In the end, the much-awaited matchup wasn't much of a contest. Tom Brady won his record seventh Super Bowl Sunday as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers overpowered the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9. The 43-year-old Brady threw for three touchdowns, including two to his old teammate on the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski. The pair now have 14 post-season touchdowns, the new NFL record. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay's defense kept the defending champs Chiefs, led by 25-year-old QB Patrick Mahomes, largely under wraps all game. Kansas City's potent offense failed to score a TD and had to settle for three field goals. Brady—named the game's MVP—extended his Super Bowl titles' record in his 10th appearance, his first without Patriots coach Bill Belichick, per the AP.
Brady also broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl and joins Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win one with multiple franchises. The Buccaneers won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the coronavirus. The NFL completed its 269-game season on time without any cancellations, a remarkable accomplishment that required nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests for players and team personnel. Due to the virus, only 25,000 mask-wearing fans were allowed in, including approximately 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL. About 30,000 cardboard cutouts made the stadium look full. (Read more Super Bowl stories.)