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jack, duncan smith and phil jones on Zoom during their discussion

Super Bowl LV: MM speaks to fan groups from both teams

When Super Bowl LV kicks off this weekend, the eyes of more than 100 million Americans will turn to Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium.

Following their gaze will be at least 50 million people worldwide, including a sizeable chunk in the UK.

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As the knowledge, passion and size of the fanbase grows on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, so too does the need for clubs to bring together like-minded fans.

Some, like Bucs UK, formed during the NFL’s first boom in popularity in the 1980s. Others, like Arrowheads Abroad, formed during the latest boom in which we find ourselves today.

But regardless of when these clubs were formed, the commitment of their members to teams thousands of miles away is undeniable.

Ahead of Super Bowl LV, Mancunian Matters spoke to Duncan Smart of Arrowheads Abroad and Phil Jones of Bucs UK to try (and fail) to settle some of the debates surrounding the tantalising match-up.

Who’s the better coach? 

DS 
I wouldn’t swap Andy Reid for anything. He’s had a lot of criticism levelled at him over the years, and last year it was important to get the monkey off his back. There was a lot of chat about whether or not he could get a team over the line, whether he was a bottler.

We played in our third consecutive home championship game last week, and the only other team to do that was his Philadelphia Eagles team from a long time ago.

I think the numbers speak for themselves and him getting the ring last year was really important for his legacy. He’s a Hall of Fame lockdown. I do like Bruce Arians. He’s a really good character. But I wouldn’t swap Andy Reid for anything. 

PJ 
I’m a bit biased, but I think we’ve got the better coach.

Andy Reid is a superb coach, he really is. But what Bruce Arians has done is take an annual losing team — we’ve had losing season after losing season — and inside two years we’re at the Super Bowl. We’re not sure how we got there, but we’re there.

He’s transformed a very young team and blended it with veterans, and as the weeks have gone by we’ve looked better and better. But it’s a bit of a mutual admiration society, because I’ve got a lot of time for Andy Reid. There’s not a lot to choose between them. 

Who’s the better quarterback? 

DS 
Currently, without a question, it’s Patrick Mahomes. He does things other quarterbacks can’t do.

Look at the playoffs last year. He was 24 points down to the Houston Texans, 10 points down to the Tennessee Titans, but he stuck the team on his back and hauled them through it. It speaks for itself.

Tom Brady is the GOAT. If Brady wins on Sunday, there’s no way Mahomes can ever overtake him as the GOAT. I just don’t think it can happen. For Brady to be 43 years old, in a different team, in a different conference, in a pandemic season, against Mahomes, I think that’d always count against Mahomes on his record.

Who’s currently better? Patrick Mahomes. Who’s the greatest? I think that’s a different question. 

PJ 

I’m obviously going to say Tom Brady. The man is a complete legend. He’s won six Super Bowls and he’s in his tenth.

He’s brought a winning mentality to the organisation. He’s not only a quarterback. He’s a coach. He knows what he wants and as the weeks have gone by we’ve looked better and better.

But in Kansas they’ve got one of the most talented young quarterbacks I’ve ever seen in my life. If I’m still in here in around 15 years’ time, ask me the same question and I’m not quite sure what the answer will be! 

Other than the quarterbacks, who is going to have the biggest influence on the game? 

DS 
If it gets into an offensive shootout, which Mahomes and Brady have done before, then it’s Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for us.

Kelce has taken his game to another level this year. If he doesn’t win Offensive Player of the Year, I don’t know what the point is in the award. He’s unplayable. 

But part of me thinks it’ll turn into a bit of an arm wrestle, and I think our player to watch is Tyrann Mathieu. I think he’ll be all over the receivers and all over Tom Brady as well. I’ve got Mathieu down as our difference-maker. 

PJ 
I’m on the same wavelength as Duncan in that I think the difference-maker will be in the defence, but which defensive player is going to step up for us?

Devin White, the first-round pick from 2019, has been stepping up in the last few weeks. He’s been all over the place. The only way they’re going to stop Mahomes is by getting to him, and that’s where I think their weak link could be.

On our offence, it could be whoever turns up on the day. We’ve got Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller. We’ve got so many weapons on offence that it’s hard to say which one, but I’ve got a feeling Evans is going for a big game. He’s been promising it for a few weeks now. 

What’s the score going to be? 

DS 
I think 30-17 Chiefs. Like I said, I think it’s going to be an arm wrestle. It’ll be tight and it’ll be ugly. We’ll be 23-17 up in the last minute and I’m predicting a Tyrann Mathieu pick-six as Brady is driving to win the game. 

PJ 
If that happens, I’ll be thinking about you! But I think it’s going to be a lot closer. Obviously I’m going for a Buccaneers win, and I think it’ll be 31-27. I think it’ll be a very close game.

We have a habit of not turning up for a quarter, unfortunately, but we seem to have eradicated the problem in the last few weeks. 

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