Last Night In Tampa

Dane Bunel, Staff Writer

Despite tumultuous times, the ageless wonder strikes again. 

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers establishing their dominance on the Kansas City Chiefs is a Cinderella story from start to finish, but the narrative of last night’s showdown can be seen from a double-edged sword perspective that goes far beyond football. 

To the delight of everyone, outside life and political conflictions took a raincheck for one night, while America’s favorite night returned to fruition, Super Bowl Sunday The bleachers of Raymond James Stadium stood 25,000 strong, with the exception of some famous cardboard cutouts. This is where the double edge-sword comes into play, while many viewers at home are firing up the grill getting ready for family and football, critics and media outlets of all platforms release their opinions rapidly on what they claim to be as “a hot springs for COVID-19.” It is confirmed though that every man or woman in attendance that night had been properly tested, vaccinated and/or quarantined. So with that pushed aside, I give hats off to the NFL for giving a comforting normal experience unlike anything we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

The night started off with Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan’s beautiful rendition of the national anthem, setting the tone for the ultimate David vs. Goliath showdown between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Like most relentless Florida storms, Tampa Bay’s defense put a beatdown on the offense of Kansas City from start to finish, leading to a record 29 times Patrick Mahomes was pressured by Tampa Bay’s defense. Endless penalty flags and two touchdowns from Rob Gronkowski kept Kansas City in a staggered position for the first half of the game, ending 21-6. 

This of course was followed by the everyone’s favorite concert of the year, the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime show, this year headlined by pop-culture and R&B phenomenon, The Weeknd. Channeling fellow Pop Icon Michael Jackson’s signature red coat and tap shoes, The Weeknd stormed the stage with countless body doubles by his side, performing every hit imaginable including The Hills, I Feel It Coming, Can’t Feel My Face, Blinding Lights, and more. This catalog of songs performed is an understatement to the craft that The Weeknd has built leading up to this performance, but others saw last night’s spectacle as nothing but a dud. Whether it comes from a lack of cultural understanding or not, it can’t be ignored the amount of effort and money put into the performance of one individual. Given the circumstances of the global pandemic, The Weeknd was able to light up a Tampa Bay crowd and give the world the up close musical experience that we’ve been missing, despite the lack of tradition and special guests.

When the second quarter kicked off, the trend of the previous quarter continued in dominant fashion into the next quarter as the relentless Tampa Bay defense kept Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs backing up and converting to new game plans, but in the end the power of the ageless wonder and Gronk became too much as Tampa Bay was crowned victorious in their second super bowl performance and victory. 

The one take away from last night’s extravaganza is the saying falsely thrown out into the public once again, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” With the mixture of intellectual gameplay and the heart and soul, Head Coach Bruce Arians, not only did the old dog learn some new tricks, he brought the whole pack along for the ride with him. At the age of 68, Bruce Arians became the oldest coach in NFL History to win the Super Bowl, and on top of that, guiding the way for the oldest quarterback to win 7 super bowls and 5 MVPS. Overall, a night to get away, reflect on the past, and look towards the future. For now, the world belongs to the Pewter Pirates, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.