Super Bowl LV is now in the books and, with it, a number of firsts. The Big Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered an amazing matchup that had football fans and gamblers pacing with anticipation, but definitely did not go the way most people expected. With the NFL season having survived COVID-19, it’s now time to look ahead and try to get ready for a new era of football that will see much greater sports gambling.
The Chiefs were viewed as the favorites to win, but were only given three points by oddsmakers. That should have indicated a tight competition and a battle between two of the best quarterbacks in the league, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. However, what looks good on paper doesn’t always work when put into play, and Brady and the Bucs had no problem rolling over Mahomes and the Chiefs, completely controlling the game on both offense and defense.
The Chiefs only managed to score a field goal in each of the first three quarters as Mahomes was repeatedly forced out of the pocket and made to scramble. However, he showed why he deserved to be in the Super Bowl, handling the pressure like a long-time veteran. Despite continued problems, Mahomes still managed to put up more passing yards than Brady, throwing for 243 yards against his rival’s 201.
It wasn’t good enough, though. The Bucs, the first team to ever play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium, dominated from start to finish. Brady became the first quarterback to pick up seven Super Bowl titles and the first to win a fifth MVP award (the only player with five) as he led his Bucs to their first Super Bowl win since the 2002 season. It was also the first Super Bowl in which the NFL had seen the presence of a female referee, with Sarah Thomas on the field as the down judge. In a couple more firsts for the NFL, Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl title – Javadifar as the Bucs’ assistant strength and conditioning coach and Locust is the team’s defensive line assistant.
A peculiar stat presented prior to the game showed that Brady has a history of not stepping up in the first quarter of Super Bowls. He brought that to an end yesterday as he marched down the field to give the Bucs a first-quarter touchdown (his first first-quarter Super Bowl TD) in response to a Chiefs field goal. From there, the Bucs were on a mission and nothing could stand in the way. Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette were favorite targets for Brady as they worked their magic, rolling over defenders and punching through lines every chance they got.
The Bucs would go on to put up 14 points in the second quarter, countered by only a field goal, and another ten in the third quarter, with just another Chiefs field goal in response. By this point, the Chiefs had been beaten into submission, down 31-9, and the only thing they could do was hang on until the clock ran out. Both teams seemed to understand that the game was pretty much over, and neither put any points on the board in the last quarter.
The underdog Bucs had defied the odds and won the Super Bowl, keeping the Chiefs from claiming their second consecutive victory. It was a sweet victory for Brady and Tampa Bay and a sign that, maybe, Bill Belichick was a little too premature in letting the GOAT leave the New England Patriots last year. Sports gamblers appreciate the decision, though, with a few who risked big money on the Bucs taking home nice paydays. According to what sportsbooks have reported, more than 80% of the money went to the Chiefs, but several gamblers put up big money on the Bucs. One was the all-too-famous Mattress Mack, the Texas entrepreneur known for making huge bets. He has lost several million dollars on sports bets over the past couple of years, but found some redemption yesterday. Mattress Mack, whose real name is Jim McIngvale, put up $3.46 million on the Bucs to cover the spread and, after a lopsided game that clearly favored Tampa Bay, recuperated his investment and padded it by another $2.72 million.