And then, there were only two. With Championship Weekend in the books, the participants of Super Bowl 55 are set: the Kansas City Chiefs, themselves reigning world champions, will represent the AFC; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — led by long-time New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — emerged victorious from the NFC.
Before looking ahead at what projects to be a high-scoring title game, however, let’s take a look back at the two games that took place on Sunday.
AFC Championship Game
- #2 Buffalo Bills (15-3) 24 : 38 #1 Kansas City Chiefs (16-2)
Even though the visiting Bills started well into their first championship game since the early 1990s, Kansas City was eventually able to take a decisive lead into the half. After falling behind 9-0 in the first quarter, the Chiefs scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to secure a 21-12 lead at intermission.
The second half was more of the same. After exchanging field goals, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce connected for two touchdowns to pull away. While Buffalo did add nine more points in the fourth period, it was too little too late: Kansas City was able to celebrate its second straight AFC title, and berth in the Super Bowl — all while a strong Bills season comes to an end in the third playoff round.
NFC Championship Game
- #5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-5) 31 : 26 #1 Green Bay Packers (15-3)
Tom Brady’s 14th championship appearance ended with his unprecedented 10th Super Bowl ticket in hand. The greatest quarterback of all time started the game at the top-seeded Packers very well, throwing three touchdown passes while helping the Buccaneers to a 28-10 lead in the early third period. However, Green Bay came back into the contest — in part due to three interceptions thrown by Brady in the second half.
But even though likely league MVP Aaron Rodgers led his team within five points late in the third quarter, the Packers failed to take the lead: the Tampa Bay defense made enough stops, while Brady and Co. ran out the clock. As a result, the 43-year-old will now play in his first ever Super Bowl while in the NFC — trying to win his seventh ring in his new home stadium.
Super Bowl 55
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Kansas City Chiefs: Sunday, February 7, 6:30pm ET (CBS/CBSSports.com/CBS All Access)
Super Bowl 55 in Tampa Bay — the first time the title game takes place in the home stadium of one of the participants — will feature numerous high-profile matchups and plenty of star power. However, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes will naturally shine brightest: the past and future of the quarterback position meeting in the present with a Super Bowl on the line.
While Brady will try to win his first title as a Buccaneer and seventh overall, Mahomes and his team will attempt to become the first team to defend its title since the Patriots of the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Those New England teams, of course, were led by none other than Tom Brady himself.