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A Super Bowl like no other

I don’t remember the first Super Bowl, but you have to go back that far to find a crowd comparable to the one that will watch the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers try to win their first Super Bowl since 2003.

I don’t remember that one either, so to refresh my memory and maybe yours, they beat the Raiders with a guy named Brad Johnson at quarterback.

It figures that the first team in Super Bowl history to play at home won’t have a true crowd advantage with only about 22,000 allowed into the stadium. That includes 7,500 first responders who are invited guests.

You might recall from one of my first columns back in the fall that I wrote about not following college and pro sports during COVID-19. I’ve stayed true to that except for an occasional 15 minute or so glance at the NFL playoffs.

However, I do plan to watch Tom Brady go for his seventh title against my home state team.

You probably think I’m one of those true fans who sticks with their team through thick and thin. With the Chiefs, it’s been 50 years of thin until last year, so you would be mistaken.

They were consistently horrible during my youth as were the football Cardinals on the other side of the state, so I became a Steelers fan because they were good. Looking for a front-running type of fan? That would be me.

Not just in football. My allegiance changes with the won-loss record. I back no losers.

The Steelers and the Cincinnati Reds were probably my last two favorite teams. I just enjoy watching the game for the skills and interesting things that always happen. It certainly makes post-season and big games less stressful.

Anyway, back to Super Bowl LV. That’s 55 for you non-Romans.

It has a great storyline-The GOAT vs. THE KID. Brady going for title number seven, while Mahomes tries to repeat. Brady goes to the big game in his pre-retirement home in Florida, while his former coach, Bill Belichick, freezes to death in New England.

I admire Brady for his work ethic since being drafted almost as an afterthought in the sixth round back in 2000. 198 players were taken before him and none are still active. Hats off to him.

I also really enjoy watching Mahomes pull off magical comebacks and great plays. I saw his dad, Pat, pitch in the minor leagues a long time ago, so that counts for something.

Since I’m fine either way with who wins and haven’t paid enough attention to provide analysis, I called a couple of local experts.

“I’ll take Mahomes and the Chiefs, because it’s unreal what he can do.” Pungo Christian Academy head coach Stacy Keech said. Keech led the Raiders to the first state championship game this fall and has the bulk of his team back next year.

“I think it’s going to be an offensive shootout and a fun one to watch. A turnover could very well decide the game. It’s Old School vs. New School and I’m going with New School.”

Perry Owens will walk the sidelines as the Washington High School head coach for the first time later this month after serving as a Pam Pack assistant.

“I’ll take the GOAT,” Owens said. “Tom Brady proved he is the Greatest Of All Time after he took a historical loser of a franchise to the Super Bowl right after he got there. They led the league in turnovers and penalties last year and totally turned it around with him on their side. Kansas City has some great offensive weapons, but they have some injuries on their offensive line. I’m taking Brady to win.”

Enjoy the game.