Tom Brady won a seventh Super Bowl as he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 43-year-old became only the second quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl with two teams, adding to his record six wins for the New England Patriots by winning another one in his new Buccaneers colours.
Brady, widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time, was named the Super Bowl MVP after inspiring the Bucs to a 31-9 victory in his 10th appearance in the showpiece – further outlining his legendary status in the game.
But Super Bowl LV was set against a backdrop of controversy, with droves of mask-less fans having amassed on the streets ahead of the NFL finale despite warnings from health officials.
Social distancing measures were in place in the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, with 25,000 fans in attendance in the 65,000-capacity venue.
But amid warnings of a ‘super spreader’ event, there were frightening scenes ahead of the game as crowds of revellers were seen outside the stadium and in bars and restaurants.
As sports fans packed out the streets and bars around Tampa, hundreds were seen walking without face coverings through areas where the mayor had reportedly issued a mask-wearing mandate to stop the spread of coronavirus.
And Tampa’s victory sparked fears that post-match celebrations in the city risked spreading the virus.
On the pitch, Tampa Bay’s defence showed up in beast mode to confirm Brady as the NFL G.O.A.T.
And while once more Brady kept the statisticians frantically busy updating the record books, it was a miserable night for opposite number Patrick Mahomes.
By half time, the defending champions were in shock. Not only had Brady – with superb protection – grown into the game with a masterful flourish, but he had converted his superiority into three touchdown passes and a 15-point lead.
The Greatest Of All Time? Even Brady’s bitterest enemies will have to doff their caps now.
After a difficult start, where both quarterbacks had to feel their way under defensive attacks, what better way to find your feet on the biggest stage than with a familiar target.
Cometh the hour, cometh Gronk.
Rob Gronkowski and Brady had many glorious days in New England with the Patriots. So when Brady headed for warmer weather by moving to Tampa, Gronk didn’t take much persuading to hop a plane south to join his old mate.
The duo hooked up twice in the first half as Brady hit Gronkowski for the opening touchdown from eight yards before drilling a second one to him from 17 yards.
KC’s struggles continued late in the first half, with another stalled drive forcing them to settle for a second field goal and 14-6 deficit with 61 seconds left until half time.
That was enough for Brady to drive his team 71 yards before throwing his third touchdown pass of the half, a one-yarder to Antonio Brown as the G.O.A.T. put one hand on the trophy at the break.
Canadian singer, The Weeknd, wowed the 25,000 socially-distanced crowd at half time but the second half did nothing for the Chiefs other than to wish their own weekend could start afresh.
Leonard Fournette scored a fourth Bucs’ touchdown as they opened up the lead to 31-9, leaving KC throwing caution to the wind in a fruitless effort to claw their way back.