Super Bowl 2021

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers win 31-9 over Chiefs

The victory gives Brady a seventh championship and his first since joining Tampa Bay this season

A nearly flawless Tom Brady claimed his record seventh Super Bowl title on Sunday


Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl, 31-9, on Sunday night as he powered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers past the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs in a game staged in the shadow of a deadly pandemic and a nation roiled by political and racial division.

Brady, 43, outplayed his much younger counterpart, Patrick Mahomes, to deliver his first title to the Buccaneers, who signed Brady to a two-year deal in the off-season after he spent two decades with the New England Patriots.

The title was the second in Tampa Bay’s history, and Brady and his offense scored 30 or more points in all four of their playoff games.

The Buccaneers, the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium, leaned on two other newcomers to the team as well. The tight end Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdowns and Leonard Fournette had a rushing score. Fournette, who was let go by the Jacksonville Jaguars before this season, had four touchdowns in the playoffs.

The Chiefs, who were trying to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Patriots did it in 2003 and 2004, never got their high-powered offense going. The Buccaneers blanketed Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs’ speedy top receiver, and Mahomes, 25, played on an injured toe and without two starting offensive tackles. He was forced to scramble all night.

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 more wins himself than the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers; those teams, with six, are the 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.

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.

Mahomes, a former league most valuable player and a Super Bowl champions last season, finished 26 of 49 for 270 yards, but was intercepted twice.

Many viewers who avoided Super Bowl gatherings on Sunday had little else to do but actually pay attention to the dozens of commercials during the breaks in the matchup between Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The ads that were served up during a broadcast expected to draw an audience of 100 million presented starkly different ideas of what type of marketing messages would work in the middle of a long pandemic and after a year of social strife and political upheaval.

Jeep persuaded Bruce Springsteen to appear in his first commercial ever, a two-minute call for national unity that was scheduled to run in the fourth quarter.

The commercial, available before the game on YouTube, was shot partly at a chapel in Lebanon, Kan. — the geographical midpoint of the contiguous United States. “We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground,” Mr. Springsteen says in the ad.

Until now, the 71-year-old rocker had stubbornly resisted offers to endorse products or allow his songs to be used in commercials, a stance that has set him apart from Bob Dylan and most pop stars of today.

Jeep got the Boss to say yes after a long pursuit. Olivier François, the chief marketing officer for Jeep’s parent company, Stellantis, said he was “naïve” when he first approached Jon Landau, Mr. Springsteen’s longtime manager, a decade ago.

“I wasn’t aware of the one thing that all of America was totally aware of, which is that Bruce Springsteen doesn’t do commercials,” Mr. François said.

He said he would “respectfully pitch” Mr. Landau over “many drinks and dinners” in the following years, knowing that Mr. Springsteen’s participation in an ad was “obviously, a very long shot.”

When Mr. François received the script for an early version of the Super Bowl ad, he sent it to Mr. Landau. Within 24 hours, he had a virtual handshake deal with Mr. Springsteen, who joins Bill Murray, the star of last year’s Super Bowl commercial from the same company, as a Jeep pitchman.

In a statement, Mr. Landau said the Boss had created the ad with his own creative team. “Bruce made the film exactly as he wanted to, with no interference at all from Jeep,” he said.

Companies paid roughly $5.5 million for each 30-second slot this year, an expensive marketing gamble. Mr. François said that, because of the high cost, “the only way to make a return on investment is to make the ad last.”

“If it’s going to be forgotten in a year or so, it probably is not worth the money,” he said.

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