Conference Champs and Super Bowl Predicitions By John Brecko
Image Credit: Clutchpoints
This past Sunday started off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going up against the Green Bay Packers. Tom Brady looked to win and make his tenth Super Bowl appearance. Aaron Rodgers looked to appear in his first Super Bowl in ten years.
Aaron Rodgers never appeared in an NFC Championship that took place in Lambeau Field until this past Sunday. Despite making it to four NFC Championship games prior and even winning the one Super Bowl that he was involved in, finally playing in Green Bay was not enough for Aaron Rodgers to overcome Tom Brady. Aaron Rodgers playing the best football of his entire career in the 2020 NFL season was not enough to overcome Tom Brady when a conference championship was on the line.
After this game, as great as Aaron Rodgers is, he may start to be looked at as a quarterback who cannot win his most important games (with the exception of Super Bowl 45 of course). He is now 1-4 in NFC Championship games, with his only win being in that 2010 season where he won a Super Bowl. He has made it to the conference championship four times since then and has lost on all four occasions.
Tom Brady may not be the best regular season player of all time (Rodgers has proven he is better in those games), but when a championship is on the line, Tom Brady has proven there is no one better and there is no one more clutch than he is. In his first year as a starter with the New England Patriots, he won a Super Bowl. He would go on to appear in eight more Super Bowls and win five more of them. In his first year with a new team for the first time in his career, he is going back to the Super Bowl.
Tom Brady already had the record for being the oldest quarterback to ever play in a Super Bowl when he went to Super Bowl 53 with the New England Patriots. He was 41 years old at the time. He is going back to the Super Bowl again at the age of 43.
In his first year as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Tom Brady has also made history along with the Bucs. Tampa Bay is the first team in NFL history to ever host a Super Bowl from their home stadium. This is also the first year the Bucs have made the playoffs since the 2002 NFL season. They won the Super Bowl that year against the Oakland Raiders by a score of 48-21. This was the organization’s only Super Bowl appearance and their only Super Bowl victory.
They go back to face the Kansas City Chiefs, who are the current defending Super Bowl Champions and the team that looks to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots won Super Bowls 38 and 39 and the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons.
Patrick Mahomes has shown he can be just as clutch as Tom Brady during his playoff games. In the three playoff games the Chiefs played in last season in route to winning Super Bowl 54, they were losing by double digits in each of those three games at one point. However, the Chiefs would come back and win all three of these games. These games included being down 24-0 to the Houston Texans and coming back to win by 20 points and being down by 10 points in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl to the San Francisco 49ers and winning convincingly by a score of 31-20.
Mahomes’s overall record in the playoffs after the win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday is 6-1. His only loss was in the 2018 AFC Championship to Tom Brady.
Patrick Mahomes took the team down the field in that game not once, but twice, including one drive where he managed to put the Chiefs in field goal range. That drive started with less than forty seconds left in regulation. The game went into overtime, the Patriots one the coin toss and Mahomes never had a chance to take his team to the Super Bowl that year because of it.
He has a chance to prove he can overcome the G.O.A.T. when NFL’s biggest trophy is on the line and redeem his only playoff loss of his entire career.
There is an argument to be made that Tom Brady is playing more clutch than he ever has in the twilight years of his NFL career. This is his sixth Super Bowl in nine years. He made to four Super Bowls in seven years in the early stretch of his career. The only Super Bowls he has not been to in this nine year stretch are 48, 50 and last year.
However, in my opinion, there has never been a more talented player in NFL history than Patrick Mahomes. If anyone can overcome how clutch Tom Brady has been in his NFL career, it is someone with his level of talent. Plus, he has not won all nine previous Super Bowls, which means defeating Tom Brady in this game is not impossible.
In fact, the quarterbacks that have beaten Tom Brady in the Super Bowls he has lost were Nick Foles and Eli Manning twice. The quarterbacks Tom Brady has beaten include Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme Donovan McNabb, Russell Wilson and Jared Goff. Some of those names are not exactly Hall of Famers, but the quarterbacks Brady has overcome are more prestigious than quarterbacks he has lost to.
In the end, Patrick Mahomes has taken every team’s best shot and won, especially this season and I believe he will overcome Tom Brady and become the first quarterback to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the man Mahomes has to overcome.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL, especially on offense, but they will not overcome the explosive offense of Kansas City, even on their home turf in NFL biggest game of all. Andy Reid will go from the greatest coach in NFL history to never win a Super Bowl to winning in back-to-back years with the team closest to becoming a “super team” in the NFL.