clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

5 Utah storylines to follow in Super Bowl LV

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid during Super Bowl media night, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Chiefs will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55.
Steve Sanders, Kansas City Chiefs via Associated Press

Andy Reid is often a bigger-than-life figure, one that is easy to cheer for as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The affable coach is in the spotlight again this week, as his Chiefs seek to bring home a second straight championship when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV on Sunday (4:30 p.m. MST, CBS).

What will Sunday’s championship game have in store for Reid and a handful of Utah ties?

Can Reid repeat?

Big Red is again in the spotlight in Florida, one year after he won his first Super Bowl ring as an NFL coach. If Kansas City repeats, it will be the first back-to-back champions since the mid-2000s when the Patriots won back-to-back to create a dynasty after earning their first Super Bowl win two years earlier.

It took Reid 21 seasons to win his first title, and now he has a program with one of the game’s top young quarterbacks — reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes — leading a Kansas City team that looks poised to be a Super Bowl contender for years to come.

Reid said the focus this week has been on the task ahead Sunday, not on what a victory would mean for his or the Chiefs’ legacy.

“That’s where you’re at. If you get an extra minute, you watch a little bit more film,” Reid said during media availability Monday. “You make sure you get enough rest, eat the right things and so on. Your mind is on things that are going to directly affect the game, and you want to try and maximize that.”

On Friday, news broke that Reid’s son — Britt Reid, Kansas City’s outside linebackers coach — was involved in a multi-vehicle accident on Thursday night that injured two children. TV station KSHB reported Reid told an officer on the scene he had “two or three drinks,” and a source told the Associated Press that he will not coach in the game Sunday.

“The organization has been made aware of a multi-vehicle accident involving outside linebackers coach Britt Reid,” the Chiefs said in a statement. “We are in the process of gathering information, and we will have no further comment at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.”

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson runs from Los Angeles Chargers safety Alohi Gilman during game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Kansas City. The former Utah State standout is one of three players with ties to the Beehive State who will be gunning for a Super Bowl title on Sunday.
Jeff Roberson, Associated Press

3 players with Utah ties back for another ring

While there are no Utah ties on the Tampa Bay roster, Kansas City has three players on its team who won a ring last year, including two active roster members and another who is on the practice squad.

The most recognizable is former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen. The seven-year NFL veteran who has played every one of his pro seasons in Kansas City started 11 games in the regular season and helps anchor the Chiefs secondary alongside fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu.

Like he did in Kansas City’s Super Bowl playoff run last year, Sorensen has again come up big in the postseason. That included forcing a fumble at the goal line that turned into a touchback in the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over Cleveland, a play that proved vital in Kansas City’s five-point win.

“The locker room and the kind of guys the organization brings in is a very tight-knit family type of environment. We’re as close as any team,” Sorensen said. “A lot of that is the reason for the success that we’ve been able to have is how close that we are as a team.”

Sorensen is trying to become first Cougar to earn his second Super Bowl ring since linebacker Kyle Van Noy won a pair with the Patriots in two of the previous three seasons while playing alongside Tom Brady.

Former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson is back for his sophomore year with Kansas City, and he’s been a reserve in the Chiefs backfield. Former Layton High wide receiver Marcus Kemp is on the team’s practice squad, even after spending part of the year with Miami.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady congratulates Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes after game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.
Jason Behnken, Associated Press

GOAT vs. the future

Speaking of Brady, the quarterback matchup will be a big thing to watch in Super Bowl LV.

Brady — the owner of six Super Bowl rings — is playing in his 10th Super Bowl. This is the second straight for Mahomes, who turned 25 last fall. Brady represents the gold standard for NFL championship-winning quarterbacks — he is a four-time Super Bowl MVP — while Mahomes looks like he’ll have several chances to create his own legacy in the championship game with a Chiefs franchise that’s built an every-year contender under Reid.

Both quarterbacks have bested each other in recent years: Brady handed Mahomes his last playoff loss back in the 2018 postseason, while Mahomes handed Brady his last loss, during Week 12 of the 2020 regular season.

“The Bucs are loaded with their skill positions, obviously that starts with the quarterback. Tom Brady is the best at what he does,” Sorensen said. “... It’ll be a challenge, and a challenge we’re willing to accept.”

Raymond James Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LV, is shown Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 7.
Chris O’Meara, Associated Press

What will a Super Bowl in a pandemic look like?

Last year’s NFL title game happened a little over a month before the pandemic began to shut down and impact the sports world. Now, the Super Bowl will be held in the same state as last year, just about four hours north and west of last year’s locale — Hard Rock Stadium.

Already, Andy Reid has discussed two Chiefs — receiver Demarcus Robinson and center Daniel Kilgore — going on the COVID-19 reserve list ahead of the title game, and is confident in the system the league has in place.

“These guys were being as safe as they could be,” Reid said, per NBC Sports. “We’ll just see how it goes. But the league has built-in rules and regulations, so we follow those, and it’ll all work out. It’ll all work out for them when it’s all said and done.”

A Pittsburgh Steelers fan waves a terrible towel as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Thunderbirds fly over the stadium before the NFL Super Bowl XLIII football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Steelers Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
AP Photo/St. Petersburg Times, Willie Allen Jr.

The last time in Raymond James Stadium

BYU had prominent ties involved in the only other times Raymond James Stadium has hosted the Super Bowl.

In 2009, Arizona lost to Pittsburgh 27-23 in Tampa when Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for a 6-yard touchdown pass right in front of a defender, former Cougars safety Aaron Francisco, who closed in late on the play. Francisco had a tackle and a pass deflection in Super Bowl XLIII, both coming on the Steelers’ game-winning drive.

Two other former BYU players came out on the winning side, though, as defensive linemen Brett Keisel and Chris Hoke earned Super Bowl rings that day with Pittsburgh. Keisel started at defensive end and had five tackles, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery, while Hoke came on in relief. Former Utah guard Chris Kemoeatu also started on the Steelers’ line in the game.

The first time Raymond James Stadium hosted the Super Bowl came in 2001, and that year, former BYU tight end Brian Billick was the head coach for Baltimore when the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.

Reid became the third BYU tie to win a Super Bowl as a head coach with the Chiefs’ win last year, and it was the first since Billick’s win in 2001. Mike Holmgren is the other BYU tie to win a Super Bowl as a head coach, leading Green Bay to the win in 1997.