Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) taunts Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs’ Antoine Winfield Jr. fined for SB taunting

The NFL has fined Tampa Bay defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. $7,815 for taunting Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill during Super Bowl LV last week, according to NFL Network.

Winfield held up two fingers in a peace sign directed at Hill with the Buccaneers comfortably ahead late in the game. It mimics the signature gesture Hill frequently uses against defenders that he left in his rearview mirror.

That includes a Week 12 meeting between the teams when Hill racked up 269 yards and three touchdowns. Hill flashed the peace sign at Winfield as he ran past him in that game and also embarrassed the Buccaneers by back-flipping into the end zone on one of his touchdowns.

That game apparently stuck with Winfield.

“He back-flipped in front of my face, gave me the peace sign. So it was only right that I gave the peace sign right back to him,” Winfield said after the Bucs’ 31-9 win last Sunday.

“It felt amazing to be able to do that, not even gonna lie.”

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is pressures by Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Patrick Mahomes to have surgery for turf toe

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will have surgery Wednesday to repair a turf toe injury, multiple outlets reported.

He is expected to miss most of the team’s offseason work but be ready to go by training camp, per NFL Network and ESPN.

Mahomes injured his left big toe in the first quarter of the 22-17 divisional playoff victory against the Cleveland Browns on Jan. 17.

He had one of the worst games of his NFL career in Sunday’s 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, completing 26 of 49 passes for 270 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed five times for 33 yards and was sacked three times.

Mahomes’ 52.3 passer rating was the lowest of the 25-year-old’s four-year career, spanning 46 regular-season starts and eight postseason starts.

–Field Level Media

Jan 31, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; A general view of signage for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs: Cannons to stay silent at Super Bowl

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not hear the familiar sounds of cannons firing at Raymond James Stadium when they play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in Super Bowl LV.

Tampa Bay is the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. But the Buccaneers announced Tuesday that they would keep the cannons silent during the upcoming big game.

“The firing of the cannons after big plays is a tradition that defines what it means to be a Buccaneer fan and serves as a signature element of our home game experience at Raymond James Stadium,” the team said in a statement. “However, we also acknowledge and understand the NFL’s position with regards to maintaining the integrity of a neutral site atmosphere for Super Bowl LV. While the cannons may not fire in their typical fashion, we look forward to showcasing parts of our tradition while working within the league’s guidelines.”

The cannons are located within a pirate ship in one of the stadium’s end zones. They typically fire every time the Buccaneers score.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid speaks to quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) in the first half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid would join elite company by winning SB LV

The way Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes sees it, he and coach Andy Reid get a chance to check off two accomplishments with a win on Sunday in Super Bowl LV in Tampa.

“To go out there and get to have a chance to repeat and get to do it against the best, I mean, it’s something special and I’m excited for the opportunity,” he said.

Mahomes and Reid’s goal of winning the Super Bowl and denying Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady his seventh one in the process would put Mahomes and Reid in elite company.

Mahomes and Reid would be the first quarterback-coach duo to win consecutive Super Bowls since Brady and Bill Belichick led the New England Patriots to titles in 2003-04 seasons.

Mahomes would join Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw (twice), Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and John Elway as quarterbacks who’ve back-to-back Super Bowl crowns. Each of them is enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The comparisons between Mahomes and Brady really started heating up during the wintry night of Jan. 20, 2019. That’s when Brady rallied the Patriots to a 37-31 win over Mahomes’ Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium to advance to Super Bowl LIII.

Before leaving the stadium, Brady found Mahomes inside the Chiefs locker room and offered him encouragement.

“It kind of just re-emphasized that I was doing things the right way, that I was putting in the right work and that I would have more opportunities to be in these games,” Mahomes said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be in two more of them since and win both of those. So to get to go up against the great [Brady] and a great football team as well, I’m excited for the opportunity.

“The biggest thing Tom said to me was just to stay with the process and keep being who I am. That’s something that’s important. As a guy who’s had so much success every year he’s been in the NFL, he goes out there every single day and treats it like it’s the most important day. That’s something that I’ll try to do for my entire career.”

Reid appreciated the gesture.

“Well, I would say it was unique,” Reid said. “I mean, he didn’t have to do that. He is arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game and he surely didn’t have to come over and say a word. But he did that, and I think for a young quarterback to have somebody of his stature do that, I think was a tremendous gesture and it was heartfelt.

“He didn’t have to do it and he wasn’t putting on a show. There was nobody there to really see it, so it was really just his respect for Pat and in return, Pat’s respect for him.”

Reid can also earn a lot of respect regarding his place among the NFL’s all-time great coaches with a win on Sunday, which likely won’t be possible unless Mahomes plays well.

If the Chiefs win on Sunday, Reid will have two Super Bowl wins, making him one of 10 coaches with exactly two Super Bowl titles. Of the nine men who have two titles, five – Don Shula, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson and Vince Lombardi — received the call from Canton. The other four — Tom Flores, George Seifert, Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan — are on the outside looking in though Flores is the Coach Finalist and could earn induction on Saturday.

Mahomes said the Chiefs have been focused on winning Super Bowl LV since the season’s outset.

“Instead of soaking in all the glory of winning the Super Bowl last year,” Mahomes said, “we went back to work every single day to make ourselves better and to prepare ourselves for every single situation that could arise and it put us in this game.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor (57) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Report: QB Josh Allen fined $15K for flipping ball at opponent

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was fined $15,000 by the NFL for flipping the ball at Kansas City defensive end Alex Okafor after Okafor sacked him during the Chiefs’ 38-24 win in the AFC title game last week, NFL Network reported Saturday.

After being hit by the ball, Okafor stood over Allen while yelling at him. Bills guard Jon Feliciano took offense and shoved Okafor. Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins also went after Okafor, as all four players earned unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the play.

Feliciano and Dawkins were each fined $10,000 for their actions, while Okafor wasn’t penalized monetarily, according to the report.

“The way it ended doesn’t sit right with me with how chippy and ticky tack it got. I’m disappointed in myself,” Allen said, via Matt Parrino of Syracuse.com. “I let my emotions get to me there. That’s not how you’re supposed to play football.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 24, 2021, Green Bay, WI, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) exalts during the presentation off the George Halas Trophy after  their NFC Championship game Sunday, January 24, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Green Bay Packers 31-26. Mandatory credit: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

Super man at Super Bowl? Can Brady do it again?

Tom Brady will be trying to earn more than just his seventh Lombardi Trophy when he leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium: He’ll be trying to become his own dynasty.

At 43, Brady is one victory away from proving his ability to win titles isn’t tied to a single franchise or a sure-fire Hall of Fame coach. He’s a win from proving he’s strong enough to go anywhere and emerge triumphant.

After all, he has already proven he can lead fourth-quarter comebacks on the game’s grandest stage, and showed that being down by 25 points late in the third quarter of a Super Bowl means next to nothing.

Brady has turned Tampa — a professional football wasteland for decades — into the undisputed sports capital of the U.S. today. The city in western Florida is home to the reigning Stanley Cup champion Lightning and the American League champion Rays, and is a win away from filling the streets of Ybor City with confetti.

Tampa Bay is hosting the Super Bowl, the first one where a team will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy on its own home field.

Brady turned New England, which had never won a Super Bowl, from a mediocre franchise when he arrived in 2000 into a six-time champion worth $4.4 billion, second in the NFL behind the Cowboys, when he left, according to Forbes.

Now, he has taken a Buccaneers franchise that had gone 267-424-1 for a .387 winning percentage — the worst among North American pro sports teams — in the 44 seasons before he arrived to just their second Super Bowl and first since winning it in 2003. Since then, the Buccaneers didn’t win a playoff game — until their savior arrived.

Speaking after Sunday’s NFC title game, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians referred to the “belief (Brady) gave everybody in this organization that it could be done. It only took one man.”

But standing in Tampa Bay’s way is a quarterback who has won a Super Bowl more recently than Brady — Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. He’s looking to become the first quarterback to lead his team to back-to-back Super Bowl titles since you-know-who did it with the Patriots in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX in 2004 and 2005.

“We just have to be ourselves,” Mahomes said after beating Buffalo. “I trust my guys over everybody.”

The Super Bowl odds opened with Kansas City as a 3.5-point favorite and an over/under of 57.5 points at FanDuel, which has set money lines for Kansas City at -186 and Tampa at +145.

Between now and kickoff, expect a blitz of storylines and statistics to sift through before deciding where to focus your wagers.

Here are two things you need to know.

Any list of potential history-makers at Super Bowl LV must have Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill near the top, so take a close look at his over/under for receptions and yards for prop bets.

Hill will take the field at Raymond James Stadium seeking to become just the ninth receiver in league history to be named to The Associated Press’ All-Pro First Team and win the Super Bowl in the same season. It’s a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Indianapolis’ Marvin Harrison in 2006.

Of the eight players who have done it, five — Jerry Rice (1988, 1989, 1994), John Stallworth (1979), Lynn Swann (1978), Paul Warfield (1973) and Harrison — are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Gary Clark (1987), Drew Pearson (1977) and Cliff Branch (1976) had very, very good careers.

Tampa Bay gave up 346 passing yards to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in its win in the NFC title game.

Hill torched Tampa Bay for 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns on 15 targets in the teams’ regular-season meeting less than two months ago.

Hill made seven catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone, joining Qadry Ismail (210 in the third quarter on Dec. 12, 1999) and Lee Evans (205 in the first quarter on Nov. 19, 2006) as the only NFL receivers since 1980 to have 200 receiving yards in a quarter.

What does Kansas City’s 27-24 win at Tampa Bay in late November really mean as it relates to Super Bowl LV? Everything? Or nothing?

On four occasions, the eventual AFC and NFC champions met during the regular season.

In 1990, the Bills beat the Giants, 17-13, in Week 15, but then Scott Norwood happened in Super Bowl XXV.

In 1993, the Bills went to Dallas and won, 13-10, in Week 2, only to see the Cowboys crush Buffalo in the Super Bowl for the second straight season, 30-13.

And then there’s the Brady factor, of course.

In 2007, his undefeated Patriots beat the Giants, 38-35, in Week 17. A few weeks later, David Tyree’s catch happened and the Giants won Super Bowl XLII.

In 2011, Brady’s Patriots lost at home to the Giants, 24-20, in the regular season and fell to New York again, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI.

–Jon Gallo, Field Level Media

Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) celebrates with offensive tackle Eric Fisher (72) after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs lose OT Eric Fisher to Achilles injury

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher sustained an Achilles injury during Sunday’s 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills AFC Championship Game and did not return.

Fisher, 30, has appeared in 117 games (113 starts) since the Chiefs selected him No. 1 overall out of Central Michigan in 2013. He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who started 15 games this season while protecting the blind side of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The loss of Fisher could create major problems for the Chiefs, who already are without right tackle Mitchell Schwartz because of a back injury. Mike Remmers has moved into a starting role to replace Schwartz, and Martinas Rankin is likely to start in place of Fisher if needed.

Rankin, 26, started one game during the regular season in his second campaign with the Chiefs. Overall, he has appeared in 23 games, starting 10, in three seasons since the Houston Texans selected him in the third round out of Mississippi State in 2018.

The Chiefs also lost safety L’Jarius Sneed, who was placed in concussion protocol and ruled out for the rest of the game.

–Field Level Media