of preparation has been very smooth. He thinks the COVID restrictions have helped calm the craziness that Super Bowl week has brought in the past.
“It’s been awesome. It hasn’t been too hectic. My family respects my privacy and my space so it hasn’t been hectic. But I know I definitely have support from a lot of people back home,” said David.
“It hasn’t been crazy, luckily for me. I’ve heard different stories, a lot of stories from other people that this week can get crazy. I guess COVID probably settled that down for a lot of us, but definitely has been a smooth transition for me.”
Super Bowl LV, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneeers, Sunday, February 7, 2021, Raymond-James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL