FMIA: Deconstructing Super Bowl LV And The 5 Bucs Plays That Shaped It

Super Bowl LV
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Where to begin? Let’s do the state of football, in a boldface way: Two great ones lost: Terez Paylor (journalism) and Marty Schottenheimer (coaching). I am heartbroken for the future of our business; Paylor, 37, was going to be a giant, and for a long time. Tom Brady, talking to the Bucs in the locker room before [more]

FMIA Super Bowl LV: Strange Season, Normal Result—Tom Brady Wins His Seventh Title, Leads Bucs Over Chiefs

NFL: FEB 07 Super Bowl LV - Chiefs v Buccaneers
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TAMPA, Fla. — “Hey dude,” Bruce Arians said to Tom Brady as confetti fell on their world champion heads Sunday night. “You remember our first conversation?” “Vividly,” Brady said. “Me too,” Arians said. “ ‘You come, and we’ll win the Super Bowl.’ “ He came, he saw, he conquered . . . even though so [more]

FMIA: Spotlight Shines On Tampa Defense Ahead Of Super Bowl LV; Inside The Rams-Lions QB Swap

Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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No one will think much of the first meeting of the Super Bowl LV combatants, Kansas City and Tampa Bay, by looking at the final score. Nine weeks ago, in the same stadium that will host this year’s Big Game, the Chiefs beat the Bucs 27-24. But this was the best Patrick Mahomes–Tyreek Hill game [more]

FMIA: Ten For Tom—Brady Heading Back To Another Super Bowl, Bringing Buccaneers To Meet Chiefs In Tampa

NFC Championship - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers
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Tom Brady can’t quite grasp it, and if he can’t, how can we? Ten Super Bowl appearances in 19 years as an NFL starting quarterback, dwarfing modern-era megastars. Michael Jordan made it to the NBA finals six times in 15 seasons. Wayne Gretzky, six times in the Stanley Cup finals in 20 seasons. Derek Jeter, [more]

FMIA Divisional Round: Chiefs Prove HenneThing Is Possible, Beat Browns

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
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When it was over, and when Kansas City backup quarterback Chad Henne floated back to the locker room after the biggest five-yard completion of his life—and quite likely the biggest five-yard completion in franchise history—Patrick Mahomes was waiting. Congrats all around after Kansas City survived over Cleveland 22-17 to advance to its third straight AFC [more]

FMIA: How The Browns—And A Guy Named Blake—Survived Weird Wild-Card Week And Upset The Steelers

Wild Card Round - Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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On Heinz Field Sunday night, after Cleveland won its first playoff game in 26 years, wide receiver Jarvis Landry was being shepherded to a post-game radio interview by the Browns’ media man, Peter John-Baptiste. Landry stopped. “Wait!” he said. Landry said, “I gotta talk to coach. Now. I need to see him.” After one of [more]

FMIA Week 17: Odd Season Ends On Weirder Note, a Wild-Card Peek and 20 People Who Defined NFL In 2020

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This was the 37th NFL regular season I’ve covered. It was the weirdest, of course, and not a single other one was close for second place. Washington and Philadelphia played in Week 1, with Dwayne Haskins’ season of great promise beginning in the nation’s capital, and Carson Wentz primed to continue his ascent to consistent [more]

FMIA Week 16: Improbably, Cowboys, Bears Eye Playoffs After ’20 Disasters

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When Dallas coach Mike McCarthy boarded the Cowboys’ charter flight at BWI Airport outside of Baltimore early on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 9, he tried to get his mind right for the short week ahead. The COVID-related delay of the game in Baltimore pushed the game, a 34-17 beatdown from the Ravens, from Thursday [more]

FMIA Week 15: How Buffalo Built Its Way Back To The Top Of The AFC East

Buffalo Bills v Denver Broncos
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A couple weeks ago, after practice, the two longest-tenured Buffalo Bills sat in the locker room, suitably spaced out, discussing what seemed impossible. Long-snapper Reid Ferguson, on the Bills practice squad when Sean McDermott was named coach in January 2017, told defensive end Jerry Hughes, the only active player left on the roster from that [more]

FMIA Week 14: The Beauty of Jalen Hurts; the Ugly Truth in Pittsburgh

New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles
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Smile broadly, Doug Pederson. Pump your fist and get gleeful, Jalen Hurts. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a gigantic win—Philly’s 24-21 stunner over New Orleans in Hurts’ starting debut—greeted with such . . . caution? It sure wasn’t joy. I get that Pederson knows he may have to rebuild Wentz from the ground up [more]

FMIA Week 13: After Stunning The Seahawks, Giants Have NFL Thinking They Might Be A Problem In January

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Five things that early in the 2020 season you never expected to see in the NFL in the first week of December: • The Giants taking over first place in the NFC East without Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, winning in Seattle, winning four straight . . . and people actually starting to think, You [more]

FMIA Week 12: COVID Wreaks Havoc on the NFL, But What Did We Expect?

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In chilly Owings Mills, Md., Sunday evening, on the bucolic grounds of the Baltimore Ravens training center, the strangest week in recent NFL history was beginning to wind down. A voluntary conditioning workout was underway, with maybe half the non-COVID-positive players on the team. The reality of the 2020 NFL season was setting in for anyone [more]

FMIA Week 11: Patrick Mahomes and the Moments Competitors Love; Alex Smith and the Spirit of Thanksgiving

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What a Sunday. In some order: Derrick Henry steamrolls the skidding Ravens (again) Carson Wentz is lost at sea (and on Lake Erie) Poor Joe Burrow The Steelers are 10-0 and the ’72 Fins are getting nervous Taysom Hill slam-dunks the haters Tuamania, paused The Cowboys have a pulse Colts stymie Rodgers And by the [more]

FMIA Week 10: Inside The Hail Murray And How The Cardinals Got It Done

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Remember last spring, in Franchise Receiver Lotto, when Buffalo made the big trade for Stefon Diggs and Arizona paid far less to deal for DeAndre Hopkins? Referendum time Sunday in the desert. When Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen made a spot-on throw and Diggs laid out for an end-zone catch with 34 seconds left, the Bills [more]

FMIA Week 9: Saints Expose Bitter Truth About Buccaneers In Blowout

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There’s a new president (seemingly), the best Steeler start in their 88-season history, a boffo/weird Sunday-nighter, and Patrick Mahomes doing the absurdly kind of dominant things his political mentor, LeBron James, did at 25. But a moment, please, for Alex Trebek, the Jeopardy! host for 36 years, who died of pancreatic cancer Sunday morning at [more]