Ultimate quarterback showdown as Tom Brady battles Mahomes: Super Bowl guide

Brady and Tampa Bay face holders the Kanas City Chiefs on home turf this Sunday
Ultimate quarterback showdown as Tom Brady battles Mahomes: Super Bowl guide

Tom Brady has guided Tampa Bay to a home Super Bowl this weekend.

THERE'S always been a huge interest in Tom Brady on this side of the Atlantic.

He's the centre of attention this weekend again, aiming to lift the Super Bowl for the seventh time, on this occasion with Tampa Bay instead of the New England Patriots. Brady's status as the GOAT, that American term that has entered the sporting lexicon everywhere, would be reinforced with another triumph.

He's already excelled in recent weeks, winning three games on the road including at New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, though he'd a shaky second half in Wisconsin. The reward is a home Super Bowl, making the Bucs the first team to host the famous game.

Man United and Tampa owner Malcolm Glazer will be presented with the Super Bowl before the team gets their hands on it if they're victorious, an Americanism if ever there was one.

To inspire the Buccaneers to a first victory since 2003, Brady will have to outgun the most talented player of the new generation in Patrick Mahomes, the swashbuckling MVP of the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Patrick Mahomes on the move. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Patrick Mahomes on the move. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It promises to be an epic showdown between two brilliant playmakers, even if they'll never share the field, in another quirk of the sport.

The greatest quarterback of all-time, Brady was front and centre of the NFL when Sky Sports' coverage led to an explosion of interest in American football. That Brady was starring for a Boston team that regularly landed the Super Bowl made him the face of the sport.

Of course, he rubs plenty of Irish sports fans up the wrong way too. 

With his all-American good looks and an utterly ruthless approach to winning under coach Bill Belichick, who always reminds me of Cork hurling guru Donal O'Grady, many will tune in this weekend hoping to see Brady lose.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Picture: Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Picture: Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Despite his status as a living legend, Brady gets plenty of flak.

There was the infamous Deflategate in 2014 when Brady got suspended after the Pats were accused of tampering with footballers to gain an advantage in a win over fierce rivals the Indianapolis Colts.

His friendship with Donald Trump, though he never endorsed the former US President politically, wasn't too popular over here. And Trump's strong links to Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn't help in that regard.

Brady had a major influence on Tampa Bay recruiting Antonio Brown for the season, despite the talented but troubled wide receiver's well-documented issues, including domestic disputes. 

You could view it as a tale of redemption for Brown, or of the NFL's double standards given Colin Kaepernick was ostracised for taking a knee during the national anthem.

That's all background noise for Brady of course. He's singularly focused on winning. It's why he took the chance to leave Boston for the Buccaneers, which led former Patriots comrade Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement to join him.

Turning 44 in August, Brady's sustained brilliance is incredible. 

Tom Brady fires a pass for Tampa Bay. Picture: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Tom Brady fires a pass for Tampa Bay. Picture: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As superfit as Seán Óg Óg Ó hAilpín looks on the sideline with Na Piarsaigh, you couldn't imagine him anchoring the Cork hurlers this season at that age. Brady's longevity is as staggering as his haul of rings.

Joe Montana, the lethal QB with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s, is the only comparable player to Brady. He lifted the Super Bowls four times but his 16 wins in the play-offs pale in comparison to Brady's 33. 

He puts down his ongoing excellence to Alex Guerrero, his personal trainer who offers spiritual, physical and nutritional advice and is cynically viewed in some quarters. Whatever Guerrero offers, it's effective.

After three Super Bowls in his first four seasons up to 2005, Brady and the Pats came close to the perfect season in 2007-'08, beaten late on by the New York Giants. They lost to them again in the Super Bowl four years later but he wasn't done.

Instead, Brady kept firing touchdowns and New England made four Super Bowls in five seasons from 2015 to '19, winning three. That included a breathtaking comeback from 25 points down against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tom Brady in his last game with New England. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Tom Brady in his last game with New England. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Yet he looked his age in his last season in Boston, even if he'd a weak team around him. With Mahomes and the Chiefs replacing them as champions, the torch appeared to have passed.

Nobody then could have predicted a Super Bowl clash of these amazing gunslingers. In the regular season, Kansas City were 27-24 victors, but Tampa came down from 17 points in arrears, almost snatching the win and are unbeaten in seven games since.

Perhaps an omen for Brady this Sunday.

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