This year’s Super Bowl will be the greatest game ever, we’re told.
Or maybe not.
Those views – both quite reasonable – emerged in the same hour, as CBS sportscasters talked to reporters about the game, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 7).
Tony Romo takes the best-ever view, based on the quarterback confrontation of Tom Brady (shown here) and Patrick Mahomes. Jim Nantz points to the last time hopes were this high: “It may (have been) one of the least memorable games ever.”
Romo savors the contrasts. Brady, 43, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Mahomes, 25 , of the Kansas City Chiefs. These are exact opposites, he said, in:
– Experience. When Brady won his first Super Bowl, “Mahomes was 6 years old.”
– Style. Brady is the master at standing in the pocket and firing; Mahomes may be the best at throwing on the run. “He may check even more boxes than Brady does.”
But what makes this memorable, Romo insists, is the time-travel quality. He compares it to seeing Michael Jordan and LeBron James – both still in top form – in one basketball game. Or to seeing Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, in their prime, on one golf course.
In any sport, you might have the “generational talent” who dominates his era. He’s not likely to collide with the next generational talent. Except: “Tom Brady is multi-generational.”
Brady dominated two decades, the 2000s and 2010s. During that stretch, he led the New England Patriots to 232 wins, with only 72 losses; they reached the Super Bowl nine times and won six – with Brady named most valuable player in four of them.
But now there’s Mahomes, who won the first Super Bowl of the 2020s and has a shot at the second.
He’ll do a lot in the years ahead, Romo said, but this is likely to be his only shot at topping Brady head-on. “This is the biggest game Patrick Mahomes will ever play in his career.”
Except … a few minutes earlier, Nantz reminded us that there are always surprises.
Two years ago, he was prepared for a shoot-out. The NFL’s highest-scoring team (the Los Angeles Rams, 33 points a game) faced the third-highest-scoring (the Patriots, 27 a game). This would be wild.
But it wasn’t. After three quarters, the score was 3-3. The Patriots won, 13-3 … the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever.
Most remarkable, Nantz says, is one bizarre fact: In the entire game, there was only one play that started inside the “red zone” (inside the opponent’s 20 yard line).
Things like that happen. In the division championship game, Mahomes had only a so-so 75.9 quarterback rating, before leaving with a concussion; in the conference championship game, Brady saw three straight drives end with interceptions.
Generational talents don’t dominate every game of their generation. This could be the greatest Super Bowl ever. Or not.