The Weeknd performs with dancers in face bandages at Super Bowl 2021 halftime show

Super Bowl 2021 result: Tom Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers triumph over Kansas City Chiefs

The Bucs claimed a second Vince Lombardi trophy in franchise history as quarterback Tom Brady secured a record-extending seventh Super Bowl title

Ben Burrows@benburrows_
Monday 08 February 2021 04:31
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When Tom Brady finally decided to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last spring, general manager Jason Licht had just one question for him.

"There's one other thing here. It's a small thing, but maybe a big thing. We have a No 12 on our team and he's pretty good - Chris Godwin. What are you thinking about that?"

"Oh, he's a great player," Brady replied. "I'm not going to take his number. You know what number I'm thinking of? I'm thinking of taking maybe No 7. Is that available?'"

Why number seven, Licht asked. "To go after that seventh Super Bowl."

Brady stuck with 12 but a seventh Super Bowl is now a reality after a storybook play-off run on the road through the NFC that ended, for the first time ever, with a home game and a home win in American football's biggest game.

The 43-year-old was at his fantastic and faultless best, taking everything the Kansas City Chiefs defence threw at him in his stride, finding old New England Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski for two scores, on the way to a 31-9 win and a seventh Vince Lombardi trophy, two more than any other player in the history of the sport.

A match-up between two of the best offenses in football started in inauspicious fashion with three punts as both star quarterbacks struggled to settle. Patrick Mahomes was first to find his groove putting KC on the board with three before Brady, a veteran of 10 Super Bowls, finally ticked off one of the few slices of history he hadn't managed on this biggest of stages before.

In his nine previous visits to the mountain top, Brady had never thrown a first-quarter touchdown pass. That finally changed here as he found Gronkowski on the easiest of swing passes to the left to take the lead, a 13th postseason connection between the pair. Yes, another record.

It wasn't long before it was 14. After the Chiefs stiffened on fourth down on the one-yard line, a first such stop all season, Brady was soon right back in scoring range, although this time had Kansas City to thank.

Three costly penalties, including a defensive holding call to negate a Tyrann Mathieu third-down interception, extended a drive that ended with another dart to Gronkowski in the back of the end zone. Two scores, two spikes.

A further Harrison Butker field goal narrowed the gap before some more Brady magic on the eve of the half.

A Brady bomb to Scotty Miller just before the break killed off the Green Bay Packers a fortnight ago in the NFC Championship game. This time it was Antonio Brown, beating Mathieu off the line of scrimmage, to snag a third touchdown toss of the opening period with just six seconds left on the clock.

Having trailed by double digits in all three of KC's postseason games a year ago, another large deficit was unlikely to have daunted Mahomes as he stewed on it during the interval. But any thought of more comeback heroics were put firmly on ice shortly after the intermission.

Another of this new look Tampa's fresh additions this season, Leonard Fournette, capped a big night of his own with Ali Marpet springing him for a 27-yard saunter into the end zone. The running back was cut by Jacksonville before the season, but like so many under Brady's wing this year has been reborn.

To put this win entirely on Brady's shoulders would be to underplay the superb performance of the Tampa defence, however.

Never before had the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown on their first seven possessions of a game with Mahomes under centre. The Bucs took that, and under the expert guidance of Todd Bowles, pitched a shutout with the secondary playing sticky coverage to keep Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill largely in check and the front seven - led by the relentless Shaq Barrett - hassling and harassing Mahomes within an inch of his life from the get go.

He tried in vain to rally, as any champion of his calibre would, but after two failed fourth-down conversions his and his team's race was run, a first double-digit loss of his professional career absorbed in the biggest game of all. There would be no defence of the title, only another layer to the greatest to ever do it's legacy.

There will be no retirement for him, no walk off into the sunset - Brady wants to win too much for that. Perhaps there will be another jersey number instead.

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