Andy Reid did not see the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl LV performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming.

Tom Brady led the Buccaneers to a comfortable 31-9 victory over the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes completed 26 of 49 passes for 270 yards and two interceptions, while being sacked three times.

Reid said the performance came as a surprise, with the Chiefs also giving away 11 penalties.

"I didn't see it coming at all. I thought we were going to come in and we were going to play these guys right just like we had been playing teams. It didn't happen that way," the Chiefs head coach told a news conference.

"They did a nice job, I give them credit on it. I didn't anticipate this happening."

While Mahomes also rushed for 33 yards, the quarterback was consistently troubled by the Buccaneers' defense.

Reid said there were no questions over the mental toughness of last season's Super Bowl MVP, but he also took responsibility for not giving the 25-year-old more chances.

"Until the last snap he was trying to win the football game. That should never be questioned," he said.

"I could have done a better job in helping him out with the run game. I could've given him more opportunities where we could've run the football."

Reid's son, Britt, was involved in a multi-vehicle crash on Thursday and the Chiefs head coach said it impacted him personally.

"I'd be lying if I didn't tell you my heart bleeds for the people involved in it. We had put the game plan in the week before. It wasn't a distraction as far as the game plan goes. That was already in and how we were going to work with it and go forward," he said.

"From a human standpoint, it's a tough one. From a football standpoint, I don't think that was the problem."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Tom Brady dismissed any talk of retirement, saying he was "coming back" after winning Super Bowl LV.

Brady led the Buccaneers past the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 on Sunday to win a record-extending seventh Super Bowl crown.

There was speculation the 43-year-old quarterback could retire if the Buccaneers won the showpiece game, but Brady will return for a 22nd NFL season.

"We're coming back. You already know that," he said after being named Super Bowl MVP.

Brady completed 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns as the Buccaneers dominated, winning their first Super Bowl since the 2002 season.

After beating Drew Brees' New Orleans Saints, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs, the Buccaneers became the first team to win three games against former Super Bowl MVPs in the same postseason.

Brady also followed in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history to win Super Bowls with two different teams, while he became the first player to win Super Bowls in three different decades.

Tom Brady has been crowned Super Bowl MVP for a fifth time after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first Lombardi Trophy since the 2002 season.

Brady threw three touchdowns as the Buccaneers upstaged Patrick Mahomes and defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Sunday's Super Bowl LV.

Buccaneers superstar Brady claimed a record-extending seventh Super Bowl crown, and first in Tampa after ending his illustrious 20-year association with the New England Patriots at the start of the season.

Brady finished 21-of-29 passing for 201 yards, three TDs, no interceptions and just one sack at Raymond James Stadium.

The 43-year-old's latest Super Bowl MVP honour adds to his previous successes in 2002, 2004, 2015 and 2017.

"I'm so proud of all these guys down here," Brady said. "Everything we dealt with all year, we had a rough month in November but BA [head coach Bruce Arians] had all the confidence in us.

"The team had a lot of confidence, we came together at the right time. I think we knew this was going to happen, didn't we?"

With the memorable victory, Brady joined MLB first baseman Johnny Mize (1950s New York Yankees) and NHL goaltender Johnny Bower (1960s Toronto Maple Leafs) as the only players to win four championships aged 37 or older, per Stats Perform.

Brady also followed in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history to win Super Bowls with two different teams, while he became the first player to win Super Bowls in three different decades.

Tom Brady made more history, the most successful player in NFL history claiming a seventh Super Bowl crown after sensationally leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers past the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV.

In a blockbuster showdown pitting 43-year-old great Brady against reigning Super Bowl MVP Mahomes – the face of NFL's new generation – it was the veteran quarterback who came out on top in a masterclass on Sunday.

Brady – already the record-holder with six previous Super Bowl victories – threw three touchdown passes, including two to trusted team-mate Rob Gronkowski, after completing 21 of 29 throws for 201 yards and no interceptions as the Buccaneers claimed their first Lombardi Trophy since the 2002 campaign.

With the memorable victory in his first season with the Buccaneers, Brady joined MLB first baseman Johnny Mize (1950s New York Yankees) and NHL goaltender Johnny Bower (1960s Toronto Maple Leafs) as the only players to win four championships aged 37 or older. 

Brady also followed in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history to win Super Bowls with two different teams.

It was a night to forget for Mahomes and the Chiefs after the Kansas City signal-caller finished 26-of-49 passing for 270 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and three sacks, Tampa Bay's defense stifling Andy Reid's men.

There were plenty of storylines in Tampa – Brady featuring in his fifth Super Bowl since turning 37, tying the most appearances in a championship game/series by any player in any major North American sport, alongside NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and MLB great Roger Clemens, while he is only one of three athletes in North American sport to make three championship appearances aged 40 or older.

Led by Mahomes, the Chiefs were looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since Brady and the New England Patriots in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

Sarah Thomas also made history as the NFL's first female Super Bowl official at Raymond James Stadium, where the Buccaneers became the first home team to stage a showpiece and Brady overcame an early sack in the first quarter.

Mahomes came close to throwing a touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, instead a field goal getting the Chiefs on the board before Brady and the Buccaneers took control.

Brady led an impressive eight-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a TD pass to a familiar face – Gronkowski – with 37 seconds remaining in the opening quarter as the pair surpassed Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (12) for the most touchdowns by any quarterback-receiver combo in postseason history with their 13th.

It also marked the first time in 10 Super Bowl appearances that Brady's team scored a touchdown in the opening period.

Brady and the Buccaneers – leading 7-3 after one quarter – were purring against a defensively poor Chiefs – the veteran QB thought he had another touchdown pass, but a desperate Anthony Hitchens made a TD-saving play on Joe Haeg in the endzone early in the second period.

Kansas City's defense came up big to thwart the red-hot Buccaneers, stopping Tampa Bay just short of the endzone on fourth down, but Mahomes lacked support offensively as Travis Kelce also dropped a catch.

As the penalties piled up for the Chiefs, the Buccaneers capitalised – Brady delivering a laser pass to Gronkowski in the endzone before Antonio Brown benefited from another throw to extend Tampa Bay's lead to 21-6 on the stroke of half-time.

Shell-shocked, the Chiefs needed a response in the second half but they did not get it to begin the third quarter after they were exposed defensively again – Leonard Fournette's defensive-splitting 27-yard run making it 28-9 in favour of the hosts.

After four successful extra-point conversions, Ryan Succop nailed a 52-yard field goal to move the Buccaneers further clear late in the third quarter as Mahomes' Chiefs tried unsuccessfully to rally to victory.

Tom Brady claimed a seventh Super Bowl crown after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first Lombardi Trophy since the 2002 season with a dominant victory over defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski broke an NFL postseason record to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

Brady's eight-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski in the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday saw the duo make history.

They surpassed Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (12) for the most TDs by any quarterback-receiver combo in postseason history with their 13th.

It also marked the first time in 10 Super Bowl appearances that Brady's team have scored a TD in the first quarter.

The Buccaneers held a 7-3 lead after the opening quarter.

Much of the Super Bowl LV build up has understandably focused on the tantalising battle between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.

Brady is eyeing a seventh Super Bowl crown against the NFL's top superstar Mahomes, who looks the most likely candidate to come close to his total in the years ahead.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs have not made it to Sunday's game purely based on their quarterbacks, though.

Stats Perform's NFL research analyst Ethan Cooperson will be in the commentary booth as part of the CBS broadcast crew with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo at Raymond James Stadium.

He has highlighted some of the most interesting data that suggests the Bucs' Mike Evans and Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill have pivotal roles to play.

EVANS RISING TO BRADY CHALLENGE

Brady and Evans have had a few difficult moments over the course of a campaign where the wideout has battled injuries at times.

But his contribution may not have had the credit it deserved for the Bucs' run to the big game.

"The Mike Evans effect is actually underrated," Cooperson said to Stats Perform News. "A little indication of that - Evans, this season, 14 touchdown receptions including the playoffs.

"The only wide receiver in Brady's career to catch more from him in one season is Randy Moss in 2007.

"So of all the years he played in New England with Wes Welker, with Moss, Evans is having the second most productive year in terms of TDs by any wide receiver who has been paired with Brady.

"This is obviously a great talent in Evans, who has had 1,000 yards in every season of his career, an unknown because he played on a team that was never in the playoffs.

"But now that he's with Brady, suddenly he's become, in some respects, a star because now we are realising how good this guy has been for all these years - and Brady's helped bring that out."

Evans is a formidable red-zone weapon when he is targeted. He has had one red-zone catch in each of the past two games, both touchdowns.

Per Stats Perform data, including the postseason, 11 of his 15 TD catches have come in the red zone; both figures are franchise records.

CAN HILL BE STOPPED?

In the AFC Championship Game, Hill (nine catches, 172 receiving yards) and Travis Kelce (13 catches, 118 receiving yards) became the first pair of team-mates all-time with 20+ catches and 280+ receiving yards combined in a playoff game.

The only time any NFL duo reached those numbers during the 2020 regular season was Kelce and Hill in Week 12 when they won impressively at Tampa Bay (21 catches, 351 receiving yards).

The Bucs will need an answer for Hill. In the first meeting, he became the second player in NFL history with 13+ catches, 20+ yards per catch and 3+ touchdowns in a game, joining Jerry Rice (December 18, 1995).

His 269 receiving yards were the most by any player in a game this season and the most ever allowed by Tampa Bay.

Cooperson explained: "Let's see what the Buccaneers do to defend Tyreek Hill.

"Last meeting, Carlton Davis against Hill, Davis allowed 194 receiving yards in that game - 183 to Hill, but 194 receiving yards, the most that any one defender has allowed in any single game all season.

"Clearly, they need to do something different against Hill, that's what this might come down to.

"In that game it was one of one of the better performances by a receiver in a single game in league history, something has to be done differently to try to shut him down.

"But, of course, there's the danger that if you rotate through much of the coverage to him then Travis Kelce's open all day to catch passes and beat the defense that way.

"It is a dilemma for any defensive coordinator with two great weapons like that, it seems like it's almost impossible to stop both of them - so maybe try to stop one of them.

"It's a nightmare to try to try to defend. And clearly they struck out in trying to defend Hill the last time. Recently, no one else has been able to cover both of those receivers.

"I like Hill with the speed. I think he's tougher to bring down in the open field. Some of his runs when he gets into the open field are electrifying and what he can do after the catch is pretty dazzling.

"He's an effective rusher in addition to being a great pass catcher. In the open field, that's a big part of what makes him so dangerous."

GRONKOWSKI V KELCE

The two star tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Kelce, are also sure to capture plenty of attention and have been subject to many pre-game comparisons.

"To be fair, I don't think Gronk is a great weapon at this point," said Cooperson as he gave his verdict.

"I think he has one catch in the postseason. So he's a great blocker. That's one thing that's not mentioned about him, more than some of the other very good pass-catching tight ends.

"Cameron Brate actually is having a much more productive postseason than Gronk as far as receiving.

"It's essentially a case where Kelce has inherited the mantle from Gronkowski as the game's elite tight end. He has statistically, in terms of receptions and yards, surpassed a lot of what Gronk has done.

"Five straight 1,000-yard seasons - unprecedented for a tight end. Kelce is such a weapon, he's almost a wide receiver playing tight end.

"He's such a weapon in the red zone, he is such a weapon over the middle, he's a weapon on deep throws. There's not much in his game that he can't do.

"And there's not much that they don't use him to do. He's having the best season ever by a tight end and he's destroying the tight end record book.

"His next catch, assuming he gets a catch in the Super Bowl, that will be number 127 of the season, which will be the most ever by a tight end over a regular season and playoffs combined."

History is up for grabs on Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

A mouth-watering clash will see Tom Brady, at the age of 43, seek his seventh Super Bowl title in his first season with the Bucs.

If he succeeds, Bruce Arians' team will become the first ever to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy at their own stadium.

The opposition could not be any tougher, though, as Brady's heir apparent Patrick Mahomes seeks a second straight Super Bowl title with the free-scoring Chiefs.

REGULAR SEASON REMATCH

These two teams have already played this season, with the Chiefs winning 27-24 in Tampa Bay on November 29.

The Week 12 victory was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests, with the defending champions 17 points clear going into the fourth quarter.

However, Stats Perform data shows that history may side with the Bucs in this scenario.

There have been 13 previous Super Bowls between teams that met in the regular season, and the winner of the first matchup is just 6-7 in the rematch.

Mahomes lit up the regular season game, going 37-for-49 for 462 yards (fourth-most in franchise history), adding three touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

He became the first player in NFL history to complete at least 75 per cent of his passes for at least 450 yards and zero interceptions in a road game.

That win means Chiefs coach Andy Reid, dating back to the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles, has won nine straight games played in the state of Florida across the regular season and postseason.

It is the longest such streak all-time by a head coach of a non-Florida team. 

Stakes could not be higher for the rematch, which is also only the second playoff game all-time between starting quarterbacks of the previous two Super Bowl winners.

Brady triumphed in 2018, his penultimate season with the New England Patriots, while Mahomes was Super Bowl MVP last year as the Chiefs fought back to beat the San Francisco 49ers.

The only previous playoff meeting between the prior two Super Bowl winners was the 1983 NFC Championship Game between San Francisco's Joe Montana and Washington's Joe Theismann.

Washington held off a late Montana comeback attempt to win but could not go on to finish the job in the Super Bowl.

BUCS IN RARE COMPANY

Higher seeds have excelled in the playoffs over recent NFL seasons, though this year the Bucs (seeded five) have surged despite being on the road since Wild Card weekend.

Tampa Bay are the fifth team all-time to win three road games in a single postseason, joining the 1985 Patriots, 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2007 New York Giants and 2010 Green Bay Packers. 

The most recent three all won in the Super Bowl in a positive omen for the Bucs, with Brady famously falling to the Giants to conclude that 2007 season after going 16-0 in the regular season.

Aged 68 years and 127 days, Bruce Arians will be the second-oldest head coach in Super Bowl history, behind only the Buffalo Bills' Marv Levy (68 years and 180 days).

Arians has the chance to become the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl, with Bill Belichick (66 years and 293 days) the current record holder after he and Brady saw off the Los Angeles Rams with the Pats two years ago.

The Bucs are the 11th team all-time to score at least 30 points three times in a single postseason. Nine of the previous 10 won the Super Bowl; the only team that did not were the 2008 Arizona Cardinals. 

No team has ever scored at least 30 points four times in a single postseason, but Arians and Brady likely need to do so if they are to prevail, due to the Chiefs' firepower.

MAHOMES IS COMEBACK KING

Mahomes has done wonders for Reid's legacy – the head coach now has seven playoff wins with the Chiefs (7-5), one shy of the combined total of all other coaches in franchise history (8-14).

If the Bucs take an early lead, they will know they must keep their foot on the gas.

Kansas City trailed the Bills 9-0 in the AFC Championship Game before rallying to win 38-24. 

It was the fourth time Mahomes has rallied from a two-score deficit to win a playoff game by two or more scores. No other QB in NFL playoff history has done so more than once.

Indeed, Mahomes has won 25 of his past 26 starts (including postseason), only the third QB to ever go on such a run (after Jim McMahon and Brady).

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce comes into the game in form. He has eight TD catches in his past six playoff games - only Jerry Rice (11) and Larry Fitzgerald (nine) have more in a six-game postseason span.

The Bucs, meanwhile, have been spreading the ball around - six different players have caught a TD this postseason, one shy of the most by any team in a single postseason all-time (1999 Rams). 

None of those six are Rob Gronkowski. But the tight end will still need to be watched closely – his 12 career postseason TD catches are tied with John Stallworth for second all-time behind Rice's 22.

Tom Brady's huge late-career success means his legacy is already "set apart" from greats in other sports such as Michael Jordan, according to Stats Perform's NFL research analyst Ethan Cooperson.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brady will take on the Kansas City Chiefs, who are led by his heir apparent Patrick Mahomes, in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.

The Bucs are looking to become the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in their own stadium.

Cooperson will be in the commentary booth as part of the CBS broadcast crew with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo in Florida.

He believes the accomplishments of Brady, who is 43 and in his first season with Tampa Bay, separate him from many of the historic greats produced by the NBA, NHL and MLB.

Brady will be playing in his 10th Super Bowl and targeting his seventh title overall, with Cooperson highlighting none of his previous six crowns came in what should have been considered his prime.

Cooperson told Stats Perform News: "How much more can he add to his legacy? 

"It's hard to extend and it is already incomparable. To do it at his age is now another phase of that, but he's already won Super Bowls after the age of 40. 

"It's almost hard to comprehend because he's already done so much.

"It's curious that he's won the six Super Bowls and you can make a case that he didn't win any in the prime of his career, a nine-year period between ages of 28 and 36. 

"He won three of them by the age of 27 and he's now looking for his fourth after the age of 37. 

"There is one thing that we looked at, some of the great champions, the great players, the great winners and in some other sports. 

"So we looked at Bill Russell with the Celtics, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter. Those four won a combined 26 championships. They didn't win any after the age of 36, none. 

"And Brady is going for his fourth after this age. So he's doing something that the greats in these other sports didn't come close to doing. 

"That's why you say his legacy, I think that's what we could say would set him apart, already has set him apart and will continue to when you compare it to some of the greats in the other sports."

Amid the awe at Brady reaching the Super Bowl, Cooperson highlighted how there was a significant stretch of the 2020 season where things were not going smoothly for the Bucs, leaving Brady in unfamiliar statistical territory.

Cooperson added: "It's important to remember that this year for Brady in Tampa Bay, it was not a smooth ride from the start. It was not a straight path to what they have achieved.

"Remember that Week 5 in Chicago, he apparently forgot what down it was, threw an incomplete pass on fourth down and thought he still had another down to play with. 

"He suffered a 35-point home loss to the Saints, it's the largest loss of his career, and that started a run of three straight home losses, which he had never done before. 

"So at the point when they were 7-5 and had lost to Kansas City, certainly it was unclear where this was going for Tampa Bay." 

However, Cooperson highlighted the areas where Brady and Tampa have made the required improvements to spark their run to the big game.

"And what's happened since then, they had a bye week, and since then they've gone 7-0," he said.

"Brady's average is over 300 passing yards per game. That's the regular season and playoffs, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. 

"So this was almost a case of, for three months, this team was sort of finding itself. Brady was sort of finding himself. 

"There was a lot of talk that [coach] Bruce Arians was insisting on throwing the ball deep and it wasn't working.

"So to that point through the end of November, on deep passes, 20 or more yards downfield, Brady had four touchdowns, five interceptions.

"Since that bye week, on those deep passes, it's 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. So at some point, it started to click. It started to work.

"It wasn't perfect from the start, but it's almost as if even at age 43, Brady is learning their offense and it's not clicking right away, but by the end of it, it is clicking."

Just two days from now, a significantly reduced number of flashbulbs will fly and the talking will stop with the opening kick-off of Super Bowl LV.

One way or another, history will be made, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking to become the first team to win the Super Bowl at their home stadium and the Kansas City Chiefs out to retain the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Should the latter succeed, Patrick Mahomes will not only deny Tom Brady a record-extending seventh Super Bowl triumph but he will also break his counterpart's record as the youngest starting quarterback to win multiple titles. Brady won his second at 26, Mahomes does not turn 26 until September.

But which areas of the game will have the biggest impact on who is celebrating making history once the dust settles on a unique NFL season?

Here, using Stats Perform data, we look at where the game could be won.

Explosive plays potentially decisive

The Chiefs have established themselves as the most devastating offensive team in the NFL. Drawing comparisons to the NBA's Golden State Warriors at the peak of their powers, the Chiefs' ability to score deluges of points helps them put games to bed in a hurry.

Tampa Bay learned that the hard way in the regular-season meeting between these two teams back in Week 12 when the Chiefs surged into a 17-0 lead en route to a 27-24 win.

Mahomes had 229 passing yards in the first quarter while Tyreek Hill had 203 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the same period.

The Buccaneers simply cannot afford to have the Chiefs get such a jump on them this time around and, if they are to successfully go toe to toe with the champions, they will need to maintain their tendency for quick strikes.

Nine of Tampa's 10 touchdown drives in the postseason have been under four minutes. In the regular season, they had 41 touchdown drives lasting fewer than four minutes and nine in which they scored in under 30 seconds, no other team had more than five.

Combining the regular season and the postseason, the Bucs lead the NFL with 90 plays of 20 yards or more compared to 88 for the Chiefs. However, the Chiefs led the way in the regular season with 79, while their 17 offensive touchdowns of 20 yards or more were tied with the Las Vegas Raiders for most in the NFL.

Whoever hits on the most explosive plays this time around will likely be lifting the trophy.

Can Bucs get home with four?

Given what Hill did to the Buccaneers' defense in the regular-season meeting, the Bucs may well largely avoid blitzing Patrick Mahomes in order to devote as many players to coverage as possible.

Thankfully that plays to the strength of their outstanding defensive line, which has done an excellent job of getting to the quarterback with only four pass rushers.

Indeed, in the postseason, the 51 pass plays on which the Buccaneers have blitzed have delivered two sacks and one interception.

The 83 plays where they have not blitzed have resulted in five sacks and four interceptions.

Edge rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul are tied for the most pressures in the playoffs with 15 apiece. If they can get after Mahomes without blitzing and the seven defenders playing coverage can keep Hill and Travis Kelce relatively in check, the Bucs will be well-placed for victory.

Will 'Playoff Lenny' deliver again?

For all the hype around their remarkable offense, the Chiefs' defense remains underrated.

It was pivotal in closing out the Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers and the numbers suggest it has a strong chance of frustrating Brady.

Brady has a potent group of wide receivers to target, but the Chiefs have been one of the best teams in the league at defending wideouts.

They allowed 178 receptions to opposing receivers in 2020, giving up an average of 140.3 yards per game, putting the Chiefs second in the NFL in each of those areas.

Kansas City conceded 15 receiving touchdowns to wideouts, the Chiefs ranking tied-ninth in that category.

In the playoffs, the Chiefs are allowing just 4.78 yards per pass but have been much more susceptible to the run, opponents gaining 6.03 yards per rush.

The Bucs could, therefore, have to look to their running game, led by Leonard Fournette, to have success on offense.

Earning the moniker 'Playoff Lenny', Fournette has enjoyed a stunning postseason. After averaging 46.2 yards from scrimmage in the regular season, he is putting up 104.3 yards from scrimmage per game in the playoffs.

The run game might not be the first thing that comes to mind when looking at how to beat the Chiefs but, should Kansas City keep the receivers under wraps, the Bucs might have to turn to it.

Bucs must stand tall in the red zone

Regardless of what the Buccaneers do on offense, they will likely be fighting an uphill battle if they cannot end their recent struggles making red-zone stops.

In their last six games, the Buccaneers have allowed scores on all 19 of their opponents' drives inside the 20-yard line (12 touchdowns and seven field goals).

Looking solely at their three postseason games, the Bucs have given up scores on all 10 red-zone drives, with the breakdown of those a little more even with six touchdowns and four field goals.

Keeping the Chiefs to the latter will be crucial but that is easier said than done.

The Chiefs scored touchdowns on 57.8 per cent of their red-zone possessions in the regular season. That number ranked 16th in the NFL but it has ballooned to 73.1 in the playoffs as they have scored touchdowns on 19 of 26 trips inside the 20.

Kansas City turned a potentially mouth-watering AFC Championship Game with the Buffalo Bills into a mismatch by scoring on five of their six red-zone possessions, only failing to score on the final one because Mahomes took a knee to run out the clock.

If the Bucs cannot stop the Chiefs from being similarly clinical on Sunday, the Lombardi Trophy will again be making the journey back to Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce said the reigning NFL champions are not focused on "legendary" Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady heading into Super Bowl LV.

The Chiefs will be looking to claim back-to-back Super Bowl honours when they face Brady's Buccaneers in the NFL showpiece in Tampa on Sunday.

No player has won more Super Bowl titles or appeared in more NFL showpieces than six-time champion Brady, who has more playoff wins since turning 35 (17) than any other quarterback has in his entire career, per Stats Perform.

It will be Brady's fifth Super Bowl since turning 37 – tying the most appearances in a championship game/series by any player in any major North American sport, alongside NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and MLB great Roger Clemens, while he is only one of three athletes in North American sport to make three championship appearances at age 40 or older.

Chiefs tight end Kelce was asked about facing Brady and Rob Gronkowski, and the six-time Pro Bowler told reporters on Thursday: "When you're going up against a great quarterback like Tom Brady is, how legendary he's been in games like this, you just have to be able to control what you can control.

"That's what we do on the offensive side of the ball. We preach situational football, taking care of the football, winning the turnover battle. Things like that are things we can control as an offense.

"Going up against a high-powered offense like that, that's the key, you have to put up six points more than you're putting up three but at the end of the day, putting points on the board so you give yourself a chance in the fourth quarter."

The Buccaneers will be the first team to host a Super Bowl on home soil, but as big of an advantage as Arrowhead Stadium can be for the Chiefs, they have won 12 consecutive away games – one of the longest such streaks in NFL history, only behind the New England Patriots (15 between 2016-17) and San Francisco 49ers (21 between 1988-1990).

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid could also become the seventh coach to win back-to-back Super Bowls, and could also move into fourth place for all-time playoff victories – he is tied for 17 with Joe Gibbs, and behind leader Bill Belichick (31), Tom Landry (20) and Don Shula (19).

The Chiefs are also trying to become the eighth NFL franchise to claim the Lombardi trophy in consecutive seasons.

"I'm aware of it because the media, and I'm old, so I've heard it and seen it before with my own eyes," Reid said when asked about the milestones.

"But when you're in the middle of it, I don't think you appreciate it as much. Maybe when you're doing with the whole thing and look back on it, you can appreciate it more.

"But we're just scrambling from one drill to another drill, to a meeting, another meeting, making sure we are taking care of our media obligations."

Tom Brady believes "everybody in their next life wishes they can come back as Rob Gronkowski" as the superstar duo aim to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to glory at Super Bowl LV.  

Legendary quarterback Brady and tight end Gronkowski forged a strong bond as part of the dynasty that dominated the NFL for so long at the New England Patriots. 

Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season but, after just one campaign out of the game, the lure of playing alongside his long-time friend in Tampa proved too strong to resist. 

Now Gronkowski has the chance of a fourth Super Bowl ring, while Brady is attempting to win a seventh. 

Speaking at a news conference previewing Sunday's showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady was asked by Gronkowski's girlfriend, Camille Kostek, for an inside track on what it is like playing together. 

"You know what he's super excited because he feels so good, he's played 20 games this year so it's the most I think he's ever played his career," Brady said.  

"He's one of the most unique people, as you know, just being around him. He's so positive I think everybody wishes in their next life they can come back as Rob just because he's got such a great personality about him, just his way of being positive and he's a real high achiever.  

"He's very competitive, and I see the competitive nature, the determination like, when you're down and out, you want him with you. And I think that speaks to him as a team-mate and as a person. And I love playing with him.  

"You know I've known him for a long time, and I'm just so proud of all his accomplishments. He's an amazing guy. And I know, for both of us, we rely on each other a lot for different things. And I'll be looking for him this Sunday so that's the most important thing."

At the age of 43, Brady is about as experienced as it gets when it comes to preparing for the Super Bowl. 

But he is under no illusions as to the size of the task the Buccaneers face against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on Sunday. 

"It's a slow build I think for this game because it's two weeks of prep," he added.  

"You feel out the physical stuff. You're pretty much done at this point. And at this point it's just going through in your head, different situations, scenarios, all your different calls that you'd have, just trying to think about how they're going to play us.  

"And then, again, I think that's where the mental prep, you really can't leave any stone unturned at this point. Friday, Saturday, Sunday just over three days left in the season. So, 72 hours.  

"And, you know, you got to use it all and use it to the maximum, because this is a game that's really going to challenge us as a team, it's a very tough team to beat. They haven't been beaten in a long time.  

"They've got a great offense, got a great defense, really well coached. We have to be in a good place out there and compete and get ready for a great game. So, it's a long game, it's a hard game, it's a long day. But you got to be ready when the ball's kicked off and we're going to be challenged. They're going to challenge us and we are going to answer the challenge."

An NFL season unlike any other concludes on Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet in a Super Bowl with a difference.  

The Bucs have home advantage as they bid to make history – no team has ever before played for the Lombardi Trophy in their own stadium – but there will be no full house present to watch the action unfold. In a campaign shaped by the coronavirus pandemic, there will be more cardboard cut-outs in attendance than real fans.   

As for the game itself, Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes is box office viewing. Both have supporting casts that can accentuate their talent, giving us a battle between two quarterbacks at opposite ends of their NFL careers but with the same goal: Win one more ring.   

Then there are the head coaches. Andy Reid, who couldn't win the big games, until he actually did. Bruce Arians, who retired from coaching, until he came back. They have continued to work through unprecedented times in the league, where protocols have dictated daily schedules and the only talk of two-a-days referred to COVID-19 testing, rather than practices.    

Adapting to their specific situations has been the key to getting this far, according to former NFL head coach Brian Billick, now working for NFL Media. 

"They evolve, they do what their players do best," Billick said on a conference call. "Certainly, Andy Reid has morphed that offense around Patrick Mahomes. He's been able to adapt exactly to the talents. 

"Bruce Arians is the same way, the things that he's doing with the experience of Tom Brady and the big play presence on the outside. They adapt, specifically to the type of players that they have around them."

After starting out in the NFL in a number of roles with Green Bay, Reid had success in charge of the Philadelphia Eagles – he remains top of their all-time list for wins - without ever managing to secure the franchise a first Super Bowl. The narrative of coming up short in the postseason continued in Kansas City, but eventually – thanks to a fourth-quarter comeback – he got over the hump.   

The Super Bowl triumph in 2020 ended any suggestion that Reid's Hall-of-Fame career required a ring for validation. Since then, he has appeared to be playing with house money.   

Depending on what unfolds on the field this weekend, the fourth-down call against the Cleveland Browns may well remain the lasting memory of this playoff run for Kansas City. Minus Mahomes and defending a five-point lead late in the game, a hard count by stand-in quarterback Chad Henne seemed the prelude to a punt. 

Hold what you have and hope to hang on, right? Not for Reid, who went all in. 

Knowing a first down would seal victory and a place in the AFC Championship Game, he allowed Henne to snap the ball while in the shotgun, wait briefly for Tyreek Hill to break on his shallow route and then fire in a pass to the wide receiver. The risk was great, but so too was the reward.  

Had Arians been in a similar situation, he too may have gone for it. A cancer survivor, the 68-year-old is known for his "No risk it, no biscuit" way of thinking, both in terms of his coaching philosophy and life in general.  

The Buccaneers certainly pushed all their chips into the middle of the table for this season, too. The seemingly unthinkable became reality when Brady walked away from the New England Patriots to start afresh in 'Tompa Bay', a move that tempted the retired Rob Gronkowski to put away the wrestling pants and don the football pads again. 

There were teething problems, as to be expected, yet Arians always insisted the team was learning on the fly, adjusting from week to week with a new starting quarterback – even one as good as Brady. 

However, the Bucs have been on a roll since their bye week. Four straight victories in which they amassed a combined total of 148 points to finish the regular season were followed by playoff triumphs on the road in Washington, New Orleans – who had previously beaten them twice – and then finally Green Bay.  

Arians went close to making a Super Bowl in his previous head coaching job in Arizona, losing in the NFC Championship Game. When he left in 2017, his future appeared to be in television working as an analyst.  

Then the Bucs called. 

Convincing both him and his wife Christine that it was the right move, he made a comeback. The arrival of Brady for his second season in charge changed the timeline, requiring Arians to use his man-management skills - "I'm not a father figure. I'm the cool uncle you'd like to have a drink with" - to bring it all together. 

The presence of a great quarterback on the rosters for both franchises should not overshadow what their coaches have achieved. Arians has ironed out the wrinkles in time while allowing Brady to turn back the clock in terms of airing the ball out. Reid's biggest issue in the regular season seemed to be finding a suitable face mask to wear, yet he could still see how to put Mahomes in situations that allowed him to dazzle.  

Arians and Reid have prevailed in hugely different circumstances but with the same positive outlook. Despite all that is on the line, you should expect both to be ready to gamble in the bid for glory. 

There are always fascinating storylines around a Super Bowl clash, but Tom Brady facing off against his heir apparent Patrick Mahomes might be as good as it gets.

Six-time Super Bowl champion Brady will look to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers become the first team to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy on home soil this Sunday, in his first season with the team.

To do that the Bucs must find a way to derail the Chiefs, who are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since Brady and the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.

Stats Perform's NFL research analyst Ethan Cooperson will be in the commentary booth as part of CBS' broadcast crew with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo in Florida.

He has outlined the history behind the longest-ever NFL streak without a repeat Super Bowl winner.

Cooperson told Stats Perform News: "So we have the drought without a repeat Super Bowl champion goes back to the Patriots of '03 and '04. 

"It's actually the longest drought in NFL history, going back to the days before there were even postseason games.

"Then, the champion was just determined by the league standings before there were Super Bowls and there was just an NFL championship game and then later an AFL championship game."

Cooperson has detailed the reasons why Mahomes is likely to help the Chiefs end the long drought, even if it does not happen this year.
 
Mahomes' legacy is winning

The 2018 NFL MVP and 2019 Super Bowl MVP is well known for his spectacular plays and outrageous throws from all angles.

Cooperson, though, points to his incredible win-loss record as something which has him on a historic trajectory.

While such a win rate is tough to sustain, if anyone can, it is Mahomes.

"Keep in mind Brady has never won back to back Super Bowl MVPs, Mahomes has a chance to do that," Cooperson said to Stats Perform News.

"No one has done that since Terry Bradshaw over 40 years ago. 

"To achieve what Mahomes has achieved at his age is phenomenal. There is no quarterback who has started two Super Bowls and won an MVP while 25 or younger. 

"The only player to do that is [Dallas Cowboys running back] Emmitt Smith. 

"Mahomes is now going to be the first quarterback - for him to have done this at such a young age and to have the success is phenomenal. 

"He has a 44-9 record, so that's an .830 winning percentage, regular season and playoffs. That's the highest all time for any quarterback with at least 50 starts, Otto Graham is second and Brady is third. 

"So the legacy, as much as we love the aerial display, the amazing throws that he makes, the improbable throws that he makes, Mahomes is a phenomenal winner. 

"We can't overlook that he's winning games at a higher rate than Brady. I don't know if that kind of an .800 winning percentage is sustainable, but there's no reason right now why it shouldn't be."

Chiefs are starting a new cycle

The rise of analytics is changing the NFL – just look at how many more teams are going for it on fourth down these days.

Another change resulting from data is a better understanding of the value of passing the ball, as opposed to the traditional strategy of establishing the run or having a balanced offense.

Even a middling passing offense is more efficient on a play-by-play basis than a league-leading rushing attack.

That trend suits the league-leading passing attack - with Mahomes and some amazing Chiefs firepower deployed by Andy Reid - perfectly.

Cooperson continued: "It's worth noting there's been one team to lead the league in passing offense and win the Super Bowl in that same season. 

"That's what the Chiefs are trying to do, it has only happened once in the Super Bowl era with the 1999 Rams. 

"This is again perhaps a different era now that a team that's maybe dominant on offense and dominant in the passing game is going to be an elite team.

"This is shifting now and Mahomes is bringing in this new era of passing teams winning.

"We are [near a Chiefs dynasty] and it's interesting, though, that the Patriots dynasty, if we call it that for all those years, was not built around a slew of Hall of Fame players. 

"It was really Brady and an ever-changing, supporting cast, though Rob Gronkowski came in in the last decade and he's a bit of an exception to that. 

"The Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 70s, they won four Super Bowls in six seasons, Hall of Fame players at almost every position. 

"The Patriots of today were nothing like that. The Chiefs are a little bit more based on star power because they've got a superstar tight end in Travis Kelce, a star wide receiver in Tyreek Hill. 

"It's a different type of team but it's a team that's going to be built to score points for many years to come."

The league of the quarterbacks

It has always been hard for NFL teams to create a dynasty due to the draft system, salary cap and free agency constantly rearranging the pecking order.

However, with the modern game now more reliant on quarterback play more than ever before, having a dominant player at the position like Mahomes moves the needle to a greater degree than it may have done even five or 10 years ago.

Cooperson added: "So clearly, in this age of free agency, with players changing teams, it's difficult to keep teams together and to sustain excellence. 

"I do, however, think that the way the league has become quarterback dominated that so much of the game now is based on having a great QB and then building and building your team from there. 

"I don't know that it's going to stay this difficult to repeat as champions, certainly. You would think that any team with Mahomes for the next 10, 15 years is going to be at least a contender to repeat. 

"I don't think this drought will continue. It might continue this year, but I think that soon enough we'll see a team, very possibly the Chiefs, repeating as Super Bowl champions. 

"Since the Patriots repeated in the '03 and '04 seasons, only two defending champs have even reached the Super Bowl. 

"It was the Seattle Seahawks, who lost to the Patriots, and the Patriots who lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. Both of those teams led the game in the fourth quarter but could not hold on. 

"So only two teams since then have even gotten this far, it's just been such a tall order over these years. 

"The Patriots have had excellent teams that could not repeat as champions. I don't doubt, though, that Mahomes will be the guy to do it, and if not this time, then maybe soon after this."

Do you believe in unlikelihoods?  

It's unclear how familiar Patrick Mahomes is with the underdog story of 'Average Joes' in the movie 'Dodgeball', but reflecting on his first three seasons as a starter in the NFL, it's fair to assume his answer to the question posed by fictitious ESPN anchor Cotton McKnight would be an emphatic yes. 

Since the Kansas City Chiefs installed Mahomes as the starter in 2018, he has turned achieving the unlikely into an art form. 

From a league MVP award in his first season, three double-digit playoff comebacks and a Super Bowl MVP in his second, Mahomes has defined himself as a quarterback for whom the seemingly impossible always appears well within his grasp.

On Sunday, he will attempt to become the first quarterback to win back-to-back Super Bowls since his Tampa Bay Buccaneers counterpart Tom Brady achieved the feat at the end of the 2004 season. 

It would be a fitting way to cap arguably the most remarkable three-season spell by any quarterback in NFL history, and here we examine the numbers behind his stratospheric rise.

Pre-draft concerns prove inaccurate

When Mahomes entered the NFL Draft, he was viewed as a prospect with phenomenal upside but one whose unorthodox, gunslinging style risked inefficiency and turnovers at the highest level. 

The Chiefs were undeterred by such concerns, however, taking a significant gamble in trading up from 27th in the first round to select the former Texas Tech standout with the 10th overall pick.

It is a move that has been overwhelmingly justified, with any doubts over his accuracy completely quashed.

Mahomes ranks first in completions all-time among quarterbacks in their first three full seasons (which is defined as a campaign where a quarterback attempts at least 100 passes). He has connected on 1,092 of his passes, doing so at a completion percentage of 66.1 that, using the same criteria, puts him sixth all-time. 

Only five quarterbacks have hit their team-mates more consistently in their first three full seasons, but there are none that have done a better job of avoiding turnovers and putting the ball in the end zone.

Prolific and protective of the ball

First in passing yards among quarterbacks in their first three full seasons with 13,868, Mahomes also leads the way in touchdown passes. 

He has 114 TD throws through the air while being intercepted on just 23 occasions during that same span. That disparity gives him the all-time lead with a touchdown to interception ratio of 4.96.

What is even more impressive is that Mahomes has largely succeeded in taking care of the ball despite being very aggressive in pushing it downfield. 

His yards per attempt average of 8.39 is fifth all-time among signal-callers in their first three full seasons, while for his career he is the all-time leader in adjusted net yards per attempt (8.49). 

The combination of Mahomes' high yards per attempt, impressive completion percentage and unmatched TD-INT ratio has left him without an equal in the most widely used measure of quarterback performance.

Unprecedented early success

Passer rating is viewed by many as an imperfect metric when it comes to analysing quarterbacks, but the fact Mahomes is the all-time leader with a rating of 109.3 across his first three full seasons is illustrative of the utter dominance he has enjoyed to this point. 

Mahomes also boasts the highest career passer rating in the regular season (108.7) and the postseason (109.8) and it is his incredible level of performance in the playoffs that has ensured he will be the first quarterback in the NFL to start multiple Super Bowls aged 25 or younger. 

Should the Chiefs prevail, the 25-year-old will break Brady's record and become the youngest starting quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls, Brady having claimed his second at the age of 26. 

It was a scenario few envisaged when he left Texas Tech, but the Chiefs had the foresight to understand he was a talent that could elevate them to the league's elite.

The devastating impact and speed with which he did so was what took the league by surprise, yet few are now shocked by the exploits of a player who makes the amazing look startlingly routine. 

There is perhaps no greater sign of the aura Mahomes has quickly established than the fact he and the Chiefs are favoured to deny the man regarded as the greatest quarterback ever a seventh Lombardi Trophy. 

Super Bowl LV will not be an underdog story for Mahomes and there are unlikely to be many rubbing their eyes in disbelief on Sunday if, as he has done so often, he delivers yet another tale of the unexpected.

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