If you have been following the Buccaneers throughout the 2020 season or are just catching up with them now, you will know that a few of their players are going to undergo a great deal of scrutiny during the ultimate showdown on Super Bowl Sunday.
Tom Brady and Antonio Brown have both been written off by other teams, and thus the football world waits with bated breath for February 7th to see if their desire to prove their on-field worth will carry the Bucs to a surprise win.
Let’s take a look at these two players, as well as some others who will be hogging the spotlight when Super Bowl 55 goes down.
Brady vs. Mahomes
Yes, there will be many eyes upon the quarterbacks in this clash of the titans. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has proven his worth, and former Patriot Tom Brady has certainly proven his (over and over again, ad nauseum).
However, Mahomes has the support of a strong starting lineup, while Bucs detractors believe that it is Brady alone who has carried Tampa Bay this far.
Football enthusiasts are eager to watch these two powerhouses rush and pass and strategize their way toward a victory that only one can obtain.
Chiefs and Bucs fans are not so eager to watch the face-off, however, knowing that—where the QBs are concerned—things could go either way.
Another factor that may lift Tampa Bay’s performance is the fact that they are the first Super Bowl team in history to have the home-field advantage since they are the first home team to make it to the Super Bowl while it is being hosted in their city.
However (and thus the pendulum swings again), the stadium will be operating at 1/3 capacity, and thus the roar of the crowd and the palpable fan energy of your average Super Bowl will be missing.
No stranger to the limelight, “The Gronk” has the chance to be a strong determinant in Sunday’s game.
Like Tom Brady and Antonio Brown, tight end Gronkowski is new to Tampa Bay. Also, like Brady and Brown, Gronkowski has made Bucs management very happy that he is on the roster.
The Gronk has logged in some critical receptions in the 2020 regular season, and there is no reason he isn’t ready to do so again on Sunday.
Gronkowski is on the Bucs’ starting offensive lineup. Let’s hope that the coin toss works out for Tampa Bay so we can see this elusive Bucs magic ASAP.
This tough-looking Tampa Bay linebacker has a ten-foot broad jump and an eager penchant for rough tackling.
David was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month just 17 weeks ago, and we suspect that his skill has not diminished a bit in the intervening months.
Also, as noted above, the Chiefs are going to invade the Bucs’ turf on Sunday to try to kick David and his fellow players out of their own house. I just can’t see Lavonte accepting this with any degree of grace.
If anything, David and his compatriots will let the pro-Kansas City sportsbook stats leverage them to a lofty and vicious place, wherein a Chiefs win is not guaranteed. But a few injuries might be.
David is jersey number 54; keep your eyes peeled.
And now we come to the inimitable Mr. Antonio Brown. This player has been involved in so many strange mishaps that a rumor persists that the National Enquirer had to tone down the facts to keep things believable.
A few years ago, Brown was on the Steelers roster. Brown developed issues with beloved QB Ben Roethlisberger which were disruptive to the team. “So long, Antonio,” said Pittsburgh.
So Brown heads to Oakland but immediately ruffles Raider’s feathers by refusing to play. “I don’t like this helmet,” the wide receiver explained.
So, Oakland says, “Bye, Felicia,” and Brown finds himself shipped across the nation to New England and the Patriots roster.
Now, the Patriots are a tough crew, but Brown then had multiple crimes laid at his door, and so he was ejected from the clam chowder capital of the world.
So, Mr. Brown manages to find his way to Tampa Bay. (Greyhound? Southwest? Unimportant.) Brown and the Bucs meet in October of 2000 and sign a one-year contract a few days later.
Getting to the Point
All of his past foibles (and worse) aside, Mr. Brown is looking remarkably fit.
Rumor has it that Tampa Bay is already considering Antonio’s next contract with the team, despite Brown’s so-so TD numbers in the 2020 season.
Perhaps Most Importantly
Brown admits he’s had a bit of an attitude epiphany since Brady introduced him to a motivational speaker. Apparently, Brown feels clear, fresh, and on the right path.
Now, all of this leadup brings me to this: If Antonio has truly had a soul rebirth and can stay focused, motivated, and committed, then he could turn all the sportsbook statistics on their heads and bring the trophy home to Tampa Bay.
Update: Brown is not on the starting roster for Sunday’s Big Game due to injury. His team is confident that he will be ready to play on Sunday, however, since he took the previous week off to heal.
A Thought to Wrap Things Up
Anything can happen on Sunday. And I hope it will! No one wants a repeat of the sedate and completely unexciting Super Bowl LIII (Pats v. Rams).
Get your Super Bowl bets in early, and your food order. Don your sweats and make your drinks. This could be—no guarantees, mind you, but could be—the game of the decade.