Sports

Seventh heaven for Tom Brady in Super Bowl LV

Quarterback, 43, wins his seventh Super Bowl and his first with the Buccaneers

After already proving his move to Florida was not the start on retirement that some might have suspected, Tom Brady showed yesterday morning (Singapore time) just how much he had left in the tank, earning Most Valuable Player (MVP) honours in Super Bowl LV.

The helmet might have been different, but the vintage performance when it counted most definitely was the same.

The first-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback helped dispatch the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 on his home field by throwing for a modest 201 yards, while completing 21-of-29 passes with three touchdowns.

Brady's seventh Super Bowl title came with his fifth MVP award. "They're all special; it's been an amazing year," he said.

"Just really proud of all the guys, proud of all the coaches, the effort we put in tonight. If you want to get this far, you've got to get the job done. We did it."

A sixth MVP still remains a possibility.

Brady might be turning 44 in August, but he was feeling far too spirited during the post-game celebration to think this might end any time soon.

"Yeah, we're coming back," he said after the game.

The Bucs' victory already looked imminent in the first half.

Brady threw his second touchdown pass to old friend Rob Gronkowski by the midway point of the second quarter for a 14-3 lead. He added another TD pass to Antonio Brown just before half-time.

"Big-time players making big-time plays," Brady said. "Love what they added to the team. Gronk is an unbelievable player, teammate, talent, leader."

He knew what to do from there. His methodical and error-free second half mirrored his season-long performance for a franchise that got everything they could have ever hoped for from the newcomer.

"He's a winner, man," Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said. "That's all you can say. He brought a winning mentality to a really talented football team that didn't know how to win."

The 25,000 spectators in attendance - a restricted number due to the Covid-19 pandemic - bore witness to Brady becoming the second player to win a Super Bowl for two franchises, following the lead of Peyton Manning. Some wondered if he could win it all again at 43.

The way Brady saw it, 20 years of experience over 301 regular-season games and 44 play-off games offered him the knowledge to navigate the unknowns on the NFL's biggest stage.

He worked on the clock as much, if not more than, the Chiefs' defence in the second half.

The Buccaneers ran the ball 19 times after half-time and the defence brought it home from there, earning praise from Brady for shutting down Patrick Mahomes and restricting the Chiefs to just nine points.

"He kept faith in us this whole season," said Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette, who ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. "He's the GOAT (Greatest of all time). I will tell my kids I played with that man. He's the greatest."

More accolades could be on the way, but Brady declined to say what it all means in the big picture. "We've been grinding pretty hard," he said, when asked about his legacy. "I haven't had a lot of time to think about things like that." - REUTERS

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