Two future Hall of Famers will battle it out on Sunday in the ultimate football showdown when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. For the man who might one day soon hand out a gold jacket to one of these players, history will be made either way.
President and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio David Baker spoke with Fox News in a phone interview this week and discussed the significance of Sunday’s game and his hope for who should be named Super Bowl champ.
“I will be so excited if Tom Brady wins it because I think the AARP is gonna go nuts,” Baker said with a chuckle. “It is a blow for all the people who think that they’re done, they’re too old and this guy can do it. But by that same token, I’ll be enormously impressed if the torch gets passed to Patrick Mahomes from Tom Brady.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reacts after winning the NFC championship NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
A win for either quarterback would be significant. For Brady, at 43, he would earn his seventh ring, the most by any single player or team. He would also join an elite group of sports icons to win a championship in their first year with a new team.
If Mahomes were to hoist up the Lombardi Trophy, it would be his second consecutive win, making the Chiefs one of only eight franchises to ever win back-to-back titles in NFL history.
Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy after winning the Super Bowl LIV
“The game has a way of evolving and going on and, again, if Tom wins, there’s great lessons there and there’s great storylines. And if Patrick wins there’s great storylines there,” Baker added.
He also spoke about another record Brady might set when he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame.
“I think when the day comes for Tom Brady, and I don’t know if I’ll be here but I think that’s gonna take about one second,” he said referring to his nomination pitch.
“I will tell you that he, like Peyton (Manning), is a great respecter of history,” Baker continued.
In this Feb. 7, 2016, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in NFL football’s Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Manning is a finalist in the 2021 Hall of Fame class and is expected to be named on Saturday. Reports say that his pitch lasted around 13 seconds. Baker recalled Brett Favre’s pitch in 2016 which he said lasted about 12 seconds.
Hall of Fame enshrinee, quarterback Brett Favre waves to the crowd after receiving his gold jacket during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket Dinner on August 4, 2016 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
“The guy that will be enshrined on that day will probably be that 10-year-old guy from San Jose who dreamed of someday being on a team, much less being on the greatest team of all time in the Hall of Fame.”
Baker said that regardless of Sunday’s outcome, the biggest accomplishment will be just playing a game.
“The greatest storyline is, there’s still a game. We just went through a pandemic. The world has been filled with fear and hey, if we can do this maybe we can get our economy going or maybe we can get our kids educated or start a world with more inclusion or health care advances.”
“I just think it’s a wonderful game and it’s gonna be a lot of fun and Saturday night is going to be exciting.”
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2021 on Saturday during the NFL Honors. The finalist includes four, first-year eligible players including Manning, Calvin Johnson, Charles Woodson and Jared Allen.
Tom Flores and Drew Pearson are also expected to be inducted as Coach and Senior Hall of Famers.