KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While we await the matchup between quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, they will not actually take the field together aside from pre-game and post-game greetings.
Each quarterback will faceoff against the opposing teams defense and Brady will try to take down a familiar foe running the show on the other sideline; Steve Spagnuolo.
“The way coach Spags prepares and prepares us guys has been a beautiful thing to watch unfold when we put it together,” Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland said. “His coaching methods and who he is as a person motivates guys and makes guys want to play for him. We want to go out there and really compete and do well for him.”
Spagnuolo was hired as defensive coordinator for the Chiefs after the 2018 season where Kansas City lost at home to Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.
Coach Spagnuolo is 3-2 all time against Brady including playoffs as a defensive coordinator. This will be the second time the pair matchup in a Super Bowl. In his first stint with the New York Giants, Spagnuolo was at the helm when they ended Brady’s Patriots quest for an undefeated season in Super Bowl XLII.
“That 2007 game is one of my least favorite football memories,” Brady said. “I think he really caters to the strength of his players. I think his scheme’s evolved different times and I’ve played him several times over the past 13-14 years. I think he’s a tremendous coach. Everyone seems to love to play for him.”
Spagnuolo’s defense had fallen to the Patriots in week 17 of the 2007 season.
In that game, the Giants defense gave up 356 passing yards, two touchdowns, a 76% completion percentage and a 116.8 quarterback rating to Brady. He was only sacked one time.
Both touchdowns and 100 of those passing yards were hauled in by Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss.
The Super Bowl was a different story. Spagnuolo’s defense held Brady to 266 passing yards, one touchdown, a 60% completion percentage and an 82.5 quarterback rating. They were able to sack him five times, one of those causing a fumble that was recovered by New York.
Moss was held to 66 receiving yards and only one reception in the first half.
The difference in how the defense was able to get pressure on Brady helped lower his efficiency and helped secure the win in the Super Bowl. A task that is easier said than done, but something Spagnuolo hopes the Chiefs can do to repeat that Super Bowl success.
“The game has changed a little bit from when we played back in ’07. The quarterback is still the same, he’s still every bit as good,” Spagnuolo said. “It may be a little different, but we’ll try pressure-wise and all that, but I just think we gotta be on point and see what we can get out of our guys with a four man rush.”
“If we can send the pressure to make them throw it that much faster, maybe our guys can get hands on the ball,” Breeland said. “It’s really an aggressive defense and allows us to really to be able to make plays.”
Spagnuolo said the key to defeating a ‘cerebral quarterback’ like Brady, is to mix it up on defense.
“Tom’s too good. He’s gonna figure what you’re trying to do, what you’re trying to take away and expose your somewhere else,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re gonna have to be really good on the backend not to show him things, or as we say, ‘Don’t let him read our mail.'”