Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Win Is a Familiar End to an Odd Season


Mahomes had won 16 of 17 starts this season, but he and his team collapsed amid a deluge of penalties, drops and pressure from the Buccaneers, who, exploiting the Chiefs’ diluted offensive line, reveled in it, inflicted it, even embraced it. At halftime, Mahomes had 67 yards, and Kansas City trailed by 15 points, tied for its largest deficit of the Mahomes era, according to Pro Football Reference.The only other time Mahomes’s team had been behind by that many points across his three seasons as Kansas City’s starter occurred in October 2018, in a loss to Brady at New England. Brady spent two decades there, where he and Belichick were the immovable objects of the postseason, winning six championships as the most famous quarterback-coach tandem of this generation.What Belichick must have been wondering Sunday night as New England wept, watching Brady throw each touchdown to a former Patriots teammate — two to Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement for the chance to play again with his old pal, and one, just before halftime, to Antonio Brown.Brady’s time in New England will forever be a part of him, but now he wears a skull and crossbones on his helmet, can dress in shorts to practice in the winter and reports to a 68-year-old coach, Bruce Arians, who, coming out of retirement to coach the Buccaneers, represents the stylistic antithesis of Belichick. When asked recently about pursuing Brady during the off-season, Arians responded with a rhetorical question: “Do you sit and live in a closet trying to be safe, or are you going to have some fun?”Brady’s arrival in Tampa reflected a certain harmonic convergence, a confluence of foresight, audacity and serendipity largely alien to the Buccaneers, who hadn’t won a playoff game since capturing their only title in the 2002 season. Their quest was nicknamed Operation Shoeless Joe Jackson, a wink to the prophesy from the movie “Field of Dreams”: “If you build it, they will come.” Brady valued how General Manager Jason Licht had assembled a team that solved problems around him instead of asking him to solve them himself.

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