by Tanner Pruitt
Super Bowl LV is this Sunday, February 7th, and as fast and furious as this year’s big event has come to our doorstep, it’s hard to think of one so unusual as this. COVID-19 has the United States reeling, but sports, and in particular, Football, has given the hand-sanitized and socially-distanced masses something to look forward to. This year’s Super Bowl seems to have a little bit of something for everyone, so without further adieu, these are some of the top storylines going in to Super Bowl LV.
As noted above, the severity of COVID-19 and it’s effects on every day life are far reaching. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s going to take a time-out for us to enjoy the Super Bowl. That said, the NFL is doing everything it can to make sure that there will be some fans attending this year’s big event. Per CBS Sports, 25,000 living, breathing fans will be in attendance with another 30,000 cardboard cut-out fans in the stands alongside them. At this point, this is not an uncommon practice for teams to put cardboard fans in seats. We’ve even seen commercials use the concept of cardboard fans. And though we may not hear *much* from our cardboard allies, the other 25,000 people in attendance should be more than plenty to make some noise. Also, as if the cardboard fans are not enough to remind you of the stark contrast in the times from Super Bowls past, the NFL do plan on making a presentation putting the spotlight on the nation’s healthcare workers.
Speaking of Raymond James Stadium…
Home Town Super Bowl for the Buccs
For the first time ever, a team will have literal home-field advantage, with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers looking to take full advantage. It will be interesting to see how this actually plays out, especially considering the circumstances listed above. This year’s Super Bowl will be uniquely subdued compared to years past, but that will hardly have an effect on any of the home-town fans in attendance. What’s more pressing, rather, will be Tampa Bay’s familiarity with the field, grounds and conditions. Kansas City can do all of the practice and training they want prior to Sunday, but it will be extremely difficult to replicate what they will actually be facing on the field come game time.
Don’t look now, Patriots fans, but Tom Brady is taking a team to the Super Bowl and it’s not yours. Much has been said of Tom Brady’s move to Tampa Bay, and much more will be said for years to come. Want an interesting stat? Come Sunday, Tom Brady will have appeared in nearly twenty-percent of all Super Bowls. Twenty-percent! At age 43, Brady says he still has a few more years in him and as long as he has the proper weapons around him like he has now, it would be foolish to argue anything otherwise. If he was to fin, he’ll have won the Super Bowl with two different teams and in both conferences. When the GOAT conversation comes around, Tom Brady will undoubtedly be the first or near the first name on everyone’s lips. Love him or hate him, he has been undeniable this season. The question on everyone’s mind: can big-game Tom pull off the “big one” one more time?
The New Kid in Town
Patrick Mahomes meteoric-rise to the summit of football greatness continues. Mahomes will be joining the select company of QBs who have visited Super Bowls back-to-back, along with the man who he will be competing against. As great as Tom Brady has been over the years, it would be difficult to find another QB in the league who is as talented, dynamic, exciting, and heck, as fun to watch as Patrick Mahomes. We’ve all seen the no-look passes, the guy has a cannon for an arm but is also very mobile and can make crazy runs when required of him. To win back-to-back Super Bowls will be an incredible accomplishment for a man so young. Something tells me he can handle the pressure.