It feels like football season has just started, but Super Bowl LV is already upon us. In a battle between star-studded teams, the Kansas City Chiefs will attempt to retain their title versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelve or Le’Veon Bell will go against Tom Brady, Bruce Arians, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski or Leonard Fournette. In case that wasn’t enough, The Weeknd will headline the halftime show.
This isn’t your typical Super Bowl preview, but a unique piece from a distinct perspective instead. Since VT Sports’ main purpose is to obtain athletic scholarships in the United States, expect a heavy dose of references to the NCAA careers of the players involved in the game.
10 Numbers to Keep in Mind Ahead of Super Bowl LV
395 – Number of completed passes by Tom Brady throughout his whole four-year stint at Michigan, according to Sports Reference. You might be wondering how that is possible considering that he completed 401 passes for Tampa this campaign alone. Can’t blame you. But Brady was a late bloomer. He was a backup as an underclassmen, suddenly emerging into a quality starter as a junior and senior. Truth be told, football was way different in the 90s, as teams used to run the ball more often. For his part, Patrick Mahomes completed 857 passes as a three-year starter at Texas Tech.
189 – The gap in draft position between the two quarterbacks who will be starting on Sunday. Mahomes was the 10th overall pick in 2017, whereas Brady somehow plummeted to the 199th pick. The former New England Patriots’ QB is undoubtedly the biggest draft steal ever.
4 – Times Antonio Brown made 1st Team All Pro. The former Central Michigan receiver also shattered expectations after being selected in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In contrast, Brady has only received such accolade on three occasions. Brown has been one of the best players of the past decade and would be a sure-fire Hall of Famer if he could limit his troubles off the field.
0 – Heisman Trophy winners in the game. Brady and Mahomes have amassed four MVPs and three OPOYs in their illustrious NFL careers so far. Nevertheless, neither they nor any of their Chiefs and Bucs teammates won the most prestigious award in college football. Tampa Bay’s running back Leonard Fournette came quite close in 2015. The LSU star was the frontrunner halfway through the campaign until a disheartening performance (19 rush, 31 yards) against a stout Alabama defense derailed his candidacy.
56 – Point difference in Mahomes’ worst loss as Texas Tech starting QB. This beatdown amazingly came in his penultimate college game at the hands of Iowa State (66-10). Previously, he had had a marginal appearance in the Red Raiders’ blowout defeat against TCU in 2014 (82-27). However, the Texas native barely loses at the NFL level. His largest loss took place this season versus the Oakland Raiders (32-40). Yes, you read that correctly. In three seasons as a starter, Mahomes has never lost a duel by more than a score.
28 – Seasons Andy Reid (10) and Bruce Arians (18) spent coaching at the NCAA level. In order to make it in the NFL, aspiring coaches must first cut their teeth in the college football ranks. Both Reid and Arians kicked off their coaching journeys as graduate assistants at their respective alma mater, BYU and Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the pros, Reid coached at BYU, San Francisco State, Northern Arizona, Texas-El Paso and Missouri. Curiously, he was never a head coach in college. Meanwhile, Arians worked at VT, Mississippi State, Alabama and Temple.
66 – Number of universities with at least one football alum currently on the Chiefs or Buccaneers’ active rosters at the time of writing. LSU leads the way with six former players. Clemson, Iowa and Michigan trail not far behind with four alumni apiece. Somehow, not a single player hails from Alabama or Ohio State, this year’s College Football Playoff finalists.
173 – Weight difference in pounds between the heaviest and the lightest players in the Super Bowl. They both play for the Bucs. Defensive lineman Vita Vea, a former Washington star, weighs 347 pounds (157 kilos), almost doubling Scotty Miller’s official figure. The second year receiver out of Bowling Green stands at 174 pounds (79 kilos).
37 – Consecutive years in which Budweiser had produced a Super Bowl ad. The streak is coming to an end this year. The beer company announced the $5.4 million it would cost to secure an ad slot will be used to raise awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine across the nation.
1 – Mahomes and Brady have played four head-to-head matchups thus far. The overall point differential after four games is a one single point. The most accomplished quarterback of all time and the consensus best player of the league at the moment have split their meetings. Mahomes’ Chiefs scored 121 points, whereas Brady’s Patriots and Buccaneers mustered 120. Expect parity again.
What do you think it will happen in Tampa? Will the Chiefs go back-to-back or will Tom Brady hoist a whopping seventh Super Bowl trophy?