New England Patriots

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 07: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to Tyrann Mathieu #32 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

With his team trailing, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu decided to poke the bear GOAT in the late stages of the first half of Super Bowl LV against the Buccaneers and got in the face of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady.

It was indeed ‘The Honey Badger’ living up to his nickname. But, man, it did take all of mere moments for that decision to blow up in Mathieu’s face. With some extra fire in his belly, Brady targeted and goaded Mathieu into a pass interference penalty and then immediately targeted him on an Antonio Brown touchdown to extend the Bucs’ edge in what ended up as a 31-9 rout for Brady’s seventh championship and the Bucs’ first title in nearly two decades.

And naturally, that score came with Brady right there to remind Mathieu of his mistakes on the drive.

This was your classic Michael Jordan-esque assassin mode killing from the 43-year-old Brady, with Mathieu playing the role of poor, poor ’98 Bryon Russell in this contest. And it served as an extra jolt of life to a Bucs team that outright steamrolled the Chiefs like few have in the Patrick Mahomes-Andy Reid Era.

“I don’t know what it does for [Brady],” Bucs wideout Mike Evans offered. “But for us? We love that [expletive].”

After the game, which ended with Brady’s fifth Super Bowl MVP honor, Mathieu did his part to downplay the incident.

“Listen, Tom Brady’s a great quarterback,” Mathieu said after the loss. “I never really saw that side of Tom Brady, to be honest. But whatever. No comment. It’s over with. I’m done with it.”

…But Mathieu wasn’t done with it, as his Twitter would confirm.

“He called me something I won’t repeat but yeah I’ll let all the media throw me under bus as if I did something or said something to him,” Mathieu wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “Go back to my previous games against TB12. I showed him nothing but respect. Look at my interviews about him… I show grace.”

And when asked by a Twitter user what it was that Brady said, Mathieu replied (in another since-deleted tweet), “let [Brady tell you.”

Brady, of course, didn’t say anything about the incident during an all-smiles postgame interview. But if he did, it’d probably go something like, “scoreboard.” In all walks.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.

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