The 55 things we learned from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-9 Super Bowl 55 victory to conclude the 2020 NFL season:
1. Bucs QB Tom Brady extended his own record by earning his seventh Super Bowl ring.
2. No NFL franchise has won more than six Super Bowls, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers tied for the lead … but now trailing Brady by one.
3. Bill Belichick? You, sir, have some work to do to convince us you haven’t been carrying TB12’s water all these years.
4. But good on the Patriots for offering up some classy pro-Brady tweets at night’s end.
5. After beginning the day as the first NFL club to “host” a Super Bowl in its own stadium – and the Buccaneers were the designated home team even though this is technically a neutral site game – Tampa Bay also became the first to win a Lombardi Trophy in its own building.
6. Good call by the Bucs opting to wear white jerseys after they lost 27-24 to the Chiefs in Tampa while wearing red in Week 12.
7. Brady is now 5-1 while wearing white on Super Sunday (2-2 otherwise).
8. The Buccaneers joined the Baltimore Ravens as the only clubs with multiple Lombardi Trophies but no losses on Super Sunday. Call the Bucs … “TB2.”
9. Sunday’s matchup between Brady and Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes marked the first Super Bowl to feature the quarterbacks who’d won on the preceding two Super Sundays …
10. … That didn’t mean the ubiquitous SB55 tagline, “The GOAT vs. The Kid,” didn’t get tiresome – 10 days ago.
11. Brady is now 2-0 against Mahomes in postseason (1-2 in the regular season).
12. Mahomes is 6-0 in the playoffs when not facing a Brady-led squad.
13. Mahomes has now suffered two losses in the past 447 days.
14. Mahomes became the first quarterback to start Multiple Super Bowls before age 26.
15. Mahomes has definitely improved his pre-game haberdashery quotient since the Chiefs made him worth a half-billion dollars.
16. Brady, 43, has started in three Super Bowls … since turning 40.
17 And when you’re 40, you can dress a bit more casually … though TB12 still looks sharp when he reaches the office – though Gisele might have something to do with that.
18. The 18-year age difference between Brady and Mahomes was the widest gap ever between opposing Super Bowl quarterbacks.
19. Brady became the first quarterback to participate in Super Bowls spanning three different decades.
20. Brady and newly elected Hall of Famer Peyton Manning are the only starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history to lead different franchises to Lombardi glory.
21. This was the 21st Super Bowl broadcast by CBS, a record among the networks.
22. In nine previous Super Bowl appearances with the Patriots, Brady never led a first-quarter touchdown drive. But he found longtime New England teammate Rob Gronkowski for an 8-yard score at the end of the opening period Sunday.
23. The pair connected again in the second quarter, marking the 14th time they’d hooked up for a postseason TD. They entered Super Bowl 55 tied with the Hall of Fame duo of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, who combined for 12 playoff touchdown passes.
24. Gronkowski is the first player to catch passes in five different Super Bowls.
25. Gronk and Rice are the only players to have multiple TD receptions in multiple Super Bowls.
26. Sunday was clearly Mahomes’ worst game as a pro and really the only time in memory he looked so mortal. Laboring behind a tattered offensive line, he was constantly pressured by the Bucs pass rush and forced to improvise on low-percentage throws. His 52.3 passer rating was the worst of his four-year career. Never before had the Chiefs failed to score 10 points with Mahomes in the lineup.
27. Sunday was the first time since Mahomes was at Texas Tech in 2016 that he lost a game by more than one score.
28. The latest Super QB matchup of the century was quite the dud, every bit as disappointing as Joe Montana vs. Dan Marino 36 years earlier.
29. Brady is still Darth Vader in his prime, and Mahomes is still a Force-challenged Luke Skywalker … and, no, you shouldn’t read too much into a metaphor that fits.
30. Though the COVID-19 pandemic made this the NFL’s lowest-attended Super Bowl ever (24,835) – the first Super Sunday in 1967 (Chiefs vs. Packers) was the only other not to sell out, the L.A. Coliseum drawing 61,946 – the league’s 30,000 cardboard cutouts of people at Raymond James Stadium fooled quite a few people watching the game into thinking the building was packed.
31. Though this Gen-Xer was delighted to see Bruce Springsteen the last time the Super Bowl was staged in Tampa, two thumbs up for The Weeknd … though the NFL really should have waited to invite him until next year, when SoFi Stadium could have done his show far more justice than Raymond James Stadium. Still, hugely impressive production under the circumstances.
32. Back to “The Boss,” appreciated his message of unity shared Sunday in his Jeep commercial.
33. A very different pregame flyover comprised of three Air Force bombers – the B-1 (Lancer), B-2 (Spirit) and B-52 (Stratofortress) with a service legacy that extends nearly 70 years back to the Cold War in the case of the B-52. The NFL would like you to know that 1+2+52 = (Super Bowl) 55.
34. Masterful job by coordinator Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers defense to not only make life miserable for Mahomes but also contain All-Pro WR Tyreek Hill, who burned Tampa Bay for 13 catches, 269 yards and three scores in the regular season. He was limited to seven grabs for 73 yards Sunday.
35. Sorry, folks, but Bucs SS Antoine Winfield Jr. taunting Hill late in the game was pretty funny given Hill gave Tampa’s rookie those same deuces in the teams’ November meeting. Payback can be a real Buc, Tyreek.
36. Brady has now balanced the scales with Kansas City DC Steve Spagnuolo who famously vexed TB12 and his 18-0 Patriots 13 years ago.
37. Thanks largely to the Chiefs’ sloppy defensive play, the Bucs were the beneficiaries of a Super Bowl record six first downs via penalties.
38. Kansas City’s 90 penalty yards in the second quarter were a Super Bowl record for a period, per Elias.
39. The Chiefs tied this season’s league high with seven Pro Bowlers.
40. OLB Jason Pierre-Paul was the Bucs’ only Pro Bowl representative.
41. Kansas City DB Tyrann Mathieu acknowledged his competing personas during the week: the fiery, reckless “Honey Badger” and the cool, composed “Landlord.” The Badger – Mr. Hyde – seemed to be in full effect Sunday night, allegedly incited by Brady.
42. Mathieu and Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette both attended the same high school, St. Augustine in New Orleans.
43. Jettisoned by the Jacksonville Jaguars right before the start of the regular season, Fournette latched on with Tampa Bay … and his clutch showing in these playoffs might yet earn him a nice contract from the Bucs or another team in 2021. He joined Terrell Davis (1997) and Larry Fitzgerald (2008) as the only players in league history to score TDs in four games of one postseason.
44. Tampa Bay’s Bruce Arians, who wasn’t offered his first NFL head job until 2013, became the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl at age 68.
45. Disheartening as it continues to be seeing Black assistants like Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy not getting NFL head coaching opportunities, encouraging to see a Super Bowl with three women – Bucs assistants Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust and down judge Sarah Thomas – on the field.
46. And vindicating to see Arians’ highly diverse staff, which includes three Black coordinators, execute a game plan that handcuffed a Chiefs team that won the most games in the NFL this season.
47. Bucs LB Devin White is a budding superstar, making 38 tackles, recovering two fumbles and picking off Mahomes and Drew Brees in the span of three playoff games.
48. ICYMI, RB LeSean “Shady” McCoy suddenly has two rings, one this year with the Bucs after getting his first a year ago with Kansas City. McCoy did not play in Super Bowl 54 or 55.
49. All four of Tampa Bay’s TDs (Brown, Fournette and two by Gronk) were scored by players who are not signed for 2021.
50. Ten years after making his Super Bowl debut with the Steelers, Bucs WR Antonio Brown, who caught Brady’s other TD pass Sunday, notched his first ring.
51. AB’s former Pittsburgh teammate, Chiefs RB Le’Veon Bell, is still waiting for his bling.
52. Bell, who seems headed for this third team in five months once free agency begins, is still waiting to play in his first Super Bowl.
53. PSA (which happened to be Brady’s pre-game anthem in New England): Michael Jordan only has six rings.
54. PSA No. 2: A lot of you out there – you know who you are – keep referring to Brady and Mahomes (plus Aaron Rodgers and others) as “GOATs.” Tighten up, people … there can only be one GOAT.
55. Next year’s Super Bowl is scheduled for L.A.’s glistening new SoFi Stadium. But who’s gonna be excited unless the Rams and Chargers become the first franchises to co-host Super Sunday in their own yard – and with The Weeknd there to perform another live video on that “Oculus” video board? Either way, see you there …
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
If you love talking football, we have the perfect spot for you. Join our Facebook Group, The Ruling Off the Field, to engage in friendly debate and conversation with fellow football fans and our NFL insiders. Do the right thing, sign up now!