Equally implausible was that this partnership — forged in an offseason ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, with little time to connect with new teammates or master a new playbook — would yield Brady’s 10th Super Bowl appearance and seventh Vince Lombardi Trophy.
At the age of 43. On his home turf at Raymond James Stadium.
But on Sunday night, playing in front of the first hometown crowd in Super Bowl history and 7,500 health care workers, Brady and the Buccaneers defeated Patrick Mahomes and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs 31-9, giving the Bucs their second Lombardi trophy. Brady was 21-of-29 passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns, including two to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“To come down here to Tampa, come to an organization that was ready to win, come down here with the players — they’re all fantastic players, great guys, just everyone overall — the story is unbelievable, and it definitely ranks up there with one of my biggest accomplishments ever,” Gronkowski said.
It was a brilliant defensive performance and game plan from coordinator Todd Bowles. The Bucs’ D — making a quantum leap this postseason after being torched by Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill for 269 yards and three touchdowns in Week 12 of the regular season — took Mahomes out of rhythm, pressuring him heavily, as the Chiefs were without starting offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.
Mahomes was continuously throwing off balance, and the Bucs’ defensive backs were all over the ball, with Antoine Winfield Jr. notching a third-quarter interception.
“I can’t give him enough credit,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said of Bowles. “You know, I think he got a little tired of hearing about how unstoppable they were. I thought he came up with a fantastic plan just to keep them in front of us and tackle real well. Patrick wasn’t going to beat us running …”