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Marty Schottenheimer, 77, Winning N.F.L. Coach With Four Teams, Dies


After working in real estate following his retirement as a player, he turned to coaching in the N.F.L. He spent two years as the Giants’ linebacker coach and then was their defensive coordinator in 1977. He coached the Detroit Lions’ linebackers for two seasons after that before becoming the Browns’ defensive coordinator. He succeeded Sam Rutigliano as the Browns’ head coach midway through the 1984 season, when they were 1-7.Relying on a power ground game featuring Earnest Bynar and Kevin Mack and the passing of Bernie Kosar, Schottenheimer took the Browns to the American Football Conference final following the 1986 and 1987 seasons, but they lost to the Denver Broncos each time in their bid to reach the Super Bowl.The first time, the quarterback John Elway led the Broncos to a tying touchdown after they took over on their 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter, the sequence that became known as “the drive.” The Browns were then beaten on a field goal in overtime.The next year, in a play that became known as “the fumble,” Bynar was stripped of the football just as he was about to cross the goal line for a potential game-tying touchdown with about a minute left. The Broncos took a safety and ran out the clock for a 38-33 victory.Schottenheimer’s 1988 Browns team went 10-6 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. At the time, his brother, Kurt, was the team’s defensive coordinator, and when the owner, Art Modell, insisted that he reassign his brother, Schottenheimer quit. He had also resisted Modell’s demand that he hire a new offensive coordinator, having filled that role himself when it become vacant that year.Schottenheimer was the first to admit that he was strong-willed.“Maybe I thought there was a pot of gold somewhere else to be found,” he said in his memoir, “Martyball!” (2012), written with Jeff Flanagan. “But I was stubborn, very stubborn back then. I’ve always been stubborn but much more so when I decided to leave Cleveland.”He then began a 10-season run as coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, taking them to the playoffs seven times.

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The Crowd, the Quiet, the Cutouts: A Strange Year at the Super Bowl


Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.On Sunday, Benjamin Hoffman was at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., covering his 12th Super Bowl for The New York Times. His first, in 2009, was also in Tampa, But that might be where the similarities stop. Attendance for the game, a lopsided 31-9 win by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Kansas City Chiefs, was limited to a third of the stadium’s capacity, and the normal week of mega events was minimized to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. In a series of emails, Mr. Hoffman, a senior editor on the Sports desk, shared what the game was like from up close. Here is that edited exchange.You’ve covered previous Super Bowls. Those were usually preceded by days of events that gave the game its oversize feeling. What was it like when you arrived in Tampa this year?The entire week felt considerably different. Instead of spending Monday through Friday in hotel conference rooms with players, we were at home talking to them on Zoom. I arrived in Tampa on Friday — typically when a Super Bowl city has reached a fever pitch — and found it to have the feel of much earlier in the week. The various signs of a Super Bowl being in town — the blocked-off streets, the pop-up vendors, the N.F.L. gear being worn everywhere — were there, but the crowds seemed much smaller, and the media gatherings were nonexistent.Did you miss having face-to-face interviews with players and coaches?I think they did the best they could with the Zoom access to players, but nothing can really replicate the middle of a Super Bowl week when some of the media has cleared out and you find yourself in a room of players who would love to talk about the game rather than the off-the-wall questions they’ve spent the first few days of the week answering. The remote access also limited our ability to bounce around between players. A lot of the organic reporting that happens at Super Bowls just by being around people and events was impossible.How was it inside a Super Bowl with limited attendance? Did your senses pick up on anything in a less-than-packed stadium?The second I walked in I could tell just how few people were going to be there because the stands were already full of the corrugated plastic cutouts of fans. The people who were allowed in were spaced out.At first, the regulations about masks and distancing were followed closely, but that waned as the game started. By the second quarter, fans were milling around, many of them maskless, and they were treating the game like a tailgate party, which was pretty heavily influenced by it being the home team playing.The way The Times covers big sporting events has evolved. Online, a live briefing is updated constantly. How has the way a journalist works during the game changed?The live coverage has made everything more immediate, moving up the timeline on everything we do. Dave Anderson, the legendary Times sports columnist, had a famous line when an editor called him mid-game to ask what he was writing about. He said something along the lines of “it hasn’t happened yet.” We can’t work with a strategy like that anymore. We were writing everything as it happened and doing our best to make sense of all of it. In some ways it’s a lot easier — you’re largely writing about what’s in front of you — but the most difficult thing is the nagging feeling that there is a more pulled-back analysis that you’d like to be able to do but you just don’t have the time. Ben Shpigel largely detached to do that analysis, allowing others to do the more immediate stuff.As you mentioned, the Buccaneers won playing in their stadium, the first time that ever happened. Did it feel like a home game?Right up until game time I would have insisted the crowd was around 50-50, as Chiefs fans were being plenty vocal and the teams’ color schemes are fairly similar. But once they started playing it was apparent that it was a Buccaneers crowd. Their touchdowns were greeted with thunderous cheers, and in moments of surprising silence — a stadium that is two-thirds empty can really get quiet — you could hear fans shouting insults at [Chiefs quarterback] Patrick Mahomes. It had to be strangest for the players, because it was the Super Bowl, but in many ways it felt almost like a preseason game.Maybe the N.F.L. had timing and a structural advantage on its side. There are fewer games and less travel, for example. But are you surprised the league was able to play its entire season?The league got in all 256 regular season games and every playoff game, but there were some major compromises along the way that I’m not sure other leagues would have been willing to make. The most extreme was Denver having to play a game with a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback, but there were other issues, like the Browns playing the Jets with no wide receivers and the Saints playing a game with just one running back. The Steelers, thanks to an outbreak on the Tennessee Titans, essentially played the entire season without a bye week. So while I’ll absolutely credit the N.F.L. with working hard to make the season happen, I think they have perhaps overstated how smoothly the whole thing went.

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At the Super Bowl, the N.F.L.’s Social Message Is Muddled


The N.F.L. likes to project power and precision. Sideline catches are scrutinized with zoom lenses, first downs are measured in inches and Air Force jets fly over stadiums just as “The Star-Spangled Banner” reaches its peak.But when it comes to topics like race, health and safety, the league’s certainty dissolves into a series of mixed messages.That was the case on Sunday at the Super Bowl, the N.F.L.’s crowning game, which is typically watched by about 100 million viewers in the United States. The championship game provides the league a massive platform each year to promote itself as America’s corporate do-gooder, with the best interests of its enormous fan base at heart. That was harder to do this year as the country remained roiled by the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has exacerbated festering political division and racial unrest, issues the N.FL. had to plow past to complete its season.On Sunday, the N.F.L. trumpeted its support for the fight against social injustice. The national anthem was performed by two musicians, one Black and one white. The poet Amanda Gorman, who wowed the country with her recitation at President Biden’s inauguration, read an ode to the three honorary captains — a teacher, a nurse and a soldier — frontline workers in different fields. The TV announcers spoke often of the work that the league and the players have done to battle racial inequities.Yet, moments later, when the Kansas City Chiefs took the field, the N.F.L. played a recording in the reduced capacity stadium of the made-up war cry that is a team custom. The prompt got fans to swing their arms in a “tomahawk chop,” an act that many find disrespectful and a perpetuation of racist stereotypes of the nation’s first people. Last week, the Kansas City Indian Center, a social service agency, put up two billboards in the city that read, ‘Change the name and stop the chop!”“At the start of the game it was all unify, unify, unify, and then there’s this racist chant,” said Louis Moore, an associate professor of history at Grand Valley State University who studies connections between race and sports. “Eight months after George Floyd, and you’ve done all this stuff, letting players put phrases on the backs of their helmets, giving workers a paid holiday for Juneteenth. They are putting a corporate Band-Aid on a problem instead of dealing with it.”Moore pointed to other inconvenient realities that were either dismissed, ignored or obscured by the relentless messaging.There was scant mention of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has not played since the 2016 season, when he began kneeling during the national anthem to shine a light on police brutality.That led to a sharp, viral rebuke on Twitter from the singer Mariah Carey.There was little talk of the league’s abysmal record hiring people of color as head coaches and general managers even as television cameras showed the Chiefs’ successful offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, who is Black and has been unable to land a head coaching position in multiple hiring cycles.Before the game, CBS Sports showed a segment that featured Viola Davis, the Academy Award-winning actress, saluting Kenny Washington, a Black player who in 1946 reintegrated the N.F.L., which had an unofficial color barrier for 13 years.Yet there was no discussion of a lawsuit brought by two former N.F.L. players who accuse the league of rigging the concussion settlement to make it harder for Black players to receive payments.The league spent considerable time lauding nurses and other health care workers on the front lines who have been helping fight the coronavirus. It had invited 7,500 vaccinated workers to the game, a signal to Americans that if you, too, get inoculated, you will be able to safely attend big events like the Super Bowl.Not discussed was that just hosting the Super Bowl could lead to a spike in the number of infections. Sure, the N.F.L. provided fans at the game with face masks and hand sanitizer, but little if any contact tracing was done to monitor exposure. Tracking infected fans will be made all the more difficult as people return to their homes in all corners of the country.The Super Bowl, American sports’ biggest party, is not confined to TV and phone screens. The week of events leading up to the game was a magnet for tens of thousands of fans who attended parties or flocked to Tampa’s bars and restaurants, often unmasked. In the aftermath of the home team’s victory, mask-less revelers took to the streets of Tampa, an utterly predictable scene that has followed other major championships. Many of the people who celebrated without regard to social distancing or other guidelines will expose others to the virus as they travel home to all corners of the country.For all the N.F.L.’s feel-good words and gestures to this moment in American history at the Super Bowl, and its attempts to use football to try to bring the nation together, the league’s carefully crafted message risked being muddled by its actions.

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Britt Reid, Son of Chiefs Coach, Drank Alcohol Ahead of Car Crash


Britt Reid, the outside linebackers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs and a son of the head coach, Andy Reid, told police officers he had “two or three drinks” before he was involved in an automobile crash Thursday night that left a child with life-threatening injuries, according to a search warrant filed in Jackson County, Mo., circuit court.The crash occurred just days before the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, when the Chiefs, the reigning N.F.L. champions, played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs flew to Tampa on Saturday, but Britt Reid, 35, did not make the trip.According to the search warrant, an officer could smell “a moderate odor of alcoholic beverages” on Reid after the crash. The search warrant said the police sought to draw Reid’s blood and test it for alcohol and other controlled substances.On Friday, in a statement, the team confirmed that Reid had been involved in a crash, but provided no details. “We are in the process of gathering information, and we will have no further comment at this time,” the statement said.In response to an inquiry about a possible accident involving Britt Reid, a spokesman for the police department in Kansas City, Mo., said that a crash had occurred on Interstate 435, not far from the Chiefs’ training facility.The spokesman would not provide more details or identify anyone who was involved in the crash, citing a Missouri law that prohibits the police from releasing the names of people who have not been charged with a crime. But the details in the police incident report, such as the make and model of the cars involved and the description of what happened, matched the search warrant, which does name Reid.According to the police, a vehicle ran out of gas on a freeway entrance ramp less than a mile from Arrowhead Stadium. The driver stopped with his flashers on and called his cousins for help. When they arrived, the cousins parked in front of the disabled car and left their lights on, as the battery was dying in the disabled car.Reid entered the on-ramp driving a Ram pickup truck and hit the left front of the stranded car, according to the police incident report. The driver was sitting in the car and was not injured.Reid’s pickup then slammed into the rear of the cousins’ car. The driver and an adult in the front passenger seat were not injured. But a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old sitting in the back were both injured and taken to the hospital, the 5-year-old with life-threatening injuries.The 5-year-old was still in critical condition on Monday morning with a brain injury, according to a police statement.After the Super Bowl, which the Chiefs lost, 31-9, Andy Reid addressed his son’s accident for the first time.“My heart goes out to all those that were involved in the accident, in particular the family with the little girl who’s fighting for her life,” Andy Reid said, adding that his “heart bleeds.”Britt Reid had non-life-threatening injuries, the police said, but complained of stomach pain and was also taken to a hospital after the accident.“Most serious-injury/fatality crashes take weeks to investigate, as do criminal investigations,” the Kansas City Police Department said in a statement released Monday, explaining why no arrests have been made and the names of those involved in the crash have not been released. “This is no different.”Reid has been a Chiefs coach since his father was hired as head coach eight years ago, and has spent the last two seasons as the outside linebackers coach. Before joining the Chiefs’ coaching staff, he spent three seasons at Temple University as a graduate assistant working with the offense.He was also an intern for his father with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.Britt Reid has been in legal trouble previously. In 2007, Reid, then 22, pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges stemming from a road rage dispute. He brandished a handgun at another driver in suburban Philadelphia on the same day his brother Garrett was arrested after a drug-related traffic crash. Andy Reid took a five-week leave of absence from the Eagles after his sons were arrested.Britt Reid also pleaded guilty to simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime and drug possession in the case. While out on bail before the case was decided, he was arrested after driving into a shopping cart in a parking lot and eventually pleaded guilty to driving under the influence.In 2012, Garrett Reid was found dead of an accidental overdose in his dormitory room at the Eagles’ training site in Bethlehem, Pa. He was 29.

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Tampa’s Super Bowl Celebrations Bring Super Spreader Concerns


The streets of Tampa, Fla., teemed with boozy revelers into the wee hours of Monday, many of them ignoring pleas by medical experts to social distance and wear masks, after the Buccaneers crushed the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s Super Bowl. A few scrums broke out.In one of the more bizarre episodes, a man in a red T-shirt and shorts climbed a small tree in the city’s South Howard district, known as SoHo, and rocked back and forth as hundreds of fans egged him on, a video taken by Juan Carlos Chavez, a reporter for The Tampa Bay Times, showed.The man later appeared to be taken into custody by the police after people in the crowd started shoving each other, a subsequent video showed. At least one police officer appeared to get knocked to the ground.It was not immediately clear how many people were arrested after the game, which ended just after 10 p.m. local time, or whether the police issued any citations for violations of a temporary ordinance requiring people to wear masks at several popular outdoor spots in the city.The Tampa Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday morning.About two hours after the scuffle near South Howard Avenue, a convoy of police cars moved through the street in an apparent attempt to disperse the crowd. Smoke could be seen billowing in another video taken by a local reporter.In Ybor City, another part of Tampa known for its nightlife, a sea of people partied late into the night. In videos, few were wearing masks and it was not immediately clear whether any efforts had been made to disperse the crowd. A television reporter characterized the scene as “one massive dance floor.”The scene of thousands of fans tightly packed into the city’s streets and outside Raymond James Stadium represented an alternate universe from the steady warnings by the nation’s top health officials about the risks of the Super Bowl becoming a super spreader event. It also came amid growing concerns that variants of the coronavirus, including one first found in Britain, have become more transmissible.Inside the stadium, the home field of the Buccaneers that typically holds about 66,000 people, capacity had been limited to 22,000 spectators for the game. The empty seats had been filled with cardboard cutouts of fans who could not attend the Super Bowl, but paid $100 to have their photos present.Outside the stadium, there appeared to be far less of an emphasis on social distancing and wearing masks. Maskless fans in jerseys tailgated, waving Buccaneers flags and listening to music.After the game, which Tampa won 31-9 over the Chiefs, last year’s champions, a group of fans surrounded a Kansas City team bus. Many of those in that crowd also did not appear to wearing masks. Officers on motorcycles cleared the crowd for the bus to be on its way.Benjamin Hoffman and Elena Bergeron contributed reporting.

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A Painful Lesson for the Chiefs: It’s Hard to Repeat as Champions


If the Kansas City Chiefs needed a reminder of how difficult it is to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they needed only glance across the field at Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.Brady won a record seventh Super Bowl on Sunday night as the Buccaneers dominated Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on their way to a 31-9 victory in Tampa, Fla.He has appeared in 10 of the last 20 Super Bowls. But he has won two in a row just once, in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Like the New England Patriots in the 2017 season and the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 season, the 2020 Chiefs failed in their bid to win a second straight title.“I think what makes it such a challenge is it is hard to win one Super Bowl,” Brady told reporters last week. “You cannot go buy a football team. You have to develop players.”The Buccaneers, coached by Bruce Arians, had a lot of young talent, but their roster was largely constructed in the off-season when they signed Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette and others.The Chiefs, though, seemed destined to repeat. They finished the regular season with an N.F.L.-best 14-2 record and were favorites heading into the Super Bowl. Their offense looked unstoppable with quarterback Mahomes, last year’s Super Bowl most valuable player, playing well.But before the game, Mahomes acknowledged that parity in the N.F.L. made it difficult for teams to repeat as champions.“I mean, literally, you could be the worst team in the league one year and work all the way up to the Super Bowl the next,” he said.The salary cap, which limits how much money teams can spend on player contracts, is a big reason for that parity. That wasn’t the case decades ago. The Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls in the 1960s, and the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled repeat wins in the 1970s. (The Steelers did it twice.)Quarterback Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to consecutive titles in the 1980s, and the Dallas Cowboys were repeat champions in the early 1990s. But since the N.F.L. introduced a salary cap in 1994, only the Patriots and John Elway’s Denver Broncos have repeated.As is often the case in the N.F.L., injuries can derail teams in an instant. The Chiefs struggled on Sunday, in part, because they were missing their two starting offensive tackles, including Eric Fisher, one of the best tackles in the game, who missed the Super Bowl after tearing an Achilles’ tendon two weeks ago.Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, an offensive guard who has a medical degree, opted out of the 2020 season to work in his native Canada to help combat the coronavirus. Tackle Mitchell Schwartz played only the first six weeks of the season before injuring his back.The Chiefs also faced a last-minute coaching change. Their outside linebackers coach, Britt Reid — the son of the head coach, Andy Reid — missed Sunday’s game after being involved in a car crash in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday night.The Buccaneers took advantage. They sacked Mahomes three times and pressured him on 29 of his 56 drop backs, according to ESPN Stats & Info, the most in Super Bowl history. Mahomes spent most of the game scrambling from defenders behind the line of scrimmage. He threw two interceptions, no touchdowns, and needed 49 passes to accumulate just 270 yards, most of them late in the game.Retaining a roster that has made it to three consecutive A.F.C. championship games will be difficult. The Chiefs are almost $18 million over next year’s salary cap, according to Over the Cap, an independent site that tracks N.F.L. contracts and salaries. A number of key players are free agents, among them receivers Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson, center Austin Reiter and defensive backs Daniel Sorensen and Bashaud Breeland.The Chiefs will face another hurdle: The salary cap, which is based on the league’s total revenue, was about $198 million this season. It could fall to as low as $175 million next season because the league lost billions of dollars in ticket sales during the pandemic.For their part, the Buccaneers will have an estimated $28.9 million in cap space, which will give them room to re-sign players and attract free agents.The Chiefs will, however, retain Mahomes, a transcendent quarterback who signed a 10-year contract last summer worth up to $500 million. At only 25, he has many years ahead — barring injury — to match Brady, Elway, Montana, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Bob Griese and Bart Starr as quarterbacks who have won back-to-back Super Bowls.After the game, a downtrodden Mahomes acknowledged the difficulty of winning in the N.F.L. “When we joined together we knew it wasn’t going to always be successful and we weren’t going to be able to win a thousand championships in a row,” he said. “We knew we would go through times like this, through adversity.”

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A Key to Brady’s Super Bowl Success? Gronkowski of Course


In an amusing television commercial for T-Mobile that aired in the days before the Super Bowl, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski spoofed how they both ended up playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season.The ad pretends to go back in time a year, with Brady calling Gronkowski for advice on whether to retire. Gronkowski recommends retirement, but because of a bad wireless connection, Brady hears the opposite — and also thinks that Gronkowski wants to return to football and play with him in Florida. So that is what happens.It was funny for everybody except the Kansas City Chiefs, who certainly were not laughing Sunday when Brady and Gronkowski seemed to turn back the clock not one year but a decade. Their honed, or cosmic, connection was the headlining collaboration that buried the Chiefs in the Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory in their home stadium.Afterward, even Gronkowski was awed by the turn of events in roughly 12 months.“It’s unreal, surreal, man,” he said. “It has to be one of the greatest accomplishments in sports history.”Brady threw two touchdowns to Gronkowski in the first half as the Buccaneers took a commanding 15-point lead at halftime. They were the 13th and 14th touchdowns for the duo in the postseason, an N.F.L. record.At the start of the third quarter, after Kansas City cut its deficit by three points, there was Gronkowski poking the defending Super Bowl champions in the eye again. He slyly slipped into the middle of the field uncovered so he could snag another Brady pass and rumble through defenders for a 25-yard gain that set up another Buccaneers touchdown, crushing the Chiefs’ hopes.In the end, it was another example of what Brady brought with him when he left the New England Patriots behind in March and surprised the pro football world by alighting in Tampa, where playoff success was an 18-year-old memory — a Super Bowl win after the 2002 season. Brady was brilliant and precise Sunday, completing 21 of 29 throws with three touchdown passes and winning the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player Award for a fifth time, and it is now that much clearer how he can lift an entire franchise with his determination, talent and consequential presence.But Brady can also apparently revive careers other than his own. At the end of the 2018 season when Gronkowski retired at age 29, he said: “Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t like it. I was losing that joy in life.”Roughly a month after Brady signed with the Buccaneers, Gronkowski helped engineer a trade from the Patriots to Tampa Bay. According to Buccaneers Coach Bruce Arians, Brady was adamant about wanting Gronkowski, his former tight end from New England, on his new team. Sunday, Gronkowski said he and Brady had several talks in that period.“So I came down to Tampa Bay and it’s just been an unbelievable story,” Gronkowski said.At first, their reunion was treated like an amusing sideshow, especially because the likeliness that Brady would succeed after relocating was treated with skepticism as well. The cynicism began to have a mocking tone when Tampa Bay won only three of its first five games and Gronkowski had just 12 catches for 140 yards. Even Brady looked subpar and confused by his new role.All that was irrelevant late Sunday evening after Brady led the Buccaneers on an unforeseen eight-game winning streak — four victories to end the regular season and four in the postseason. Along the way, there was Gronkowski, finishing the regular season with 45 catches for 623 yards receiving and seven touchdown catches.As the Buccaneers advanced through the playoffs, there had been talk that Brady, 43, had found the long rumored fountain of youth in Florida. Apparently, he let his favorite tight end have a few sips, too, because on Sunday Gronkowski, 31, looked like he was 22 again.A little more than four minutes into Sunday’s game, with Tampa Bay driving, Brady turned to his left and saw Gronkowski open in the flat. The pass hit its target in stride and Gronkowski, who is 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, accelerated away from two defenders to dash into the end zone untouched. The 8-yard score put the Buccaneers ahead 7-3, a lead they never relinquished.About halfway through the second quarter, Gronkowski worked free near the back of the end zone and Brady fired a bullet, a rising pass that can be hard to corral in traffic. But Brady and Gronkowski have executed on that connection countless times in practices and games. With practiced ease, Gronkowski leapt and secured the catch for a 17-yard touchdown.Gronkowski said the play originally called for him to go to the right corner of the end zone but he darted left to find more open space. “Tom saw that and put the ball where I could go get it,” Gronkowski said. “Something like that goes back to the chemistry we’ve built over the years.”The Buccaneers have a wealth of top young wide receivers, but perhaps it was not surprising that in the final, most important game of the season, Brady looked for his old reliable friend most often, throwing in Gronkowski’s direction seven times. Six of those passes were caught as Gronkowski racked up a team-high 67 yards.On the sideline late in Sunday’s game, Brady and Gronkowski, teammates both old and anew, embraced repeatedly as the final seconds wound down.“We did it,” Gronkowski yelled.Brady smiled and slapped Gronkowski’s back as the two hugged yet again.It would have made a good scene for a television commercial.

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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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Buccaneers Beat the Chiefs and Tom Brady Is a Champion Again


A nearly flawless Tom Brady claimed his record seventh Super Bowl title on Sunday, winning a duel with his young rival Patrick Mahomes and burnishing his legacy as the greatest quarterback in N.F.L. history by leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.Brady’s Super Bowl title — coming at age 43 and in his first season with the Buccaneers — joins the six he won as a member of the New England Patriots (2002, 2003, 2005, 2015, 2017, 2018). He now has one more win than both the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the two most decorated franchises in N.F.L. history.He finished 21 of 29 for 209 yards and three touchdowns, including two to his former Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski, who joined him in Tampa this season. His three touchdown passes gave him 21 in his Super Bowl career, one more than the combined total of the two quarterbacks behind him, Joe Montana (11) and Terry Bradshaw (9).Tampa Bay, the first team to play a Super Bowl on its home field, became the first one to win on there, too. It is the Buccaneers’ second championship; the team won its first in 2002.“I think we knew this was going to happen, didn’t we?” he asked his teammates from the stage after being handed the Vince Lombardi Trophy.Mahomes, 25, a former league most valuable player and a Super Bowl champion last season, finished 26 of 49 for 270 yards, but he was intercepted twice and harried throughout the second half.Brady, in 10 previous trips to the N.F.L.’s championship game, had never enjoyed an easy win in one until Sunday. All but one of his six previous wins saw both teams within one score of each other at the end.The closest Brady ever came to a Super Bowl “blowout” was a 13-3 win by the Patriots over the Los Angeles Rams two years ago. And the last 3 points of that game came in the final minute and 16 seconds.The second-largest margin of victory in a Brady win was a 6-point victory in overtime of Super Bowl LI in February 2017, when James White scored a touchdown on a toss play to give New England the championship.With his three children standing by his side, Brady declined to compare this year’s Buccaneers to his Patriots teams but said the team came together at the right time and indicated they were loaded with confidence heading into the game.“Every year is amazing,” he said, “and this team is world champions forever, you can’t take it away from us.”

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Prop Bets Fuel Super Bowl Betting Frenzy


Posted on: February 7, 2021, 07:15h. 
Last updated on: February 7, 2021, 07:35h.
It’s Super Bowl Sunday, with the magnitude of the game and the number of crazy bets making it the biggest day of the year at sportsbooks.
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa., Fla., will host Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs are 3-point favorites. (Image: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)The craziest of all might be the $3.4 million bet placed at DraftKings on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 3.5-point underdogs for Sunday’s NFL championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs. At least the bettor probably slept well, considering he goes by the nickname “Mattress Mack” as the owner of a Houston furniture chain.It’s a great story,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, to Casino.org. “The gentleman who bet it’s from Houston, and we don’t take bets in Houston. He had to fly his personal jet to Colorado and make the bet and then turn around and go back. I don’t think he was here longer than 15, 20 minutes.”With kickoff approaching, the Chiefs were 3-point favorites. With superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have been the favorite to repeat as champions for most of the season. With the addition of legendary quarterback Tom Brady, the Buccaneers have been bet big all season.Prop Bets Deliver Added Interest While the huge bets make headlines, the sheer number of bets that are available is staggering. DraftKings, for instance, offers more than 1,000 ways to bet on the game.“Normally, we take about 80 percent of our volume on the core three markets” of point spread, moneyline and point total, said John Sheeran, the director of trading for FanDuel Sportsbook, to Casino.org. “For the Super Bowl, that drops to 70 percent.”On the other hand, only 27 percent of the bets are on spreads/totals/moneyline at BetMGM, according to BetMGM data analyst John Ewing. The rest of the bets are on props and parlays.The coin toss is the most popular of the props. William Hill has more than 900 props on its menu. The bet with the second-most tickets is tails, while No. 4 is heads.Beyond the obvious bets, such as game MVP and which player will be the first to score a touchdown, sportsbooks are fantastically creative as a way to draw customers.What color will be the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach? Will there be a scoring drive that takes less time than the national anthem? Will more than two players throw a pass? Will a kick hit a goalpost?“You’ve got your template from previous years, so that’s where you start,” Avello said. “You’ve got things that have worked in the past and will continue to work in the future, so you plug in new teams and new players and calculate the odds. And then we try to add to the menu by coming up with some new bets. I don’t think it will ever end. Every year, we’ll come up a few new ones, so it will continue to expand.”Chiefs 3-Point FavoritesThe line has been bouncing between 3.5 and 3 all week. When it jumps to 3.5, the money is on the Buccaneers. When it falls to 3, the money is on the Chiefs.On the spread at FanDuel, 59 percent of bets and 67 percent of the money is on Kansas City. The moneyline is straight down the middle at FanDuel and BetMGM, but on the Bucs’ side at DraftKings and PointsBet. As is typically the case, the bettors are taking the over of the 56.5-point total.Talking about the moneyline trend, Avello said, “That does not surprise me, because that’s kind of typical for a Super Bowl. The bettors like to bet the underdog in the game, and why not? This is a good underdog with Tom Brady and a really good defense. If you like the Bucs and you like Tom Brady, why not?”The quarterbacks are the MVP favorites, with Kansas City’s Mahomes at -110 and Tampa Bay’s Brady at +200 at PointsBet. Brady has 21 percent of the bet count, followed by the Kansas City triumvirate of receiver Tyreek Hill (12 percent at +1100), tight end Travis Kelce (10 percent at +1000) and Mahomes (9 percent).

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