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Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo’s secret to stopping Tom Brady traces back to Super Bowl 42

Tom Brady and Steve Spagnuolo have met underneath the brightest lights as soon as earlier than. Brady hadn’t misplaced but in that 2007 common season or 2008 postseason. Spagnuolo was a first-year defensive coordinator. 

However it was Spagnuolo’s Giants who received Tremendous Bowl 42. Now 13 years later, Spagnuolo will get an opportunity to repeat the feat of beating the G.O.A.T. within the ultimate sport of the NFL season. This time it is Tremendous Bowl 55, Spagnuolo once more as a defensive coordinator, now for the Chiefs.

Since Spagnuolo grew to become an NFL defensive coordinator, Brady has confronted Spagnuolo’s groups six occasions. The quarterback is 4-2 in these video games, with three of the wins that includes 300 yards passing. However when Spagnuolo’s discovered a strategy to get strain on Brady, his groups have had an opportunity.

MORE: How Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs can overcome their biggest Super Bowl 55 weakness

In 2020, Brady accomplished 43 % of his passes whereas underneath strain however 71 % of his passes with a clear pocket, in line with The Washington Times. Similar to 13 years in the past, whether or not Spagnuolo’s protection can strain Brady may determine the NFL’s championship.

This is a glance again at how Tremendous Bowl 42 went down, together with the opposite prior conferences between Brady and Spagnuolo.

Tom Brady vs. Steve Spagnuolo in Tremendous Bowl 42

The Patriots and Giants unknowingly obtained a preview of Tremendous Bowl 42 in Week 17 of the 2007 common season. New England was making an attempt to conclude an ideal common season and solely barely did so in a 38-35 win. That day, New York solely sacked Brady as soon as. For a staff led by double-digit sack artists Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck together with future Corridor of Famer Michael Strahan, that wasn’t sufficient.

Spagnuolo was the Giants’ defensive coordinator that season, his first time holding the DC function within the NFL. In 2018, Spagnuolo spoke on NFL Community, trying again on how the Giants succeeded within the Tremendous Bowl rematch of the regular-season loss.

New York got here up with a few keys for the matchup with Brady. The primary was merely to “hit him.”

“Jessie Armstead teases me about this,” Spagnuolo mentioned, “however at one level throughout the week I mentioned, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter whether or not we cease him from throwing it or not, let’s simply be sure that we hit him.’ He advised me this later, he mentioned, ‘That doesn’t sound correct.’ He mentioned, ‘Coach, I’m not so certain that I used to be on board with that.’ However our guys purchased into it and we hoped — the hope was that we may frustrate him a bit bit. That was the very first thing.”

Whereas making an attempt to get sufficient strain on Brady to hit him, the Giants additionally needed to maintain up on the again finish. Brady threw 50 touchdowns that season. Randy Moss was an ever-present deep menace, as was Donte Stallworth, whereas Wes Welker dominated out of the slot.

Spagnuolo did not wish to surrender passes over 20 yards, and the Giants did it — Brady’s longest move of the night time was 19 yards.

Again in 2007, Brady wasn’t fairly the pre-snap wizard he’s now. A few of the disguises Spagnuolo drew up labored sufficient to get strain on Brady, main to 2 sacks from Tuck and 5 complete. However Spagnuolo acknowledged in that phase two years in the past that Brady’s significantly better at deciphering strain schemes now. 

“Tom now, to me, it’s the issues that he does earlier than the snap,” Spagnuolo mentioned. “He can tempo, go actual quick. It’s all about cadence to get guys to leap offside and he’s obtained a complete examine system, I imply that’s what he lives in, that’s why he makes use of the entire clock. What he can do earlier than the snap, to me is what’s the most difficult.”

Spagnuolo may not have precisely the identical stage of move rush as he had again with these Giants, however the Chiefs have playmakers on the defensive facet of the soccer. If Kansas Metropolis can disguise what it desires to do and get Brady on the bottom, Spagnuolo may get one other ring from the palms of Brady.

Historical past of Tom Brady vs. Steve Spagnuolo

Date Brady’s staff Spagnuolo’s staff Spagnuolo’s place Rating Notes
Dec. 29, 2007 Patriots Giants Defensive coordinator 38-35, Patriots Brady threw for 356 yards and two TDs whereas being sacked solely as soon as lower than two months earlier than Tremendous Bowl 42.
Feb. 3, 2008 Patriots Giants Defensive coordinator 17-14, Giants Brady was sacked 5 occasions whereas throwing only one landing in Tremendous Bowl 42.
Dec. 22, 2013 Patriots Ravens Senior defensive assistant 41-7, Patriots Brady did not contribute a lot to the scoring, throwing for 172 yards and one landing.
Jan. 10, 2015 Patriots Ravens Secondary coach 35-31, Patriots Brady threw for 367 yards and three scores whereas being picked off as soon as and sacked twice within the AFC divisional spherical.
Nov. 15, 2015 Patriots Giants Defensive coordinator 27-26, Patriots Brady threw for 334 yards and two TDs whereas being picked as soon as and sacked thrice.
Dec. 8, 2019 Patriots Chiefs Defensive coordinator 23-16, Chiefs Brady threw for 169 yards and a landing whereas being intercepted as soon as and sacked thrice.

Observe: The above information begins with Spagnuolo’s first defensive coordinator job within the NFL with the Giants in 2007. From 1999-2006, he labored in varied roles with the Eagles however none as impactful on the protection because the roles he held from 2007 onward which might be singled out within the desk.

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