Monday, February 8, 2021

Wake-up Call: Bucs Dominate, 7th Heaven For Brady

What many had thought might be an epic Super Bowl face-off between star quarterbacks with the Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, hoping to repeat as NFL champions, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led by Tom Brady trying to win his record seventh NFL title didn't turn out that way last night (February 7th), as the Bucs beat the Chiefs 31-9 in a dominating performance for the franchise's second NFL championship and first in 18 years.

Brady, who was 21-for-29 for 201 yards and three touchdowns, won the game MVP, and the Buccaneers winning Super Bowl 55 virtually sealed the deal on him being the greatest quarterback -- and possibly greatest football player -- of all time. Brady joined Tampa Bay this season after two decades and six NFL titles with the New England Patriots and led them at age 43 to the NFL championship, after they hadn't made the playoffs since 2007 and had losing seasons the prior three years.

Mahomes, meanwhile, was kept under pressure by the Tampa Bay defense all night. The 25-year-old was sacked three times, intercepted twice, and was unable to manage any touchdowns, with the Chiefs' scoring limited to just three field goals. The Buccaneers' defense clamped down on receivers as well, particularly Tyreek Hill, and there was self-inflicted damage by Kansas City with mistakes and penalties. The numerous penalty calls against them, some at key moments, cost them a total of 120 penalty yards.

Game Play:

The Chiefs got on the board first with a first quarter field goal, but the quarter ended with the Bucs ahead 7-3 after Brady threw for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining to Rob Gronkowski, his old New England Patriots teammate who came out of retirement to play with him again. Tampa Bay scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter, one of those another Brady-Gronkowski connection and the other to Antonio Brown, while the Chiefs only managed another field goal. That sent the teams to halftime with the Bucs up 21-6.

Kansas City's Harrison Butker made a 52-yard field goal about three-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter, but that was the last time the Chiefs would score in the game. Tampa Bay added another touchdown and their own 52-yard field goal in the quarter for what would be the game's final 31-9 score, with neither team adding points in the fourth quarter. That final quarter saw Mahomes scrambling furiously in the backfield as he tried to fight off the Tampa Bay defense, but even when he got off accurate throws, his receivers couldn't come up with the catches.

Stats and Facts:
  • Brady broke not only his own record of most Super Bowl wins by a player with his seventh, but also his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl.
  • Brady joined Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl with multiple franchises.
  • Tampa Bay's Bruce Arians became at age 68 the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl.
  • Brady and Gronkowski now have a record 14 touchdown receptions in the postseason, passing the quarterback-receiver team of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
  • The Buccaneers were the first team to play a Super Bowl -- and win one -- in its home stadium. Only 25,000 of Raymond James Stadium's 65,000 seats were filled due to coronavirus restrictions, and 30,000 seats had life-size cardboard cutouts of people in them. Fans paid $100 to send in picture to be blown up and be in the stands, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the nonprofit Feeding Tampa Bay.


H.E.R kicked things off with a slowed down, electric guitar-fueled rendition of "America The Beautiful." The singer referred to the performance as a "surreal moment" on Twitter.

She was followed by country star Eric Church and Grammy-nominated R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan, who joined forces for the national anthem. Church and Sullivan each performed a solo verse in their duet before joining their voices together. While the performance got mostly positive reviews, some Twitter users felt Sullivan should have been chosen to perform on her own. Love & Hip Hop: Miami star Jessica Fyre wrote, "Jazmine Sullivan had to share her moment with a redneck... during black history month ....When have we ever seen the national anthem performed as a duet during the #SuperBowl ???"

As well-received as both performances were, the star of the show seemed to be Warren "Wawa" Snipe, the American Sign Language interpreter for both songs. Marlee Matlin, an Academy Award winning actress and prominent member of the National Association of the Deaf, tweeted, "@diphopwawa YOU stole the show with your ASL rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at the #SuperBowl !!! Glad America finally saw the star you are!" Snipe is a deaf rapper, actor and performer with a recurring role on The CW’s Black Lightning.


The Weeknd spent $7 million to perform for 14 minutes during the Pepsi Halftime Show. The singer took to the stage wearing a glittering red jacket with a black shirt and tie. He started off with his 2016 track, "Starboy," backed by a chorus of singers in glowing face masks. Then he made his way through a gold maze -- that spawned several memes -- for the hit track, "Can’t Feel My Face," and headed to the field where he joined dancers in matching red and black outfits wearing face bandages.

Although many social media users likened the bandage-wearing dancers to "the tethered" from Jordan Peele’s film, Us, The Weeknd explained the meaning to Variety last week. He said, "The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated." The look has been a consistent part of his After Hours aesthetic.

His full setlist included, "Starboy," "The Hills," "Can't Feel My Face," "I Feel It Coming," "Save Your Tears," "Earned It," and "Blinding Lights."


Advertisers paid some $5.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad this year. After a very difficult year for the country and with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, many of the ads went for lightness and humor and lots of celebrities, with some featuring not just one celeb, but several of them. There were a few ads that referred to the current hard times, such as one from Bass Pro Shops that said nature is still there for us and we need it more than ever.

There was a Jeep ad narrated by Bruce Springsteen that spoke to the political divides in the country by making an appeal for "the middle," or common ground. Beginning at a chapel in Lebanon, Kansas, that is at the geographical center of the U.S., it showed Springsteen doing ordinary activities like writing and driving as he says in voiceover, "It’s no secret the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue, servant and citizen, freedom and fear," and adds, "We need the middle." The spot ends with the on-screen dedication, "To the ReUnited States of America."

➤COVID MAY LINGER INTO SUMMER OF '21: The U.S. population is not likely to reach that coveted "herd immunity" stage of the coronavirus pandemic before the end of the summer of 2021, President Joe Biden told CBS News yesterday in a pre-Super Bowl interview. Herd immunity means that contagion is unlikely because most people are immune. Delays in manufacturing and distributing enough vaccines are the main problems. The president said, however, that schools should be able to reopen soon with appropriate health measures to protect students and teachers. He said the Centers for Disease Control will release guidance, probably this week.

➤TSA: TRAVELERS WHO VIOLATE MASK MANDATE FACE FINES UP TO $1,500:  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released an update to its recent mask mandate on Friday (February 5th) for travelers passing through security checkpoints. In the update, they confirmed that violators face fines ranging from $250 up to $1,500, for repeat offenders. Additionally, the TSA says depending on “aggravating or mitigating factors,” they could even recommend a fine that “falls outside these ranges.” The TSA first announced its latest mask mandate on January 31st, following President Biden’s executive order requiring travelers to wear face coverings when using public transportation or when passing through public transportation hubs, including airports. The mask mandate officially went into effect on February 2nd, and it will stay in effect until at least May 11th, 2021.

➤SNOW AND MORE SNOW: Temperatures across the Midwest and the Northern Plains fell below zero yesterday, while the East Coast got a second big helping of snow. Parts of New Jersey and Connecticut got up to nine inches of snow and up to eight inches fell in New York City.

➤LIZ CHENEY STANDS FIRM ON TRUMP VOTE: House Republican Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming told Fox News yesterday that she has no intention of resigning her position. The Wyoming Republican Party formally censured her on Saturday for voting in favor of the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. "The extent to which the president, President Trump, for months leading up to January 6th spread the notion that the election had been stolen or that the election was rigged was a lie," she told Fox News host Chris Wallace. "And people need to understand that."

➤GEORGE SCHULTZ DIES AT AGE 100: George Schultz, a statesman and economist who served the U.S. government from the Eisenhower years through the Obama administration, has died at the age of 100. "Schultz was a key player, alongside President Reagan, in changing the direction of history by using the tools of diplomacy to bring the Cold War to an end," the announcement of his death from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University said.

🏈PEYTON MANNING GETS HALL OF FAME NOD: To no one's surprise, Peyton Manning's name is on the list to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. Other newly-named Hall of Famers include defensive back Charles Woodson, receivers Calvin Johnson and Drew Pearson, offensive lineman Alan Faneca, safety John Lynch, coach Tom Flores and Steelers scout Bill Nunn.

🏈TEXANS HANG ONTO WATSON: It looks like star quarterback Deshaun Watson is staying with the Houston Texans whether he likes it or not. The team managers aren't even responding to calls about Watson's availability, according to ESPN. Watson has reportedly expressed a desire to move on.

⚾ALMORA JOINS THE METS: Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Junior has reached an agreement to sign with the New York Mets, according to The Athletic. Almora was with the Cubs for five years. Meanwhile, the Cubs have reached a deal to keep lefty receiver Andrew Chafin for one year with an option for 2022.

🥊LEON SPINKS DIES AT 67: Boxer Leon Spinks, who defeated Muhammad Ali to briefly capture the heavyweight championship title in 1978, has died of cancer in Henderson, Nevada. He was 67. Both he and his brother Michael Spinks were gold medal Olympian boxers at the 1976 Montreal Games. He had boxed professionally only seven times when he defeated Ali in Las Vegas on Feb. 15th, 1978. In September of that year, Ali defeated Spinks and regained his title.

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