Want a snapshot of how long Tom Brady’s NFL career has been? Take a look at the coaching staffs in Super Bowl LV.
Seven of the assistants coaching in this game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs played either with or against the 43-year-old quarterback before trading their helmets for headsets.
Included on that list is one of Brady’s former Patriots backups — albeit one who spent just a few short months in New England.
Chiefs quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Mike Kafka’s winding NFL career made a brief stop in Foxboro during the 2013 offseason.
Kafka signed a futures contract that January and participated in organized team activities alongside Brady and Ryan Mallett, but he was released in June when the media hurricane that was Tim Tebow rolled into town. He went on to spend time with five additional teams before retiring in 2016.
Now 33 and five years into his coaching career, Kafka reflected on his fleeting Patriots tenure Tuesday during Super Bowl media availability.
?It was OTAs,” he said in a video conference, “so I was working hard to try to learn the playbook, trying to be a part of the program, be a part of the team, be a good teammate and learn how they do things. It was a good experience. I?m glad I was there. I was able to meet great coaches and great players, so to me, it was a great experience.
“Now, I ended up getting let go, but I think my journey, kind of bouncing around through the league, that?s helped me at this position (as a coach). I?ve been able to see some things and how other teams do it and kind of see offense and defense through different lenses versus just one team, one way of doing it. So that?s been big having that perspective and being able to look back on that throughout the years.?
Kafka played in just four games and attempted just 16 passes as an NFL player (all with Andy Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2011) but quickly has found success post-retirement. He’s been Patrick Mahomes’ position coach since the superstar quarterback became a starter in 2018 and is gunning for his second straight Super Bowl title.
Standing in the way of that is Brady, whom Kafka showered with praise.
?I don?t think you guys need me to tell you how great Tom Brady is and what he?s done over the past decade-plus,” he said. “He?s a great quarterback. He does all the right things. He plays the position the way it should be played, and I?ve got a bunch of respect for him.
“My time in New England with him was great. It was great in the quarterback room. Although it was short, it was a great experience for me. And obviously (Brady) is going to be a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest of all time.?
Kafka was rumored as a potential candidate for the Eagles’ head-coaching vacancy last month but did not receive an interview request. Philadelphia ultimately hired Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.
The other Super Bowl assistants who played with or against Brady: Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich, Bucs inside linebackers coach Mike Caldwell, Bucs outside linebackers coach Larry Foote, Bucs offensive assistant Antwaan Randle El, Chiefs wide receivers coach Greg Lewis and Chiefs defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Sam Madison.