These days it takes a lot of effort to convince oneself that things will ever change, that our culture will ever advance, or that anything good will ever happen again. What if this is it? What if all we have to look forward to is the same, warmed-over shit being shoveled into our mouths day after day?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl by blowing out the Chiefs, 31-9. They were led to victory by 43-year-old quarterback Tom Brady, who has now won seven Super Bowls in 10 trips. Brady also earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP award by throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He was aided by un-retired tight end and longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski, who led the Bucs with 67 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Even Antonio Brown chipped in with five catches and a first-half touchdown.
The Buccaneers’ defense did all the hard work of plowing over and through the Chiefs’ patchwork offensive line and turning Kansas City’s offense into the Midwest Jets. Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul had Patrick Mahomes sprinting straight backwards about as often as he was throwing downfield; Lavonte David and Devin White erased Travis Kelce from the game; Antoine Winfield Jr. and the rest of the secondary never gave Tyreek Hill any space in which to catch the ball. If you’re looking for a concrete explanation of how this Super Bowl got so out of hand, you need only look as far as the mismatch in defenses.
If you’re looking for something a little more abstract to hang this result on, I offer up the power of stubborn, mercenary football. The Bucs just spent an entire season spitting on the idea that championships are won through the meticulous development of talent and culture, and that all sorts of hazy, alchemical intangibles must be achieved before a team can become a Championship Organization. To hell with all that, said the Bucs. We’ll just sign every lame shithead we can think of and kill the NFL’s biggest darling.
The Bucs aren’t anyone’s idea of a feel-good Super Bowl champion, save for maybe Florida residents who have always rooted for the Yankees and find Goodfellas to be aspirational. The rest of us are just stuck watching these fucking guys—between commercial breaks featuring characters from movies we enjoyed as kids shilling soda or life insurance—rub it in our faces one more time. We all get to go to bed tonight with the image of Tom Brady’s rictus smile in our heads, having been reminded that in this life nothing charmless and exhausting ever goes away before it’s good and ready.