NBA fans have never seen Michael Jordan and LeBron James on the pitch at the same time, but NFL fans are faced with a showdown between the ‘GOAT’ and the man believed to be his successor Patrick Mahomes at Super Bowl LV.
After two decades of unsurpassed success and six Super Bowl rings alongside Bill Belichick in the New England Patriots, 43-year-old Tom Brady switched gears in the off-season and signed a deal with the unfashionable Tampa Bay Buccaneers – a team that hadn’t made it the playoffs in 13 consecutive seasons.
And now, just months after the term “Tom-pa Bay” became popular with NFL fans around the world, Brady’s resurgent Bucs have landed their first Super Bowl game since 2002.
It turns out that success can be contagious.
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Opposite Brady will be an opponent who has not only been predicted to be the successor to the great man in the sport, but perhaps someone who can even outshine Brady – the man who has been billed as the greatest to ever do so .
In just three seasons as the starting signaler for the Kansas City Chiefs, Mahomes has stood alone as the league’s top quarterback – and will attempt on Sunday to become the first QB in more than 15 years to lead his team to the Super Bowl in a row.
The last man who did this special feat? You guessed it, Tom Brady.
Incredibly, if the Chiefs sidestep Bradys Bucs ‘challenge late Sunday night, it means Mahomes won two Super Bowls before losing ten games in his career – an honestly ridiculous statistic (Mahomes’ career record is 44-9 ).
The Brady Injection in Tampa Bay also brought in a ton of stars who wanted to say they played with # 12 ball. They immediately reunited Brady with his most trusted New England decade recipient, Rob Gronkowski – the tight ending who was seduced from retirement to only play one more season alongside the great quarterback.
Controversial former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown was added to the mix at Brady’s request, while Leonard Fournette was added to a roster that already included talented players like Mike Evans and destructive linebacker Devin White.
In fact, it can be argued that this Buccaneers site has been almost genetically engineered to take part in showcase games like the Super Bowl on Sunday. Experience and talent are all well and good, but a winning mentality cannot be conveyed through coaching. It can only come the hard way; through success, even if the Buccaneers organization is betting on it today.
But what about Mahomes and the Chiefs? Andy Reid’s team have been widely recognized as the best team in the NFL for the past two seasons and can cement that status with a win on Sunday. The Buccaneers, however, laid the foundation stone for the addition of large funds to their roster, the Chiefs opted for the grind consistency instead.
Their three pre-eminent skill players – Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce – are arguably the top three players in their position in the league, and much of their success is due to the massive influence the trio has on the games. However, Reid is an excellent head coach and was instrumental in laying the foundation on which Mahomes thrive.
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But even with all of the big players who will be on the field this weekend, it is believed that the final destination of the Vince Lombardi Trophy will be decided by one of Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes – and with their current score, two wins apiece, their rivalry is very fine-tuned.
We never saw Diego share Maradona with Pele. Muhammad Ali never boxed Mike Tyson. Hell, we didn’t even get Khabib Nurmagomedov against Georges St-Pierre.
However, on Sunday we see Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes compete against each other – and fittingly for these two one-in-a-million players the stakes couldn’t be much higher.
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