Super Bowl LV: Tale of the Tape

Patrick Mahomes (left) and Tom Brady (right) – Credits: Justin Edmonds and Mike Ehrmann (People)

Surprisingly, we made it through a full season of professional football in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Super Bowl LV may be a dream matchup for casual and hardcore football fans. The defending champions, Kansas City Chiefs, face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a star-laden matchup. This game is highlighted by two quarterbacks destined for greatness.

Icon Vs Icon: The Young Buck Against The Savvy Veteran

We are seeing a generational matchup between two football icons. Essentially, this is a matchup between the past and future.

On one side we have Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs with an already stacked resume in his young career. Winning the Season MVP award, holding the Lombardi Trophy, a Super Bowl MVP nod, and passing over 50 touchdowns in a single season are some accolades he has already achieved. Most players in the NFL dream of achieving at least one of those feats in a 15 year career – Mahomes has done all of them in 4.

On the other hand, there is Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A household name that your mom probably knows – and many other casual fans. 21 seasons in the NFL, Brady doesn’t seem to slow down at the ripe age of 43. Most NFL players would have retired around this age (hence, Phillip Rivers and possibly Drew Brees), as their bodies naturally slow down. But for Brady still dominating the league is completely unheard of – especially someone in the late stages of his career. This being his 10th trip to the Super Bowl, Brady cements himself as the winningest quarterback in the history of the National Football League.

Any comparisons you want to make between these two: Ali versus Frazier, Pacquiao versus Mayweather, The Rock versus John Cena, Lebron James versus Kobe Bryant – the list goes on. We’ve seen an icon versus icon matchup before in sports, but the stakes have never been higher. They are playing for the most prestigious prize in American sports – The Super Bowl, baby!

All I’m saying is, expect an offensive slugfest between these two juggernauts.

The Narratives: Silencing the Critics

Of course, the media will heavily focus on these two NFL superstars until the game is conceded. Not only is the chip on the line but legacy as well.

Tony Romo, former Dallas Cowboy quarterback and CBS sports analyst, puts it best: “The fact that Mahomes is somehow in this discussion as the GOAT shows you how amazing this guy is. There’s a chance for Mahomes playing this game, to climb the ladder. If Mahomes wins, he keeps that door open. If Brady wins, I don’t know how anyone can top him.”

A win here from the Chiefs will assert their dominance over the league for many years to come – as we witness one of the greatest dynasties in the history of the NFL. But not only that, this outcome will be one of those “passing of the torch” moments in sports. Brady, a living legend, hands the keys over to Mahomes as the face of the NFL. Said best by Ric Flair, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man!”

Credit: Steven Senne – AP Photo (MassLive)

If Brady wins, he proves his critics wrong about his time in New England. Scrutinized as a “system quarterback” throughout his career, people heralded Bill Belichick for creating a formidable team in the past two decades. Since 2001, Brady has achieved: 9 Super Bowl trips, a NFL Season MVP, over 74,000 yards passing, and 14 Pro Bowl nods all under Bill Belichick.

Even though Belichick may be responsible for Brady’s successes, this year has already proven otherwise for The Patriots who finished 7-9 for the season and missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

No stranger to critics, Brady has proved time and time again to shut them up. He is already the winningest quarterback in NFL history, but a win here cements him as the greatest football player of all time.

Legacy is on the line for both sides, so expect a great show on February 7th in Tampa Bay.

Jeff Dominguez is the Communications Director for The Sting

Zooming Through the End of the World

Photo: Yahoo

Back in March, when the University of Baltimore decided to transition from in-person to remote learning, I was optimistic. As someone who’s spent most of their teens and early-twenties glued to a computer screen, I didn’t think Zoom would be so bad. I thought it might even be a bit freeing, not having to get ready for school and drive to campus every day. UB’s decision came over spring break, and I think many of my MFA cohort members saw it a bit like an extended reprieve from campus. Most of us are introverts anyway. How bad could it be, really?

Fast forward seven months—I’ve been doing remote learning for three semesters now. I’ve been mostly out of work since March, but oddly enough I still feel like a bartender, thanks to Zoom. Every day I spend on it feels like I’m being held captive by some drunk at the bar who won’t stop talking. It forces me to nod and smile and make nice and hope that, at some point, I can slip away to the bathroom unnoticed. Zoom fatigue has settled in, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Some professors have been quite gracious about remote learning. They understand that these are unprecedented times. And yes, I did just say “unprecedented,” because like Zoom that damn phrase is also inescapable. They build breaks into class sessions, they don’t scold you for turning your camera off in case you don’t want to force others to watch you eat or be forced to have others watch you eat, they get it when you need to get up and attend to an animal or a child or a roommate, and I lump them all together because unless they get Zoom, they will interrupt you whenever they need something. 

Other professors, like one I had at the beginning of the state lockdown, are trying quite hard to pretend that we aren’t in the midst of a pandemic, that democracy isn’t collapsing around us, and that the world isn’t literally on fire (okay, WORLD may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get it). They want your face in class and your full attention, regardless of what’s going on in or outside the walls of your dwelling. And that intensifies my apprehension of Zoom. It invites a distinct, new stressor into the one place that’s supposed to be safe from that—home. 

Allyson Waldon, a student in the MFA program, also wonders about other ramifications of Zoom learning. “We have already considered what too much screen time does to kinds’ brains, but what about adults?” Seriously though, what about us? Is it any surprise that no one wants to be on a Zoom session from 5:30-8:00pm, two, three, or more nights a week? Many students have turned to drinking during class to just get through the sessions (myself included). We just don’t have the emotional bandwidth.

“I’m tired of classes not being adapted to this eternal digital hellscape and also being forced to remain mostly on camera for two consecutive hours,” says Sierra Farrare, another MFA student. I hear her. I’m so tired of so much. And I’m tired of people who aren’t in college asking me “How’s school going?” What should I say? “It’s going great! I love staring into a screen for hours on end, several days a week, watching my cohort members watch me back while we all attempt astral projection to escape this hell that is our reality.” Look, if this all sounds a bit abrasive, I’m not sorry. I’m freaking exhausted. I’m Zoom fatigued, and so are my classmates.

Tatiana Huang is a staff writer for The Sting