The eagerly-anticipated Super Bowl LV between Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets underway on Sunday night, with a narrative potentially like no other.
Can the legendary Tom Brady, of the Buccaneers, secure his seventh Super Bowl, with his second team, at the age of 43? Or can Patrick Mahomes, named the illustrious NFL most valuable player last season, guide the Chiefs to their second successive Super Bowl, and perhaps put himself in the conversation as the greatest quarterback of all time?
The game will be held at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida – the fourth time that the Super Bowl has been held in the same state in consecutive years.
The Chiefs go into the game as the number one ranked side in the 2020 season, having recorded a 14-2 record, with the Buccaneers having gone 11-5 in the regular campaign.
With that in mind, the team at CBS Sports have ranked the 44 potential starters for Sunday and we’ve summarised their list, taking a look at some of the key names, below.
44. Aaron Stinnie (Tampa Bay OG)
43. Byron Pringle (Kansas City WR)
42. Tanoh Kpassagnon (Kansas City DE)
41. Scott Miller (Tampa Bay WR)
40. Rakeem Nunez-Roches (Tampa Bay DT)
39. Stefan Wisniewski (Kansas City OG)
38. Damien Wilson (Kansas City OLB)
37. Demarcus Robinson (Kansas City WR)
36. Anthony Hitchens (Kansas City MLB)
35. Nick Allegretti (Kansas City OG)
34. Daniel Sorensen (Kansas City FS)
33. Charvarius Ward (Kansas City CB)
32. Mike Remmers (Kansas City OT)
31. Derrick Nnadi (Kansas City DT)
There’s plenty of names to watch out for in this section, particularly the experienced middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who has the unenviable task, as leader of the defence, of stopping Tom Brady.
Demarcus Robinson has had a good individual season for the Chiefs, recording 45 receptions for 466 yards, whilst Buccaneers’ Scott Miller – who may only be in the side due to injuries – has 33 passes and 501 yards in his favoured position of wide receiver.
Charvarius Ward will have a big part to play in the cornerback position, whilst Rakeem Nunez-Roches has experience of representing both teams.
30. Donovan Smith (Tampa Bay OT)
29. L’Jarius Sneed (Kansas City CB)
28. Rob Gronkowski (Tampa Bay TE)
27. Sean Murphy-Bunting (Tampa Bay CB)
26. Leonard Fournette (Tampa Bay RB)
25. Andrew Wylie (Kansas City OG)
24. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City RB)
23. Jamel Dean (Tampa Bay CB)
22. Jordan Whitehead (Tampa Bay FS)
21. Frank Clark (Kansas City DE)
20. Austin Reiter (Kansas City C)
19. Antoine Winfield Jr. (Tampa Bay SS)
18. Ndamukong Suh (Tampa Bay DE)
17. Ryan Jensen (Tampa Bay C)
16. Bashaud Breeland (Kansas City CB)
15. Jason Pierre-Paul (Tampa Bay OLB)
14. Carlton Davis (Tampa Bay CB)
13. Mike Evans (Tampa Bay WR)
12. Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay WR)
11. Shaquil Barrett (Tampa Bay OLB)
The highlight of the names in this section could well be Tampa Bay outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who may spend hefty parts of the night trying to contain the threat of Patrick Mahomes.
Leonard Fournette was second in the charts in terms of running yards for the season, whilst Chris Godwin was positioned in fourth in the receiving yards category. Godwin is set to become a free agent following the Super Bowl.
Carlton Davis, meanwhile, led the Buccaneers with a total of four interceptions, with Ndamukong Suh recording six sacks.
Three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski has the chance to add another Vince Lombardi Trophy to his haul, having been traded to the Buccaneers from the New England Patriots in the 2020 Draft following a year out of the sport.
10. Devin White (Tampa Bay ILB)
9. Ali Marpet (Tampa Bay OG)
8. Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City SS)
7. Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay OT)
6. Lavonte David (Tampa Bay ILB)
Inside linebacker Devin White is another important cog to the Tampa Bay side, in his second full season in the NFL. White led the team with 11 tackles in the Buccaneers’ post-season victory against the New Orleans Saints.
Tyrann Mathieu, meanwhile, played an important role last year as the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, operating in the short safety position. This season, he has made the joint-third most interceptions in the NFL, alongside Devin White.
Lavonte David is reported to be carrying a hamstring injury going into the Super Bowl, but is expected to play. The 31-year-old inside linebacker’s experience and skills could be crucial in determining whether the Buccaneers take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
5. Chris Jones (Kansas City DT)
4. Tyreek Hill (Kansas City WR)
3. Tom Brady (Tampa Bay QB)
2. Travis Kelce (Kansas City TE)
1. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City QB)
As the star defensive lineman, Chris Jones will be looking to make it consecutive Super Bowl titles, having played his part in last year’s success against the San Francisco 49ers. He is another player whose work in the tackle, and pressure, could play a key role in stopping Tom Brady.
Tom Brady’s influence on the Buccaneers, at the age of 43, cannot be understated. He will be the fourth quarterback to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl, having spent an illustrious 19 years with the New England Patriots. Unquestionably Tampa Bay’s most valuable player, he could be named the NFL MVP outright for the fifth time in his career should his team clinch success on Sunday night.
Topping this list are the two leading lights for the Chiefs – Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes. Kelce is third in the ranking of most receiving yards for the season – behind Tyreek Hill, who is fourth on this starters list, and Stefan Diggs of the Buffalo Bills. He is widely considered to be reaching the level where he can be called one of the best tight ends of all time. Sunday could be another landmark night for the 31-year-old.
Mahomes reached superstardom after he was named the MVP following Super Bowl LIV, cementing his position as the best quarterback in the league. He threw 286 yards and landed two touchdowns, dragging his team from the brink at 20-10 down to Super Bowl champions. Don’t bet against him repeating the trick on Sunday night.