The Tampa Bay Buccaneers punched their ticket to Super Bowl LV early Sunday evening with a 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. While they celebrated – and then flew home to Tampa – the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills, 38-24, in the AFC Championship Game, completing the Super Bowl matchup.
Now the Buccaneers will become the first team in league history to play the Super Bowl in their own home stadium, and they'll face the defending league champions in one of the most momentous title-game matchups ever.
The Buccaneers will seek to earn their second championship, following their Super Bowl XXXVII win at the end of the 2002 season, and the Chiefs will try to be the first team since the 2003-04 New England Patriots to win two straight Super Bowls. Tom Brady will be seeking to add to his league-record six Super Bowl championship rings in his first year with the Buccaneers. He'll square off against Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, perhaps the most likely quarterback to eventually assume Brady's mantle as the league's 'G.O.A.T.'
Super Bowl LV will be a rematch of the Buccaneers-Chiefs game in Week 12, which Kansas City won, 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium. That was the last game Tampa Bay lost before launching the seven-game winning streak that has the franchise back in the title game.
The Chiefs won that Week 12 contest behind huge performances from the same three Chiefs players who overwhelmed the Bills on Sunday night: Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns, including 13 completions to Hill for 269 yards and threes scores and eight passes to Kelce for 82 yards.
Brady also threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns, the last two to wide receiver Mike Evans in the fourth quarter to make it a three-point game with four minutes to play. However, Mahomes and the Chiefs were able to pick up three first downs to run out the remainder of the clock.
The Buccaneers qualified for Super Bowl LV by defeating the league's highest-scoring team on its home field, as the Packers averaged an NFL-best 31.8 points per game during the regular season. The resulting matchup with Kansas City pits the Bucs, who ranked third with 30.8 points per game, against the sixth-highest scoring team, which put up 29.6 points per contest.
Kansas City's offense in net yards (415.8) and passing yards (303.4) per game, with Mahomes throwing 38 touchdown passes against just six interceptions. The 2019 NFL MVP also threw for 4,740 yards and finished with a passer rating of 108.2. Hill caught 87 passes for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns and Kelce set a single-season record for tight ends with 1,416 receiving yards to go with his 11 touchdowns.
The Chiefs' defense finished in the middle of the pack in terms of yards allowed but allowed 22.6 points per game to rank 11th in the NFL. Versatile safety Tyrann Mathieu picked off six passes and powerful defensive tackle Chris Jones led the team with 7.5 sacks.
The Buccaneers are looking to make league history on February 7 in their own home stadium. They'll have to overcome a Kansas City team that followed up its Super Bowl LIV victory with a league-best 14-2 record and a dominant run through the AFC playoffs. Will Brady add to his incredible legacy or will Mahomes pad his early-career resume? We'll find out in two weeks.