It is the longest article of the year so buckle up it is going to be a bumpy ride. In a year where we thought the NFL season would not even start or finish, Super Bowl LV arrives on time. And with Covid-19 raging all around us while vaccinations seem to be incapable of stemming the tide, where else are you to go? This is setting up for a big number in the Nielsen ratings my friends. There should be over 100 million viewers who cannot come together, means having to sequester in their domiciles, which translates to individual eyes on the game. So we will also individually munch on snacks this Super Bowl Sunday. Will you be one of them?
The Kansas City Chiefs are playing for the fourth time in franchise history. They are taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who, with the help of Tom Brady, are getting to the franchise’s second Super Bowl. The fascinating part is that this game is to be played at Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is the first time a team plays the Super Bowl in their actual home stadium with their actual lockers and bathrooms and training rooms and such. The first time in 55 years is astonishing considering the locations of the games in relation to power teams of the era. At times, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Miami, and Houston intersected with local teams that made the playoffs. None of them made it … until now. That is why I think everyone will be watching.
Super Bowl LV
There is nothing but hype surrounding this game which is diametrically opposite to the atmosphere of last year’s game. Last year’s game was on February 2, 2020. It was in many ways for many people the last time they got together in large groups and normalcy reined. I did not write about my Covid-19 in my article because it was not prevalent. But you know what happened next and that is where we are today.
The two participants in the game have outstanding quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs and “The” Tom Brady for the New…errr…Tampa Bay Buccaneers were proven winners this year. And America thought they were turning a page when we saw two new faces in Jimmy Garoppolo and Patrick Mahomes last year. Well, now we have the King and the heir to the throne though I love the rush to judgment here as it’s really not even close. The reason being is can you please look at the age of QBs that won the Super Bowl? Joe Namath won when he was 25. I know there are lots of exceptions to the rule like Peyton Manning and John Elway but those are exceptions.
If God-Willing I am still writing this article when Patrick Mahomes is winning a Super Bowl at the age of 40, I will personally apologize in this very article. Because what I am saying is that it is no big deal to win a Super Bowl in your 20s. It even extends to about the age of 33. Let me get to my point specifically. This is the 55th Super Bowl. There have been 110 starting QBs. The ages of the starting QBs were 33 or below 87 percent of the time.
Now for funsies, take away those over 33 years of age before the introduction of the salary cap in 1994 (Sorry Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Johnny Unitas, Craig Morton, Roger Staubach, and Fran Tarkenton. This is an economic thought game) because the modern NFL game is a Salary Cap era. When you do that the number jumps up to 96%. So anyone over 33 prevailing in the Super Bowl in the Salary Cap era is rarified air. Those QBs are … John Elway twice, Brad Johnson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady three times.
The point is I will be impressed if Patrick Mahomes wins a Super Bowl at the age of 34 or older. Nine more years of a running-type of QB in the NFL Patrick and why don’t you ask Cam Newton and Steve Young about how that works out.
At the end of the season, the two hottest teams made it into the Championship. Tampa won 3 consecutive weeks on the road and Kansas City just played this 2 week home dance of offense offense offense.
Every year I talk about the state of the NFL game.
The Version Of The NFL This Year
We should probably throw all of the statistics out of the window this year. It became apparent early on as mentioned in my Week 4 article that offense was way up and defense was way down. No pre-season OTAs (Organized Team Activities) and no preseason games led to some type of offensive bias. Can I ask you this? How does a QB go to a new team, learn a new offense and take the first game snap in the first regular-season game which they lose, start out the year 7-5 and rattle off 7 wins to get to the Super Bowl?
The state of the NFL was cast against the ominous shadow of Covid-19. The NFL triumphantly signaled that they could manage a pandemic with rigorous testing and quarantining protocols. I would say that for us stuck at home, the State of the NFL could never be better. I give them an overall grade of A. It was a proper distraction at a proper time and brought comfort and something to look forward to every week.
Thank you, NFL. It is greatly appreciated.
As with every year, I make the case for each team.