It’s now down to just two teams in the NFL, both ready to fight in Super Bowl LV to determine who will be crowned champions of an odd, but successful, season. The Green Bay Packers hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday while the Buffalo Bills traveled to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the Conference Championship Games and, although the inclement weather that had been forecast never appeared, all four teams created some storms of their own. In two weeks, football fans will gather around the TV to watch two of the greatest quarterbacks in the league battle it out.
The Buccaneers were underdogs heading into the NFC Championship Game yesterday, with the Packers getting only a slight advantage. However, quarterback Tom Brady continues to show why he could be the greatest NFL passer of all time, leading a methodic offense that chipped away at Green Bay’s defense from the start of the game. Brady, at 43 years old, is headed to a Super Bowl for his tenth time after giving the Packers a 31-26 loss yesterday and will add yet another record to his long list of accomplishments. Tampa Bay is going to be the first NFL team ever to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium.
For all his talent and skills, Brady can’t take all of the credit for yesterday’s win. He may have thrown for 280 yards and three touchdowns, but if it weren’t for the abilities of players like running back Leonard Fournette, with his Harry Houdini-style escapes, Brady wouldn’t have gotten very far. As it was, the Packers started to mount a comeback in the second half, forcing Brady to throw three interceptions as Green Bay and quarterback Aaron Rodgers added three touchdowns to their score. It wasn’t enough, though, and the Bucs’ defense did its job and held off the rally.
There was a time that NFL fans doubted whether or not the Chiefs would have another Super Bowl appearance. But then, the 2020 season started and all doubts were removed. Kansas City dominated almost every game since Week 1 and, with some impressive offensive moves guided by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, secured a return to the big game yesterday after defeating the Bills.
The Bills got off to a great start, shutting out the Chiefs in the first half. However, as Mahomes and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid have shown time and again, Kansas City knows how to make adjustments to keep things rolling. From the beginning of the second quarter, the Chiefs were in command and didn’t let up until the game had begun to approach its final minutes. The Bills, trailing by as much as 23 points at one time, were relegated to admitting defeat while still putting on a good show, but they knew that they wouldn’t be able to bounce back enough to make up the difference. They were most likely happy when the clock expired, even though they had taken a 38-24 loss.
The weekend’s matchups were overwhelmingly popular with sports gamblers, and the U.S. market is getting much more active. According to data compiled by GeoComply, there were around 30 million wagers recorded in 17 online sports gambling states and the District of Columbia. That, fueled in no small part by an expansion of the legal U.S. sports gambling industry in 2020, was an increase of 260% on what had been seen a year ago.