A Dose of Opinion

Analyzing Super Bowl LV and the Impending Offseason

March 8, 2021

Super Bowl 55 was speculated by many to be a splendid matchup between the wiser, more experienced Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the electrifying Kansas City Chiefs in a thrilling showdown for the ages. In reality, the game we watched was a total beatdown from the Bucs. The Tampa defense stifled the typically dominant Chiefs’ offense, while Tom Brady and his offense took advantage of penalties to demoralize the Kansas City Chiefs and eliminate their possibility of winning back-to-back Super Bowls. As a result, the game was a blowout by the end of the first half. Despite the devastating loss, the Chiefs should look towards their bright future, as most of the team’s superstar talent will remain next year, including Patrick Mahomes, who is under contract for the Chiefs until 2031.

Coming into the Super Bowl, most predictions expected the Chiefs to come out on top in a war between two potent offenses, but for the Kansas City Chiefs, everything went awry. Without either starting offensive tackle -- as usual starters Eric Fisher (*injury*) and Mike Remmers (*injury*) were both out to injury-- franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes was left scrambling like a deer being hunted down by a pack of hungry wolves. Even then, Mahomes sometimes still managed to heave up a miraculous throw mid-air, just for the ball to slip through the hands of his receivers like butter. On the defensive side of the ball, no sign of effort was found; after critical stops were called back due to penalties (including a critical interception by Tyrann Mathieu that was reversed due to a holding call, the team failed to catch any breaks, literally and metaphorically.

After the NFL season officially ends, teams look to make upgrades to their team through trades, free agency, or the NFL draft. During trades, teams who choose to move on with a player may trade him to another team for other compensation, such as picks for the upcoming NFL draft, or other players. None of these trades become official until March 17th, but teams have already begun making unofficial trades, such as with former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Carson Wentz, who is now on the Indianapolis Colts. After the Eagles netted an abysmal 4-11-1 record during the 2020-2021 season, the team not only decided to move on with their head coach Doug Pederson, but also with Wentz after the worst statistical season of his career. Carson Wentz hopes to reignite his career by signing with a team that has a supporting cast to help him succeed, and he will be reuniting with his old coach, Frank Reich, who coached him during his best seasons. The Eagles will likely move forward with Jalen Hurts as the starting quarterback in order to compete with this generation of newer, more mobile quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray.

If a team chooses to move on from a player in free agency, the player might be able to sign a new contract on a new team. Skill position players, especially quarterbacks, can be found in great abundance, so teams looking for a replacement may look to find veteran talent here. The changing quarterback landscape is something to watch out for in the upcoming months, as three quarterbacks have already been relocated to another team (Matthew Stafford to the Rams, Jared Goff to the Lions, and Carson Wentz to the Colts). However, players like Dak Prescott, Cam Newton and Mitchell Trubisky are also available quarterbacks that could potentially become starters in different cities. However, all eyes are on Deshaun Watson, a disgruntled quarterback unhappy with his current situation on the Houston Texans, looking to be traded away. Regarded as a current top 5 - top 10 quarterback and a prized young talent, the Texans will likely have no option but to trade him, and many teams will make a push to acquire the young franchise quarterback. A player of Watson’s caliber will be costly for a prospective team, but Watson is expected to bring lots of value in return to any team that trades for him.

Teams looking for a fresh new start with a rookie at quarterback or any position, can turn towards the NFL draft from April 29th to May 1st. The order of selection is determined based on the team’s number of wins, with the worst team having the first selection. This year, the selection belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team in dire need of a franchise quarterback. The first pick is assumed to be Trevor Lawrence, the gifted quarterback from Clemson destined to make an impact as soon as he lands in the NFL. The second pick, owned by the New York Jets, is not as clear cut as Lawrence. The Jets drafted quarterback Sam Darnold with the third pick in 2018, but he never has had the chance to exhibit his true potential given the lack of a supporting cast he had in New York. In this NFL draft, the New York Jets, led by new head coach Robert Saleh, could either opt to start fresh with a new quarterback (potentially Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance), or trust Darnold, trading back to get more draft picks for other positions of need.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the progress of the NFL has not slowed. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were Super Bowl champions, but teams will upgrade their arsenals to try and challenge rival Tom Brady and the defending champion Buccaneers. With star players moving to different teams all the time, the football landscape changes every year. Expect other contenders with young talent such as the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens to contest the Chiefs dynasty by picking up steam as teams looking to win now.