Rick Zamperin: NFL couldn’t have wished for a better Super Bowl matchup

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reacts after winning the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 to advance to the Super Bowl. AP Photo/Matt Ludtke

The Super Bowl LV matchup between Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs is the best the NFL could have hoped for.

In a season that was tested by the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest game on the football calendar will pit two players who are the best at their craft against each other along with a multitude of other fantastic storylines.

We already know that Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and he proved it again on Sunday in leading the Bucs to a 31-26 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game.

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The 43-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback was far from perfect in his record breaking 14th conference championship game. Brady threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also intercepted on three consecutive drives in the third and fourth quarters.

When it counted the most, however, Brady delivered. Like when he hit Scotty Miller for a 39-yard touchdown just before halftime, a key score that gave Tampa Bay a jolt of confidence in one of the toughest stadiums to play in as a visiting team.

Brady is not only going to play in his record 10th Super Bowl, which is four more than Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers combined, the Buccaneers will be the first team in history to host the Super Bowl and play in the game.

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“A home Super Bowl for the first time in NFL history, I think puts a lot of cool things in perspective,” Brady said after Sunday’s win. “Any time you’re the first doing something it’s usually a pretty good thing.”

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Brady is the fourth QB ever to lead two different franchises to the Super Bowl (New England, Tampa Bay), joining Peyton Manning (Indianapolis, Denver), Kurt Warner (St. Louis, Arizona) and Craig Morton (Dallas, Denver).

Some players never get a chance to play in one Super Bowl, Brady will be playing in the big game for the fourth time in five years. Simply incredible.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is the favourite to win the MVP award this season after leading the NFL with a 121.5 QB rating, a 70.7 completion percentage, and a career high 48 touchdown passes, but at age 37, he would gladly trade that trophy for a chance to win another championship.

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In just his third season as Kansas City’s starting quarterback, Mahomes is going to play in his second consecutive Super Bowl.

The 25-year-old Mahomes, who threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, won his first ring last year and was named Super Bowl MVP when he helped K.C. end its 50-year long championship drought.

After spotting the Bills an early 9-0 lead, Mahomes and the Chiefs took over in the second quarter by scoring three straight touchdown drives and added 17 more points in the second half to swiftly put an end Buffalo’s best season in 26 years.

Kansas City will also try to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since the Brady-led New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005.

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Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida will pit the GOAT against the most dangerous QB in the game today and will feature the defending champions against the first ‘home’ team in the final of the Super Bowl era.

We have to wait another two weeks to watch the Super Bowl, but it should be well worth it.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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