More than the Lombardi Trophy will be handed out at Super Bowl LV in Tampa: legacies, dynasties and places among the all-time greats will be there for the taking.
For the winners, the prizes go beyond money and rings, while the losers are dealt blemishes that could haunt them for years, if not ultimately prevent them from securing their places in history.
In Field Level Media’s two-part series of which players and coaches have the most to gain and lose, we listed the five who have the most to win previously; here are five who have the most to lose at Super Bowl LV.
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
The fact he’s on this list and not the other one is a testament to his talent and potential.
It’s rare that an athlete in any sport has the chance to become the greatest ever at his or her position, but that’s where Mahomes finds himself.
League MVP: Check.
First-Team All-Pro: Check.
Super Bowl champion and the game’s MVP: Check and Check.
He has a real shot to be considered the greatest quarterback ever: Wait a minute.
If the Buccaneers win on Sunday, Tom Brady will have seven titles, six more than Mahomes and more than any other NFL franchise.
Let’s say for argument’s sake that Brady doesn’t win another one, which is far from a given.
That means Mahomes would have to win six Super Bowls to tie Brady, seven to top him in the record book.
From the time he won his first in 2002, it took Brady 18 years to win six titles so he averaged a one every three seasons – and he also missed the 2008 season due to an injured knee.
Let’s use the same math for 25-year-old Mahomes. He will also need 18 years, meaning Mahomes will be 43 in 2039 when he theoretically ties Brady, who turns 44 in August.
In the end, Super Bowl titles could very well between difference-maker between Brady and Mahomes.
The Mahomes-Brady debate could mirror the LeBron James–Michael Jordan debate. Both fanbases argue about statistics and individual awards … and then Jordan’s backers point to His Airness’ six titles to LeBron’s four.
Andy Reid, Chiefs
The Chiefs’ leader can’t punch his ticket to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a victory on Sunday, but a loss could be damming.
If the Chiefs win on Sunday, Reid will have two Super Bowl wins, making him one of 10 coaches with 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.
Reid has 221 wins, sixth-most all-time, and the five coaches in front of him are all in the Hall of Fame.
But here is where it gets tricky for Reid: He’s 17-14 in the playoffs with five losses in conference championship games. His 17 playoffs win are tied with Joe Gibbs for fourth-most all-time behind Bill Belichick (31), Landry (20) and Don Shula (19), but Reid’s .548 winning ranks 39th all-time and if it drops to .531 with a loss to the Buccaneers, it will be ranked 43rd, just below John Fox.
Reid turns 63 in March and signed a six-year contract extension in November that could keep him in Kansas City through 2025. But how much longer does he have left, really?
If the Chiefs beat Tampa and then win another under Reid’s watch giving him three titles, he’s headed to Canton.
He’ll be among five coaches have won at least three Super Bowls – Gibbs, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh and Belichick. The first three are in the Hall of Fame; it’s just a matter of time before the man in the hoodie joins them.
Bruce Arians, Buccaneers
If Arians can’t win a Super Bowl with Brady, will he ever win one as a head coach?
At 68 years and 127 days on Super Bowl Sunday, he’d be the oldest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.
He’s said he has no plans to retire regardless of what happens Sunday, but his coaching record has been far from spectacular.
In seven seasons as head coach with Arizona and Tampa, he’s gone 67-44 and 4-2 in the playoffs, with three of those wins coming this year.
Ryan Succop, Buccaneers
The kicker’s 12 NFL seasons are trumped only by Brady’s 21 on the Buccaneers’ roster, yet he has never come close to playing the Super Bowl.
He ended last season on IR for the Titans, who lost to the Chiefs in the AFC title game.
He spent his first five seasons with the Chiefs (2009-2013) before joining Tennessee (2014-2019).
Succop’s playing under a one-year contract with the Buccaneers and at age 34, this might be his first, and only chance, to win a title.
Le’Veon Bell, Chiefs
There’s a chance the running back could be calling it a career if he doesn’t play well on Sunday.
The Chiefs signed Bell to a one-year contract worth as much as $1 million to support first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Bell had just two carries for six yards in the divisional round against the Cleveland Browns before missing the AFC title game with a knee injury.
In 11 games this season with the Jets or Chiefs, Bell has rushed for 328 yards and two touchdowns on 82 carries, an average of four yards per attempt.
Bell, who is a two-time AP first-team All-Pro and a three-time Pro Bowler, doesn’t have a contract past this season.
He’s very likely playing for one in Super Bowl LV.
–By Jon Gallo, Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)