Sunday night’s game proved yet again that a regular-season appetizer to a Super Bowl matchup means absolutely nothing.
With the Chiefs losing to the Buccaneers after beating Tampa Bay in Week 12, the team that won round one is now 6-8 in the Super Bowl. (When the AFC team wins in the regular season, it’s now 0-5 in the Roman numeral rematch.)
Beyond the initial game being meaningless, there’s an argument to be made that it’s a detriment to the team that won the first time around. That team will be inclined to do what worked, and not to change it. The team that lost, however, will be ready for that approach, and prepared to counter it.
Charean Williams made a great point on Monday’s PFT PM. The Bucs, in her view, would have lost in the Super Bowl if they hadn’t already had a chance to face the Chiefs. The lessons learned by the Buccaneers in getting burned (especially early) by the Chiefs in Week 12 helped the Tampa Bay defense pivot to something that would be more productive.
The fact that it happened in Week 12, and not in say Week Two, made that game more relevant, the experience fresher.
Whatever happened on that day in November, it worked. The Bucs lost to the Chiefs, entered the bye, emerged from it ready for the stretch run, and won every single game. From 7-5 to 8-0 and a Super Bowl win.