1. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes, Super Bowl LV
Feb 7, 2021: Watch Super Bowl LV for free on the CBS Sports App.
No, this is not a prisoner-of-the-moment situation. Widely considered to be the NFL’s best quarterback, Mahomes is also the youngest player in NFL history to win regular season and Super Bowl MVP trophies. And while he is only in his third season as a starting quarterback, Mahomes would already have a strong Hall of Fame argument if his career ended today.
At 43, Brady has shown no signs of decline. A member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, Brady is widely considered to be the greatest quarterback who has ever played the position. He’s also the greatest Super Bowl quarterback of all-time, with nine prior appearances, six rings and four Super Bowl MVPs to boot. This is a matchup of the best quarterback of all-time against the NFL’s best quarterback today — who’s well on his way to being an all-time great
As productive as Reid’s coaching charges have been, there’s been almost equal success in scouting. And while he may be more hands-on with assistant coaches, by virtue of the time spent with them, there’s no question the mark he left on all the guys named above.
His mentoring of scouts, typically, was just a little more casual. He might pop in their office to watch tape or ask about a player, doing it in a way where they guys knew their opinions carried weight. Moreover, it didn’t matter if you were someone in Licht’s spot or Veach’s—Reid wound up listening to Veach’s pleas, as his coaching assistant, on a slight-but-speedy receiver from Cal. (Drafting DeSean Jackson wound up being a good idea.)
The cool thing was that with everyone feeling their voices were being heard by the boss, the result was a sort of think tank, where everyone had to listen to everyone else.
There’s no comparable feature in any other NFL stadium. The Patriots’ stadium has a lighthouse and a bridge, which has always confused me, because (a) the stadium is not near a large body of water and (b) Patriots are not, by their nature, aquatic. (Working theory: Maybe Tom Brady went to Tampa Bay during the offseason because the Bucs are the only other NFL team with an in-stadium nautical attraction.) The Raiders’ stadium has a big torch, but there’s no indication that it is a Raiders torch. The Jaguars’ stadium has a pool; while real jaguars do enjoy a nice swim, this pool is not by any means Jaguars-themed.
And then there’s the Buccaneers’ big-ass pirate ship. It’s not a real ship, for the record—it’s made of concrete, and would instantly sink to the bottom of Tampa Bay if it tried to set sail. The cannons on board are, thankfully, not real. The ship has six of them that shoot smoke, four that fire confetti, and two machines that make cannon noises after the Bucs score. These “concussion cannons” are loud enough to scare Cam Newton.
“I’ll tell you what, I think when the league finally let us a couple years ago celebrate together, we had about 10 of them going into every single game and you saw all of those,” Kelce said. “I don’t know if we’re burnt out or don’t have any more creativity, but we’re more focused on getting in the end zone and celebrating with our teammates.”
This means celebrations on Sunday will come naturally.
“Nothings choreographed or nothings premeditated. It’s all just being in the flow of the game and enjoying it with our brothers,” Kelce said.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a Houston furniture store owner who is known for making giant sports bets, has placed the largest wager on Super Bowl LV so far — $3.46 million on the underdog Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +3.5.
McIngvale flew into Colorado Springs on Wednesday, logged on to the DraftKings mobile betting app from the airport and placed one of the largest bets ever on the Super Bowl. After paying a little extra in juice (-127) to get the Bucs at +3.5, McIngvale would win $2.72 million if Tampa Bay covers the spread.
At the same time, as I’ve thought more and more about this game, I’ve been focused more on the defensive coordinators. Tampa’s Todd Bowles and Kansas City’s Steve Spagnuolo are two of the most creative, fertile minds in the business, and they’ve had two weeks to piece together creative game plans. They’ve both had to shape-shift their respective defenses from week to week this season to deal with different quarterbacks and offensive styles, and they’ll have to do it again for Super Bowl LV.
32 - Kansas City Chiefs
Greg Newsome II · CB
School: Northwestern | Year: Junior
Adept in press-man and zone coverages, Newsome is a long outside corner. He has the ability to tilt contested catches in his favor on both short and deep passes.
Around the NFL
“I’m kind of old school,” Favre told Yahoo! Sports. “I think you play. You get paid a ton of money to do a certain job and just do it and let the chips fall where they may. I think we make too much money to voice an opinion, but I’m not saying he’s wrong. Again, I think it’s a different day and time, and it will be interesting to see how the organization handles it.”
In a carefully crafted fence-sitting answer full of context, Favre’s basic concept is that NFL players make too much money to have opinions about the direction of their career. He also threw in a not-so-subtle opportunity to play up the tired trope of young players being “entitled,” by saying “it’s a different day and time,” as if he’s shrugging his shoulders and saying “kids these days.”
“I’m not sure there’s an issue we spent more time with our ownership on,” Goodell said as part of his annual state-of-the-league address ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl. “Our ownership is committed and focused on this.”
The commissioner emphasized that lack of diversity isn’t just a head-coaching issue but an issue throughout positions on all clubs.
“It’s much broader than just head coaches for us,” he said. “But head coaches is important. And we put a lot of our policies and focus on that this year. As you know, we had two minority coaches hired this year. But it wasn’t what we expected, and it’s not what we expect going forward.”
The two head coaches he referenced are the New York Jets’ Robert Saleh, who is of Lebanese descent, and the Houston Texans’ David Culley, who is Black. They joined Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera as the league’s only minority head coaches.
Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million extension in June of 2019, and because of the way it’s structured, a release is nearly impossible. But a trade before his $10 million roster bonus is due on March 19 would give the Eagles a more manageable dead money charge of $33.8 million, while a new team would take on $25.4 million in salary — and a four-year, $98.4 million existing contract.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“What’s crazy is that Pat’s been on a roll,” Hill emphasized to reporters on Thursday. “I haven’t seen Pat throw dots like this at practice... like he’s been throwing crazy dots. Like he usually throws dots, but the dots he’s been throwing lately have been crazy. I’m pretty fired up. I’m excited about that.”
As mentioned before, if Mahomes was just as impressive as he had been all season in practice, Hill wouldn’t make this comment. The fact that Hill perked up and was genuinely excited about Mahomes’ practice throws tells you that that the uptick has been obvious.
It’s not just Mahomes who is laser-focused. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones felt that sense of preparedness from everyone in practice this week.
“I think everyone is dialed in, I honestly do,” Jones said on Thursday. “From the scout team to the special teams guys, I think everyone is dialed in and focused on the task at hand. My coach actually praised the scout team today, and I got a little offended by that. I told him, Ppraise them after we win the Super Bowl. Don’t praise them right now. Don’t let them know they’re doing good. We don’t need pats on the back.’ But I think everyone is focused on the task at hand.”