The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit once again on the NFL mountaintop after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, to win Super Bowl LV on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The franchise won its second Super Bowl title behind outstanding performances from Todd Bowles' defense and veteran quarterback Tom Brady, who won his seventh ring and was named the game's MVP.
With the clock officially at double zeroes, NFL analysts reveal their biggest highlights and lowlights from the title bout.
Judy Battista: Bucs coordinator Todd Bowles' defense. The Chiefs couldn't block it, and the only real offense for Kansas City was what Patrick Mahomes occasionally created with his legs.
Jeffri Chadiha: This game turned on a pass interference call against Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland late in the second quarter. Breeland's penalty -- the officials nailed him for tripping Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans on a go route -- gave Tampa Bay the ball on the Chiefs' 24-yard line with just 13 seconds left in the first half. After another pass interference penalty, this time on Tyrann Mathieu, the Buccaneers converted the errors into a 1-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Antonio Brown that gave them a 21-6 lead. That score put Kansas City into a hole from which it could never recover.
DeAngelo Hall: After the Buccaneers' defense got absolutely torched by the Chiefs in the regular season, Bowles orchestrated a masterful game plan the second time around, refusing to allow Mahomes to beat them deep. The defense stayed patient, keeping everything in front of it, and the secondary went from being a weakness to a strength this time around. And the Bucs' athletic linebackers proved they could cover Travis Kelce over the middle of the field. It was a great effort from all three levels of the defense.
Marc Ross: In a coaching cycle that included zero head-coaching interviews for Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and one for Josh McCown -- a former player with no coaching experience at the college or pro level -- it was fitting and exhilarating to see the most diverse coaching staff in NFL history craft masterpieces on the game's biggest stage.
Bucky Brooks: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense provided plenty of highlights on Sunday. The combination of a ferocious pass rush and an ultra-fast unit of linebackers and defensive backs overwhelmed the Chiefs. Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaquil Barrett and Ndamukong Suh relentlessly pounded Mahomes in the pocket, while the Bucs' young secondary kept Tyreek Hill and Kelce fairly quiet. Although the duo still combined for 200-plus yards, they weren't able to deliver the big plays that routinely fuel the offense. With the NFL's most explosive offense kept in check, the Buccaneers surprised the football world by cruising to victory in Super Bowl LV.
Maurice Jones-Drew: With their first TD connection of the night, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski set an NFL record for the most playoff touchdowns by a QB-receiver combo. But the highlight in this game has to be Gronk's second touchdown, a 17-yard pass from Brady that put the Bucs up 14-3 midway through the second quarter. It was the cherry on top of an incredible year for the future Hall of Fame tight end.
Adam Schein: Wow! The Bucs' defense was great and so superbly coached under the great Todd Bowles. Devin White is an absolute star and made a ton of plays. The pass rush was incredible, and Mahomes was under duress all night, as Bowles' unit bulldozed a beleaguered Kansas City offensive line. Considering they were playing against Mahomes, Hill and Kelce, it's not hyperbole to call this an all-time great performance.
Michael Silver: With the Bucs having just taken a 28-9 lead, the Chiefs faced a third-and-13 from their own 22-yard-line in the third quarter. It was getting close to desperation time for the defending champs, but with Mahomes and friends' potential for explosiveness, a comeback certainly seemed possible, if the young quarterback could convert on that play and lead K.C. on a touchdown drive. The Bucs, however, weren't having it: In a play that served as a microcosm of Tampa Bay's defensive dominance, linebacker Lavonte David blasted through the middle of the Chiefs' line, pressuring Mahomes despite a hold by center Austin Reiter. Mahomes' hurried throw toward Tyreek Hill over the middle was deflected by safety Mike Edwards, who was blanketing the speedy wide receiver at midfield. It caromed back toward the line of scrimmage -- and rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. made a diving interception at the 45. The Bucs declined the holding penalty, took over and went up 31-9 on Ryan Succop's 52-yard field goal. Goodnight, Chiefs.
Charley Casserly: The Bucs' offense exploited all of Kansas City's defensive weaknesses. Tampa Bay ran and threw the ball at will, winning in the trenches and on routes while taking advantage of K.C. penalties. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich did a heck of a job.
David Carr: It's Todd Bowles. He wasn't afraid to bring pressure from everywhere on the defense to test the Chiefs' offensive tackles, who allowed 18 pressures in the game (most in a postseason game since 2010, per Pro Football Focus). They had no chance against Bowles' fierce attack.
Brian Baldinger: When Tom Brady actively recruited Gronk out of retirement, I immediately began calling Brady's Buccaneers the "Brady Bunch." The group gained a new member just before the start of the regular season when the Bucs signed Leonard Fournette, who was released by the Jaguars at the end of August. And finally, the Bunch was complete when Antonio Brown was signed and eventually activated at midseason. The Bucs scored four touchdowns in Super Bowl LV -- ALL by the Brady Bunch. Not only is Tom Brady the G.O.A.T., he is also the master recruiter.
Scott Pioli: With 3:46 remaining in the game, Tampa Bay had the ball on third-and-4 on their own 19. Kansas City had just used its final timeout, and the camera showed Brady staring down the Bucs' sideline. He was scowling and barking "NO!!!" about the play that was being called. Yes, the score was 31-9, and for all practical purposes, the game was over, but he was still focused and competing. THAT is who he is and why he continues to be a champion on the field and in life. I've known Tommy since before drafting him in 2000 with the New England Patriots -- watching him in that moment reminded me of the undying competitiveness and energy that he brings to everyone around him. His infectious positive energy is impacting me SO much at this moment, and in honor of him, I am refusing to give a lowlight tonight.
Adam Schein: Mahomes didn't throw a touchdown. Yes, the Tampa defense deserves the credit it's receiving. And yes, the Chiefs' offensive line was not anywhere near full strength. But this was a true stunner. Mahomes is off to the best start of any quarterback in NFL history, and this was the single worst game he's ever played in his career. Never saw that coming.
Judy Battista: Officials run amok. They took over the first half, especially the ticky-tack defensive holding call that negated a Tyrann Mathieu interception of Brady. After a season in which officials largely let the players play, this was a bad time to have them exert their influence on the game.
David Carr: The Chiefs' offense looked out of sorts for most of the night, dropping passes, not protecting their star quarterback and basically not showing up to the biggest game of the year.
Jeffri Chadiha: Andy Reid's decision to call timeouts during Tampa Bay's final drive of the first half. The Bucs seemed like they might have been content to run out the clock, since they only had one timeout left when they started that possession on their own 29-yard line with 55 seconds left. Once Reid began burning timeouts -- clearly in the hopes of scoring before halftime and then getting another shot with the ball going to Kansas City to start the third quarter -- the Bucs became more aggressive. The Chiefs have used that strategy to demoralize many opponents this season. It backfired on them this time.
Marc Ross: Where to begin?! Kansas City looked like a team that was completely distracted, unprepared and undisciplined. The images of the magical Mahomes on the brink of crafting two iconic Super Bowl moments only to have his perfect strikes bounce off the facemasks of his receivers was the perfect microcosm for the Chiefs' ineptitude.
Michael Silver: With six seconds remaining in the first half, in the aftermath of the Antonio Brown touchdown catch that gave the Bucs a 20-6 lead, Tom Brady charged toward Tyrann Mathieu and got in the face of the Chiefs' star safety. A flag was thrown, and Mathieu -- who'd already had an interception called back and had just been penalized for pass interference in the end zone -- was the player called for unsportsmanlike conduct. At that point, the penalty tally was this: Chiefs, eight for 95 yards; Bucs, one for 5. It's never great when the officiating is conspicuous in a championship game, in any sport; it's worse when the calls are greatly imbalanced in one direction. No team had ever been flagged for 95 penalty yards in any half of any Super Bowl. Given the way the Bucs dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, they may well have rolled to victory without the imbalance. Yet considering the magnitude of many of those first-half calls, including the overturned interception and a neutral-zone infraction on a field goal that extended an eventual touchdown drive, the Chiefs and their fans will always wonder.
DeAngelo Hall: It was well-established going into the game that the Chiefs' pass protection might be an issue, given the injuries to Kansas City offensive linemen. Chiefs fans' fears about the group were realized. Mahomes ran for his life and took big hits when trying to give his team a chance. Mahomes has been able to overcome such setbacks in the past, but it was a different story against Todd Bowles' defense in the Super Bowl.
Charley Casserly: The injuries to the Chiefs' offensive line played a big role in this one. The mismatch of Tampa's Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett versus Kansas City's backup tackles showed up in the first series. It was an uphill battle from the start.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Credit Todd Bowles and the Bucs' defense. Mahomes couldn't get in a rhythm. That was evidenced by the fact that he practically ran a half marathon during the game as he tried to escape the pressure. The Chiefs' offense is normally so much fun to watch, but it ran out of answers this time.
Brian Baldinger: My everlasting memory of Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV is him being chased, harassed and crunched for 60 minutes by the Bucs' relentless pass rush. There were flashes of Mahomes Magic, but he often ran into the waiting hands of Bucs defenders even when he was able to escape the first rusher to close in on him. That was the story of Super Bowl LV.