In order to achieve a familiar end, the N.F.L. season continued despite difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic, political discord and a national race estimate.
Each experiment is intended to prove a theory, and last March, Tom Brady formulated an outrageous one when he decided to leave the empire he helped create in New England to sign with the Buccaneers of Tampa Bay.
Brady claimed that, at the age of 43, he could master a new offense, acclimate to a new team and conquer a new league, all while the coronavirus pandemic restricted in-person participation. Moving from a franchise with which he had won six championships to one that had won a total of six playoff games.
The Super Bowl ring is the most valuable of N.F.L. baubles, and each of Brady’s seven, the latest secured on Sunday night, confirms an indomitable truth: he is just about unbeatable when he has something to prove.
Brady led the Buccaneers to a 31-9 romp that recalibrated his own level of dominance in front of a partisan crowd at their home field, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., flicking away the dynastic ambitions of the Kansas City Chiefs and the quarterback who presents the most plausible challenge to equal him someday.
The decision to play the regular season on time, as planned, was met with pushback and frustration after the pandemic gripped the world last spring. The N.F.L. plowed forward, setting up and improving health procedures as the virus revised rosters, delayed games and affected more than 700 players, coaches and staff members, as well as the parents of Brady, Tom Sr. and Galynn.
Brady left behind New England and did not comment on the red Make America Great Again hat seen in 2015 in his locker there this season, but he said his relationship with President Donald J. Trump became “uncomfortable.”
Brady left New England behind and did not comment on the red Make America Great Again hat seen this season in his locker there in 2015, but he said that his friendship with President Donald J. Trump became “uncomfortable.”
It was as if the N.F.L. struck a cosmic bargain for this untidy heap of a season even to hit Sunday’s capstone: in return for plowing through a complete 256-game schedule without producing a closed atmosphere in which to play, the most tantalizing quarterback showdown in the Super Bowl era will be given, Brady versus Patrick Mahomes, the best of all time against the best of this time.
Brady joined Peyton Manning as the only starting quarterback to win Super Bowls with multiple franchises by giving Tampa Bay the second to win his seventh, more than any N.F.L. franchise, more than John Elway and his boyhood hero, Joe Montana, combined, more than Michael Jordan in the N.B.A.
“We came together at the right time,” Brady, who went 21 of 29 for 201 passing yards and was selected as the Super Bowl’s most valuable player for the fifth time, said on the field afterward. “I think we knew this was going to happen now, didn’t we?”
Mahomes had earned 16 out of 17 starts this season, but he and his team collapsed amid a deluge of penalties, drops and pressure from the Buccaneers, who reveled in it, inflicted it, even welcomed it, manipulating the diluted offensive line of the Chiefs. Mahomes had 67 yards at halftime, and Kansas City trailed 21-6, its 15-point deficit tied for its highest during its three seasons as a starter, according to Pro Football Reference.
“They beat us pretty good,” Mahomes said. “The worst that I think I’ve been beaten in a long time.”