The last three Super Bowls have been dominated by the presence of one man and one franchise. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have been a nearly insurmountable hurdle to any team's championship aspirations for the majority of the 2000's. These last three years have largely just been icing on the cake for one of the game's all-time great quarterbacks, his hoodie-enthusiast mastermind coach, and a franchise that has grown accustom to playing professional football in February.
This year was different though. The usually ineffable Brady appeared more human, and the entire offense sputtered throughout the season. Bill Belichick led the Patriots defense to new heights in order to push them firmly into Super Bowl contention, but it wasn't enough to offset a down year for the typically high-powered offense.
Now, we're looking at the first Super Bowl since Peyton Manning's final championship run to feature a player under center for the AFC who doesn't sport the number 12.
Luckily for fans, that shouldn't dampen the quality of the game one bit this season. Super Bowl LIV has it all. A coach desperately searching for his first taste of glory, a young hotshot quarterback, blistering defenses, and an underdog team nobody saw coming this year.
Tom Brady's shadow may still loom large over the NFL, both in his absence and impending free agency, but the spotlight will solely be on the amazing squads fielded by the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers come this Sunday.