Super Bowl LV

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Super Bowl LV
Super Bowl LV.png
1234 Total
KC 3330 9
TB 714100 31
DateFebruary 7, 2021
StadiumRaymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
MVPTom Brady, quarterback
FavoriteChiefs by 3[1]
RefereeCarl Cheffers[2][3]
Attendance24,835[a]
Ceremonies
National anthemEric Church and Jazmine Sullivan[4]
Coin tossSuzie Dorner, ICU nurse representing medical personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic
Halftime showThe Weeknd[5]
TV in the United States
NetworkCBS
ESPN Deportes (Spanish language)
AnnouncersJim Nantz (play-by-play)
Tony Romo (analyst)
Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn (sideline reporters)
Jay Feely (special teams analyst)
Gene Steratore (rules analyst)
Nielsen ratings38.2 (national)
59.9 (Kansas City)
52.3 (Tampa Bay)
U.S. TV viewership: 91.63 million[6]
Cost of 30-second commercial5.6 million
Radio in the United States
NetworkWestwood One
AnnouncersKevin Harlan (play-by-play)
Kurt Warner (analyst)
Laura Okmin and Tony Boselli (sideline reporters)

Super Bowl LV was the championship game of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2020 NFL season. The National Football Conference (NFC) champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Kansas City Chiefs, 31–9. The game was played on February 7, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the home stadium of the Buccaneers, marking the first time that a team played a Super Bowl in its home stadium.[7][8] Due to COVID-19 protocols limiting the stadium's seating capacity to 25,000 fans, it was the least-attended Super Bowl.[9]

The Buccaneers' victory was their second and made them the only team other than the Baltimore Ravens to be undefeated in multiple Super Bowls. They finished the regular season with an 11–5 record and a wild card berth to advance to their second Super Bowl appearance through the guidance of several new acquisitions, most notably veteran quarterback Tom Brady in his first season away from the New England Patriots, who was the Super Bowl's oldest player at 43. The Chiefs, aided by their top-ranked offense, finished the regular season with a league-best 14–2 record to advance to their fourth Super Bowl appearance and were the defending Super Bowl LIV champions, seeking to become the first repeat champions since the Patriots in 2004.[10]

Kansas City entered the game favored to win, but were undone by offensive struggles and costly penalties.[11] For the first time under quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown and lost by double-digits, making them the third Super Bowl team to not score a touchdown.[b][12] They committed 11 penalties for 120 yards, including a record eight penalties for 95 yards in the first half, most of which were called against the defense.[13][14] The Buccaneers capitalized on these mistakes to take a commanding 21–6 lead at halftime and dominated the remainder of the game. Brady, who also extended his player records for Super Bowl appearances at 10 and wins at seven, was named Super Bowl MVP for a record fifth time and was the first to receive the award with multiple franchises.[15][16][17] He became the oldest player to receive the honor and win a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback, breaking additional personal records, while Bruce Arians was the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl at 68.

The game was televised nationally by CBS. Country music singer Eric Church and R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan performed the national anthem, while the halftime show was headlined by Canadian singer The Weeknd.[5] On television, Super Bowl LV was seen by 91.63 million viewers, the lowest ratings for the game since 2006. Combined with viewership on other platforms, viewership was down by 5% overall in comparison to Super Bowl LIV, but with a 69% increase in average streaming viewership.

Background[edit]

Host selection process[edit]

Raymond James Stadium, decorated for Super Bowl LV, January 31, 2021

On May 19, 2015, the league announced the five finalists for hosting Super Bowl LIII in 2019 and Super Bowl LIV in 2020. NFL team owners voted on these cities on May 24, 2016, with the first round of voting determining the host for Super Bowl LIII, and the second round deciding the site for Super Bowl LIV. In a development not known in advance, a third round of voting was added to select a Super Bowl LV hosting site.[18] Atlanta and Miami were awarded Super Bowls LIII and LIV respectively, removing them from the running for LV. Los Angeles was not eligible for Super Bowl LIII, as their stadium was under construction and would not yet be finished; it was eligible for LIV and LV, and opted to bid only on the latter.[19]

The two candidates were:

Los Angeles was originally chosen as the host site for Super Bowl LV in a vote on May 24, 2016.[19][20][21] However, due to construction delays, authorities announced that the stadium would not be completed until the start of the 2020 NFL season.[22] On May 23, 2017, NFL owners voted unanimously, with the Rams' approval, to move Super Bowl LV to Tampa. The City of Inglewood will instead host Super Bowl LVI in 2022.[23]

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Outside Raymond James Stadium, one week prior to Super Bowl LV

As of the start of the 2020 NFL season, the league had forbidden on-field entertainment, such as halftime shows and national anthem performances at games with fans. These elements, which have historically been cornerstones of the Super Bowl entertainment, would have been produced off-site had restrictions remained in place.[24] In case a COVID-19 outbreak forced the postponements of regular season and playoff games, the league stated that Super Bowl LV could have been delayed as far as February 28.[25]

The state of Florida removed capacity restrictions for sporting events in October, although the three Florida-based teams have voluntarily maintained 20–25 percent capacity limits.[26] As of late October 2020, the NFL was planning a minimum attendance of 20% of capacity, in hopes that a larger capacity would be possible by game day.[27]

Cardboard cutouts of fans can be seen in the stands, one week before the game
Entertainment at the NFL Super Bowl LV Experience along the Tampa Riverwalk.

On January 22, 2021, the NFL had originally announced that the game would have 22,000 fans in attendance, 7,500 of whom would be health care workers who had received a COVID-19 vaccine, primarily from the Tampa and central Florida region.[28] The NFL also filled in the empty seats by selling 30,000 cardboard cutouts to fans.[29][30][31] On February 2, the league increased the expected attendance to 25,000.[9] Super Bowl LV was the least-attended Super Bowl in the game's history; the next-lowest attendance was the 61,946 who attended the inaugural game in 1967.[32]

NFL protocols require the closest rows of seats to be blocked with tarps in order to reduce spectator proximity to the field.[33] For the Super Bowl, they were covered with additional LED video boards.[34]

The traditional events held during Super Bowl week were significantly reduced. Capacity at the Super Bowl Experience at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park was limited due to health and safety protocols.[35] Instead of holding practices and participating in media events during the entire week in the Super Bowl host city, the Chiefs flew into Tampa on the day before the game as they had during the regular season (had another NFC team advanced to the Super Bowl instead of the Buccaneers, they would have done this as well).[36] The "Super Bowl Opening Night" festivities on the Monday preceding the game were cancelled and replaced with a virtual media availability.[37]

In March, health officials in Hillsborough County, Florida determined that Super Bowl LV was not a superspreader event. The officials cited 53 cases (out of 14,809 confirmed cases overall in a one-month span surrounding the game) that were traced to official Super Bowl events, three of those being people who attended the game itself; they also noted that unofficial house parties were likely far greater causes of spread during that time span.[38]

Teams[edit]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was looking to lead Kansas City to consecutive Super Bowl titles.

As defending Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs recorded an NFL-best 14–2 record in 2020 under eighth year head coach Andy Reid.[39] Other than a 40–32 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders in week 5,[40] their only defeat was in the final game of the season against the Los Angeles Chargers, when they rested most of their starters because they had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. This appearance was the Chiefs' fourth trip to the Super Bowl. They lost Super Bowl I (1967), but won Super Bowls IV (1970) and LIV (2020).[41]

Kansas City's offense ranked first in the NFL in yards (6,653) and sixth in points scored (473). Quarterback Patrick Mahomes made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season, throwing for 4,740 yards (second in the league) and 38 touchdowns, with only six interceptions, while also finishing the season as Kansas City's second leading rusher with a career high 308 yards and two scores. His main target was Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce, who caught 105 passes for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns, making him the NFL's second leading receiver and setting a new league record for receiving yards by a tight end.[42] Pro Bowl receiver Tyreek Hill had 87 receptions for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns, while also rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Mahomes also had receivers Demarcus Robinson (45 receptions for 466 yards), Mecole Hardman (41 reception for 561 yards and 360 return yards on special teams), and Sammy Watkins (37 receptions for 421 yards). The team's leading rusher from 2019, Damien Williams, opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and because his mother had recently been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer.[43] In his place, rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire stepped up to fill the void, rushing for 808 yards and four touchdowns, while also catching 36 passes for 297 yards and another touchdown alongside Le'Veon Bell who had 254 yards and two touchdowns after being released from the New York Jets earlier that season. Tackle Eric Fisher led the Chiefs offensive line, making his second Pro Bowl selection. However, he was forced to miss the Super Bowl after suffering a torn achilles tendon in the AFC championship game.[44] Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a starting guard for the 2019 season, was first NFL player to announce he would not play the season because of COVID-19, instead working as an orderly at a Montreal long-term care facility during the pandemic.[45][46] On special teams, kicker Harrison Butker made 25-of-27 field goals, including all four of his attempts from over 50 yards.[47]

The Chiefs defense was ranked 16th in the league in yards allowed (5,733). The Chiefs defensive line was led by Pro Bowl selections Chris Jones (712 sacks and two forced fumbles) and Frank Clark (six sacks). Linebacker Anthony Hitchens ranked second on the team with 78 tackles. Kansas City's secondary was led by Pro Bowl strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (68 tackles, six interceptions, and one fumble recovery) and free safety Daniel Sorensen (91 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles).[47]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady became the Super Bowl's oldest player at age 43.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the 2020 season with an 11–5 record under second-year head coach Bruce Arians. Prior to this, the team had not won a playoff game since Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 and had not made the playoffs since 2007–08.[48] The team also recorded only three winning seasons since 2008 and had gone 7–9 the previous year.[49]

During the 2020 off-season, the Buccaneers chose not to re-sign quarterback Jameis Winston, whom they selected first overall in 2015. To replace Winston, they made arguably the biggest off-season acquisition by signing 20-year veteran Tom Brady, one of the NFL's most decorated players.[50] The signing marked the first time that Brady would play for a team other than the New England Patriots, where he was considered the offensive engine of the franchise's dynasty. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, Brady's teammate in New England and considered one of the greatest in his position, was lured out of retirement and acquired through a trade with the Patriots.[51] Further off-season acquisitions included running back Leonard Fournette,[52] running back LeSean McCoy, and placekicker Ryan Succop.[53] In the 2020 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay bolstered their offensive line by selecting tackle Tristan Wirfs 13th overall.[54] After Week 6, they signed accomplished, but controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown, who had been out of the league for over a year.[55]

Tampa Bay's offense was ranked seventh in league yards (6,145) and third in points scored (492). The 43-year old Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and rushed for three touchdowns. His main targets were Mike Evans who caught 70 passes for 1,001 yards and 13 touchdowns, Chris Godwin who caught 65 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns, and Rob Gronkowski who caught 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. Brady also had other receivers to go to with Scotty Miller (33 passes, 501 yards and three touchdowns), Antonio Brown (44 catches, 483 yards and four touchdowns), and Cameron Brate (28 catches, 282 yards and two touchdowns). Ronald Jones was the team's leading rusher with 978 yards and seven touchdowns, while also catching 28 passes for 165 yards and another touchdown. Leonard Fournette also added 367 rushing yards and six touchdowns, while also hauling in 36 passes. Kicker Ryan Succop ranked sixth in the NFL with 136 points, making 28-of-31 field goal attempts.[56]

Tampa Bay's defense was ranked sixth in the league in yardage allowed (5,234). The defensive line was anchored by defensive ends Ndamukong Suh (six sacks) and William Gholston (20 QB hits and eight tackles for loss). The line was also aided by edge rushing outside linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul, the team's lone Pro Bowl selection (912 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries), and Shaquil Barrett (eight sacks and two force fumbles). The team also had linebackers Devin White (140 tackles and nine sacks) and Lavonte David (117 tackles and three forced fumbles). Cornerback Carlton Davis led the team with four interceptions, while rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. added 94 tackles, one interception, and three sacks.[56][57]

Playoffs[edit]

The Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC West division title for a fifth consecutive year and the top seed in the AFC playoffs with a league-best 14–2 record. After clinching a first-round bye, the Chiefs defeated the Cleveland Browns 22–17 in the Divisional round to send them to their third straight AFC Championship Game. They then won 38–24 over the Buffalo Bills for their second straight Lamar Hunt Trophy. However, the victories proved costly. In the divisional round, quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered a turf toe injury before being removed in the third quarter due to a concussion.[58] The former continued to afflict Mahomes entering the Super Bowl, with him required to undergo toe surgery after the game.[59] Additionally, left tackle Eric Fisher departed the conference championship with a torn Achilles, forcing him to miss the Super Bowl.[60] The loss of Fisher compounded Kansas City's offensive line troubles, as right tackle Mitchell Schwartz had been lost earlier in the season with a back injury.[61]

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished as the fifth seed and second place in the NFC South with an 11–5 record, losing a tiebreaker with the New Orleans Saints. They were the first team under quarterback Tom Brady to reach the playoffs as a wild card. In the Wild Card Round, the Buccaneers defeated the Washington Football Team 31–23,[62] to advance to the divisional round against the Saints, who had swept them in the regular season. Tampa Bay then defeated New Orleans 30–20 to advance to the NFC Championship Game.[63] The Buccaneers then upset the top-seeded Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game 31–26 advancing to the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay became the fifth team to win three away games en route to the Super Bowl. They also became the first team to make the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team since the 2010 Green Bay Packers.[64] Tampa Bay became the first team to play and win a Super Bowl in its home stadium, and only the third to play in their home metro area (alongside the 1979–80 Los Angeles Rams and 1984–85 San Francisco 49ers).[65] In addition, the Buccaneers became only the fifth team to win three road games to advance to the Super Bowl.[66]

Pre-game notes[edit]

The Buccaneers were the designated home team for Super Bowl LV, as the home team alternates between the two conferences annually.[67] The fact that the Buccaneers were designated as the "home" team in their home stadium was a coincidence. As the designated home team, the Buccaneers elected to wear their white jerseys with pewter pants. The Chiefs wore their red jerseys with white pants.[68][69]

Even though the game was played in the Buccaneers' home stadium, the league treated this as a neutral site game, not allowing the Buccaneers to fire the cannons from the stadium's signature pirate ship. The cannons are normally fired after every scoring play and when the offense enters the red zone. The cannons were only fired during player introductions and after the end of the game.[70]

Gambling establishments had the Chiefs as three-point favorites and projected 57 points scored.[71]

The Chiefs and Buccaneers played each other during the regular season. The Chiefs won the Week 12 game in Tampa, 27–24. This marked the 14th time the Super Bowl featured a rematch of a regular season game and the first time this has happened since Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.[72]

This was the first time that both Super Bowl starting quarterbacks – Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady – have won the AP NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards; as Brady is Mahomes' senior by eighteen years, some billed the matchup as comparable to Michael Jordan versus LeBron James.[73]

Since the Buccaneers reached the Super Bowl, Tampa was nicknamed "Champa Bay", as all three of the area's major professional sports teams had made their league's championship round during the past five months; A few months prior, the Tampa Bay Lightning had won the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, while the Tampa Bay Rays had advanced to but lost the 2020 World Series.[74][75][76]

Chiefs linebackers coach Britt Reid, the son of head coach Andy Reid, was involved in a car accident on February 4, 2021. Two young children were injured in the crash. Reid admitted to consuming two to three alcoholic drinks and being on Adderall, a prescription medication, while driving. He did not coach in the game.[77][78]

Media coverage[edit]

United States[edit]

Super Bowl LV was televised by CBS. Although NBC was to air this game under the current rotation, they traded the game to CBS in exchange for Super Bowl LVI, which falls during the 2022 Winter Olympics and is the first to be scheduled during an ongoing Olympic Games (this also upholds a gentleman's agreement between the NFL's broadcasters not to counterprogram the Super Bowl,[79] as NBC also holds the U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympics). CBS, to an extent, also benefited from holding rights to the Super Bowl in the same year that it held the rights to the NCAA Final Four, which is cycled with WarnerMedia Entertainment channels on a two-year cycle with TBS, as well as the AFC Championship Game in primetime, which contractually alternates between afternoon and primetime on a two-year cycle with the NFC Championship Game on Fox.[80][81]

CBS used 120 cameras in total, including ten 4K cameras, two 8K cameras, a crane camera, a Trolley Cam running parallel with the field, and two Sony Venice cameras that were used to produce cinematic and "3D-like" scenes reminiscent of video games. Production was decentralized due to COVID-19 protocols, with some production duties being conducted remotely from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City and at individual employees' homes.[82] CBS officially introduced a rebranding of the CBS Sports division during Super Bowl LV, as part of a larger brand unification process between the CBS network's main divisions.[83][84]

Building upon its involvement in a youth-oriented broadcast of one of the Wild Card games, Nickelodeon contributed family-oriented social media content, including "Nick-ified" highlight videos with similar augmented reality effects to the aforementioned Wild Card broadcast. These "slime-lights" were also featured during a highlights package on CBS at halftime. Nickelodeon also aired a half-hour preview special for the game, and an NFL-themed edition of Unfiltered aired as a segment during CBS's pre-game show The Super Bowl Today.[85][86][87]

ESPN Deportes aired a Spanish-language broadcast. Unlike the two other networks in the Super Bowl rotation, CBS does not have a Spanish-language sports or general entertainment network; it has sold the Spanish-language rights to ESPN Deportes for each of its Super Bowl broadcasts since Super Bowl 50.[88]

Lead-out programs[edit]

On December 3, 2020, CBS announced that its lead-out program would be the series premiere of The Equalizer.[89] After late local programs, CBS also aired a special Sunday-night episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.[90]

Ratings[edit]

Around 91.6 million viewers watched Super Bowl LV on linear television, an 8% decline over Super Bowl LIV and the least-watched game since 2006. CBS reported a total of 96.4 million viewers when combined with viewership of the Spanish-language broadcast and digital platforms, a 5% year-over-year decline overall. CBS reported an average of 5.7 million streaming viewers per-minute, a 69% increase year-over-year that made it the most-streamed Super Bowl to-date.[91][90]

Advertising[edit]

The estimated cost of a 30-second commercial at Super Bowl LV remained steady with 2020, with CBS reportedly charging around $5.5 million. The economic impact of COVID-19 prompted some brands to skip the game, including Avocados from Mexico, Budweiser (who donated the airtime it purchased to the Ad Council for public service announcements regarding COVID-19 vaccination; Budweiser parent company Anheuser-Busch would still air ads for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra during the game, as well as its first-ever corporate spot, directed by filmmaker David Fincher. The company's total purchase remained in line with that of Super Bowl LIV),[92][93][94] Coca-Cola, Hyundai, and Pepsi (focusing more on its halftime show sponsorship).[95][96] As of January 25, CBS had not yet sold out its advertising inventory.[92]

Companies such as DraftKings, Fiverr, Logitech, and Vroom made their Super Bowl debut as advertisers.[97][98][99][100] Robinhood, which had recently gained mainstream media attention due to the GameStop short squeeze, aired its first Super Bowl commercial at the game.[101] Reddit ran a five-second ad in nine of the top ten media markets, saying that was all it could afford.[102]

Amazon Studios and Universal Pictures aired commercials for upcoming films during the game, including Coming 2 America and Old. Disney aired commercials for its upcoming films and Disney+ series.[103][104] CBS promoted the upcoming relaunch of its subscription streaming service CBS All Access as Paramount+.[105]

International[edit]

In Canada, CTV and TSN televised this game in English and RDS in French.[106][107] As with the 2020 edition, CTV invoked simultaneous substitution over U.S. network signals (including ads) distributed in Canada, as a CRTC ban on such substitutions during the Super Bowl had been overturned by a December 2019 Supreme Court of Canada decision.[108]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the game was televised on the free-to-air channel BBC One and paid-subscription channel Sky One (as well as its sister channels Sky Sports Main Event and NFL). It was carried on radio via BBC Radio 5 Live.[109] In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, free-to-air channel ProSieben broadcast the event through its ran format;[110] 2.2 million Germans watched the game, which encouraged the NFL to further consider adding Germany to the International Series in the future.[111] In Belgium and Portugal the game was televised by paid-subscription channel Eleven Sports.[112]

Subscription streaming platform DAZN also streamed the Super Bowl in several countries including Canada, Germany, and Japan.[107]

Entertainment[edit]

Pre-game ceremonies[edit]

A special pre-game concert for the invited health care workers attending the game—the TikTok Tailgate—was held in the afternoon prior to Super Bowl LV, and was headlined by Miley Cyrus, with guest appearances by Joan Jett and Billy Idol.[113] Portions were aired during CBS's pre-game show, while the full concert was streamed on the TikTok app.[114][115] While performing her song "Wrecking Ball", Cyrus broke down and said that it "never gets easier".[116]

A pre-game segment addressing racial unrest in the United States and the NFL's Inspire Change campaign featured a pre-recorded performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by Alicia Keys from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[117] National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recited an original poem recognizing the game's three honorary captains participating in the coin toss ceremony: Los Angeles teacher Trimaine Davis, Tampa nurse Suzie Dorner and Marine veteran James Martin.[118]

R&B singer H.E.R. performed "America the Beautiful", and country music singer Eric Church and R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan performed "The Star-Spangled Banner". This was the second time that the national anthem was sung as a duet in a Super Bowl, the first time being in 2006.[4]

Halftime show[edit]

The halftime show was headlined by the Weeknd.[5][119][120] Dave Meyers was the show's executive producer, while Roc Nation produced and creatively directed. Additionally, Hamish Hamilton directed the performance.[121][122] The show featured a number of his hit songs, including "Can't Feel My Face", "Earned It", and "Blinding Lights", among others.[123]

It was reported that he had spent US$7 million of his own money on the show, which featured men dressed in all black with red jackets and bandages on their face as backup dancers.[123] The halftime show garnered mixed reviews from critics, noting that while the logistical side of the performance was impressive, the lack of guest performers and the poor audio mixing were heavy drawbacks to the occasion.[124][125]

Game summary[edit]

First half[edit]

Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes in the first half.

Kansas City won the coin toss and deferred possession to the second half. The opening kickoff from Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker was returned to the Tampa Bay 24-yard line. The Buccaneers' opening drive stalled to a three-and-out, and the resulting Bradley Pinion punt was downed at the Kansas City 33-yard line. The Chiefs' first drive ended similarly, with the offense able to gain only one first down and Tommy Townsend's punt resulting in a touchback. Tampa Bay's second drive started with a promising 13-yard rush by Ronald Jones II, but stalled from there and resulted in another punt by Pinion, this one downed at the Chiefs' 38-yard line. Kansas City's ensuing drive took them 31 yards in eight plays, culminating in the first points of the game: a 49-yard field goal by Butker. On the next drive, Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette rushed four times for 26 yards on an eight-play, 70-yard drive that ended on Tom Brady's eight-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski, giving Tampa Bay a four-point lead. This was the 13th postseason touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski, setting a new record, which they had previously shared with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.[126] It was also the first time in Brady's 10 Super Bowls that he threw a touchdown pass in the first quarter.[127] The Chiefs' next drive, which started on their own 37-yard line, ended in a three-and-out, and the Buccaneers took over on their own 30-yard line following the punt.[128]

On their first drive of the second quarter, Brady's 31-yard completion to Mike Evans gave Tampa Bay a first and goal at the Chiefs six-yard line. However the Bucs were only able to reach the Chiefs' one-yard line with their next three plays, and Ronald Jones II was stopped short of the goal line on a fourth down rushing attempt (a ruling that was challenged by Tampa Bay and upheld), giving the ball over on downs to Kansas City. The Chiefs were unable to capitalize off of the stop. The Chiefs' Tommy Townsend punted deep into Tampa Bay territory, but Kansas City was flagged for a holding call and had to punt again. Townsend's follow-up punt went out-of-bounds at the Chiefs' 38-yard line, for a net of only 29 yards. On the next drive, Brady threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski, increasing the Buccaneers' lead to 14–3. The Buccaneers' drive was aided by two significant penalties – first, an interception by the Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu was negated by defensive holding call. Later, after Kansas City stopped the Buccaneers on third down, the Chiefs' Mecole Hardman was called for offsides during the ensuing field goal attempt, giving the Buccaneers a first down as a result of the five-yard penalty.[129] Kansas City responded by moving the ball 61 yards in 10 plays, with Patrick Mahomes completing three passes to Travis Kelce for 36 yards and rushing for 11. Butker finished the possession with another field goal, this from 34 yards, making the score 14–6. Tampa Bay's final first half drive began on their own 29-yard line with just over a minute on the clock, and increased their lead to 21–6 with a five-play, 71-yard drive, the longest a 15-yard catch by Fournette. Brady finished it with a one-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with six seconds to play. Again, Tampa Bay was aided by penalties – in particular a 34-yard pass interference call against Bashaud Breeland who was covering Evans, and an eight-yard pass interference call against Mathieu in the end zone.[129] All told, in the first half the Chiefs were penalized eight times for 95 yards – the most penalties called on any team in one half in any game of the 2020–21 NFL season, while the Buccaneers were flagged for one five-yard penalty.[130] At halftime, the Buccaneers led the Chiefs 21–6.[128]

Second half[edit]

The second half began with a kickoff by Pinion, which was returned to the Chiefs' own 19-yard line. On the next play, Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for a 26-yard gain. Edwards-Helaire also had a 10-yard run on the drive, which went for 47 yards in seven plays and concluded with a 52-yard field goal, Butker's third of the game, making the score 21–9. Tampa Bay stormed right back with a six-play, 74-yard drive, featuring a 25-yard completion from Brady to Gronkowski. On the next play, Fournette's 27-yard touchdown burst increased the Bucs lead to 28–9. Following a touchback, Kansas City began their drive on their own 25-yard line, but an interception by Antoine Winfield Jr. at the Chiefs' 45-yard line gave Tampa Bay the ball back. Despite the fact that the Buccaneers were only able to gain eleven yards on their next eight plays, they were able to capitalize on the turnover, as Succop ended the drive with a 52-yard field goal, increasing their lead to 31–9. On the next drive, Tampa Bay forced a turnover on downs at their own 11-yard line with 13:43 left in the game, stuffing a running play for a one-yard gain and then forcing Mahomes to throw three straight incompletions.[128]

The Chiefs defense forced Tampa Bay to punt for just the third time, allowing their offense to take the ball at their own eight-yard line. They got the ball across midfield, but turned the ball over to Tampa Bay on downs at the Bucs' 27-yard line. The Buccaneers then went three-and-out, and punted the ball to the Kansas City 42-yard line. Kansas City drove the ball to the Buccaneers 10-yard line, but Mahomes threw an interception to Devin White with 1:33 left in the game, which was downed in the end zone for a touchback. Brady then kneeled the ball three times for Tampa Bay, running out the clock, ending the game at 31–9.[128] Brady, who completed 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, won the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award for a record fifth time in his career, extending his previous record of four.[131]

Fournette was the game's leading rusher with 16 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown, while also catching four passes for 46 yards. Gronkowski, who caught only two passes in Tampa Bay's previous three postseason games, was the team's leading receiver with six receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. White had eight solo tackles (two for a loss), four assisted tackles, and an interception. Mahomes finished the day 26-of-49 for 270 yards and two interceptions, while also rushing for 33 yards. Kelce caught 10 passes for 133 yards, setting a new Super Bowl record for receiving yards by a tight end. Out of 110 Super Bowl teams, Kansas City became just the third to finish the game without scoring a touchdown, joining the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI and the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians became the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl, at 68 years and 127 days, while the team became the first to score at least 30 points in four games during the same postseason.[132]

Box score[edit]

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chiefs (AFC) 3 3 309
Buccaneers (NFC) 7 14 10031

at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP KC TB
1 5:10 8 31 3:23 KC 49-yard field goal by Harrison Butker 3 0
1 0:37 8 75 4:33 TB Rob Gronkowski 8-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady, Ryan Succop kick good 3 7
2 6:05 6 38 2:58 TB Gronkowski 17-yard touchdown reception from Brady, Succop kick good 3 14
2 1:01 10 61 5:04 KC 34-yard field goal by Butker 6 14
2 0:06 5 71 0:55 TB Antonio Brown 1-yard touchdown reception from Brady, Succop kick good 6 21
3 11:26 7 47 3:34 KC 52-yard field goal by Butker 9 21
3 7:45 6 74 3:41 TB Leonard Fournette 27-yard touchdown run, Succop kick good 9 28
3 2:46 8 11 3:34 TB 51-yard field goal by Succop 9 31
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 9 31

Final statistics[edit]

Statistical comparison[edit]

Team-to-team comparison[133]
Statistic Kansas City Chiefs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
First downs 22 26
First downs rushing 12 12
First downs passing 7 8
First downs penalty 3 6
Third down efficiency 3–13 4–12
Fourth down efficiency 1–3 0–1
Total net yards 350 340
Net yards rushing 107 145
Rushing attempts 17 33
Yards per rush 6.3 4.4
Yards passing 243 195
Passing–completions/attempts 26/49 21/29
Times sacked–total yards 3–27 1–6
Interceptions thrown 2 0
Punt returns–total yards 1–0 0–0
Kickoff returns–total yards 3–87 3–75
Interceptions–total return yards 0–0 2–0
Punts–average yardage 3–35.7 4–37.5
Fumbles–lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties–yards 11–120 4–39
Time of possession 28:37 31:23
Turnovers 2 0
Records set[134]
(Unless noted as "NFL Championships" or "Pro Football History", all records refer only to Super Bowls)
Most appearances, player 10 Tom Brady (Tampa Bay)
Most appearances, starting player 10
Most NFL championships won, player 7
Most wins, player 7
Most Super Bowl MVPs, player 5
Most pass attempts, player (career) 421
Most pass completions, player (career) 277
Most passing yards, player (career) 3,039
Most touchdown passes, player (career) 21
Oldest quarterback, player 43 years, 188 days
Oldest quarterback, starting player 43 years, 188 days
Oldest quarterback, winning team 43 years, 188 days
Oldest player 43 years, 188 days
Oldest player, starting player 43 years, 188 days
Oldest player, winning team 43 years, 188 days
Oldest player to win Super Bowl MVP 43 years, 188 days
Most touchdowns, QB-receiver tandem (career) 5 Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski (Tampa Bay)
Most receptions, tight end (career) 29 Rob Gronkowski (Tampa Bay)
Most receiving yards, tight end 133 Travis Kelce (Kansas City)
Oldest head coach, winning team 68 years, 325 days Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay)
Most penalty yards in any half 95 Kansas City Chiefs
Most first downs by penalty, both teams 9 Tampa Bay (6) v. Kansas City (3)
Most first downs by penalty, team 6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lowest stadium audience attendance 24,835 Super Bowl LV
Records tied
Most championships won in Pro Football history, player[135] 7 Tom Brady (Tampa Bay)
Most fumbles, player (career) 5
Most teams with win, quarterback (career) 2
Most teams scoring touchdowns, player (career) 2 Rob Gronkowski (Tampa Bay)
Most fumbles recovered, player (career) 2 Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City)
Fewest touchdowns, team 0 Kansas City Chiefs
Fewest rushing touchdowns, team 0
Fewest passing touchdowns, team 0
Fewest punt returns, team 0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fewest turnovers, team 0
Fewest punt return yards, both teams 0 Super Bowl LV
Fewest fumbles lost, both teams 0

Individual statistics[edit]

Kansas City statistics[133]
Chiefs passing
C/ATT1 Yds TD INT Rating
Patrick Mahomes 26/49 270 0 2 52.3
Chiefs rushing
Car2 Yds TD Lg3 Yds/Car
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 9 64 0 26 7.1
Patrick Mahomes 5 33 0 11 6.6
Darrel Williams 2 5 0 3 2.5
Tyreek Hill 1 5 0 5 5.0
Chiefs receiving
Rec4 Yds TD Lg3 Target5
Travis Kelce 10 133 0 33 15
Tyreek Hill 7 73 0 23 10
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 2 23 0 18 3
Darrel Williams 2 10 0 9 7
Mecole Hardman 2 4 0 4 6
Sammy Watkins 1 13 0 13 1
Demarcus Robinson 1 11 0 11 2
Byron Pringle 1 3 0 3 2
Tampa Bay statistics[133]
Buccaneers passing
C/ATT1 Yds TD INT Rating
Tom Brady 21/29 201 3 0 125.8
Buccaneers rushing
Car2 Yds TD Lg3 Yds/Car
Leonard Fournette 16 89 1 27 5.6
Ronald Jones II 12 61 0 13 5.1
Tom Brady 4 –2 0 0 –0.5
Scotty Miller 1 –3 0 –3 –3
Buccaneers receiving
Rec4 Yds TD Lg3 Target5
Rob Gronkowski 6 67 2 25 7
Antonio Brown 5 22 1 16 6
Leonard Fournette 4 46 0 15 4
Cameron Brate 3 26 0 15 3
Chris Godwin 2 9 0 8 4
Mike Evans 1 31 0 31 1
Ronald Jones II 0 0 0 0 1
Joe Haeg 0 0 0 0 1
Tyler Johnson 0 0 0 0 1
Tanner Hudson 0 0 0 0 1

1Completions/attempts
2Carries
3Long gain
4Receptions
5Times targeted

Starting lineups[edit]

Both teams used a single set back formation as their base offense, with three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back. On defense, both teams used a variation of the nickel defense, as their base defense, with five defensive backs. Kansas City used a 4–2–5 variation with four down linemen and two linebackers, while Tampa Bay used a 2–4–5 with two down linemen and four linebackers. Kansas City's normal starter at left tackle, Pro Bowl selection Eric Fisher, was out with an achilles tendon injury he suffered in the AFC Championship Game. With his injury and others along the offensive line, the Chiefs were starting their fourth option on the depth chart at left tackle, third option at right guard, and third option at right tackle.

Starting lineups for Super Bowl LV[133]
Kansas City Position Tampa Bay
Offense
Demarcus Robinson WR Mike Evans
Travis Kelce TE Rob Gronkowski
Mike Remmers LT Donovan Smith
Nick Allegretti LG Ali Marpet
Austin Reiter C Ryan Jensen
Stefen Wisniewski RG Aaron Stinnie
Andrew Wylie RT Tristan Wirfs
Tyreek Hill WR Scotty Miller
Byron Pringle WR Chris Godwin
Patrick Mahomes QB Tom Brady
Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB Leonard Fournette
Defense
Tanoh Kpassagnon LDE DL Ndamukong Suh
Chris Jones LDT NT Rakeem Nuñez-Roches
Derrick Nnadi RDT OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
Frank Clark RDE ILB Devin White
Anthony Hitchens LB ILB Lavonte David
Damien Wilson LB OLB Shaquil Barrett
Charvarius Ward LCB CB Carlton Davis
Bashaud Breeland RCB CB Jamel Dean
L'Jarius Sneed CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
Daniel Sorensen FS S Jordan Whitehead
Tyrann Mathieu SS S Antoine Winfield Jr.

Officials[edit]

Super Bowl LV featured seven officials. Sarah Thomas was the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.[136] This was the first Super Bowl to have an alternate official for every position on the field since Super Bowl I. It was also the first time the replay official had a backup.[3] The numbers in parentheses below indicate their uniform numbers.[2][3]

  • Referee: Carl Cheffers (51)
  • Umpire: Fred Bryan (11)
  • Down judge: Sarah Thomas (53)
  • Line judge: Rusty Baynes (59)
  • Field judge: James Coleman (95)
  • Side judge: Eugene Hall (103)
  • Back judge: Dino Paganelli (105)
  • Replay official: Mike Wimmer
  • Replay assistant: Sean McKee
  • Alternates:
    • Referee: Shawn Smith (14)
    • Umpire: Ramon George (128)
    • Down judge: Jerod Phillips (6)
    • Line judge: Mark Steinkerchner (84)
    • Field judge: Tom Hill (97)
    • Side judge: Jabir Walker (26)
    • Back judge: Brad Freeman (88)
    • Replay official: Mark Butterworth

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Only 37% of the seats were filled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. ^ The 1971 Miami Dolphins and the 2018 Los Angeles Rams were the first two teams to fail to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl. Out of these three, the Chiefs are the only one to score more than once.

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External links[edit]