The anticipation is building. People are running to the store in preparation. The analysts are analyzing every angle once more, eager for the action to begin. The players are preparing and ready for the game to begin. Today is Super Bowl 50 in the National Football League and is the culmination of this football season and what every team has worked towards. It’s the young, loose and hungry Carolina Panthers against the more veteran, but equally as hungry, Denver Broncos.
Today is Super Bowl 50 and I’m very excited! Even though my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers were unable to reach the Super Bowl this year, I’m still a massive fan of the NFL and I’m eager to watch this game between the Panthers and Broncos. We could be seeing the rise of a young team, as well as saying goodbye to a legend in this game.
The Panthers went 15-1 during the regular season and with a group of players, offensively, not too many analysts of the NFL were impressed with but yet, with that rag-tag group they were the best offense in football led by their quarterback, the dynamic Cam Newton. While they were great offensively, they were also fantastic defensively as led by linebackers Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman they were a physical, loose group playing with the utmost confidence.
The Broncos went 12-4 during the regular season but it came with ups and downs. Going into the season, many analysts considered them Super Bowl contenders but many wondered if quarterback Peyton Manning, at age 39, still had enough in the tank. Early on, it was apparent to most that the Broncos were led by their defense, rather than their offense, as they were fast, physical, dominant and thrived off of turnovers. While their defense was fantastic throughout the whole season – they finished as the number one defense – the offense was not good. Manning was dealing with injuries and looked like his skills had deteriorated significantly with age as he threw 17 interceptions, compared to nine touchdowns in all 10 games he played. The Broncos were forced to bench Manning and turn to his backup, Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler led the Broncos to four wins as their starting quarterback and played decently but also had two losses. In the regular season finale, he was benched due to ineffectiveness and Manning was placed in the game and led the Broncos to a win and locked up home-field advantage in the playoffs. In the playoffs, The Broncos, led by their punishing defense, along with a noticeably healthier Manning led the team to wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots to reach the Super Bowl.
Now the time has arrived. It’s the Panthers versus the Broncos, the best offense in football against the best defense. The young, dynamic quarterback in Newton versus the cerebral, veteran quarterback in Manning. Which team will win? Many analysts are favoring the Panthers due to their prolific offense and their great defense but I’m leaning more towards the Broncos.
This Broncos defense has been overshadowed a bit in the lead up to the Super Bowl and I think they will come out firing on all cylinders against the Panthers. I also think the Panthers offense is slightly overrated as they have not played against too many good teams this year and when they have, they’ve blown big leads and let the games be decided in the final minutes. They did that against the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. While the Panthers have won those games, I think they have been a bit misleading. The Panthers haven’t faced a defense of the Broncos caliber and I think that will show as the Broncos will slow the Panthers down and it will be a low scoring game.
Finally though, one of the main reasons I’m rooting for the Broncos in the Super Bowl is because I believe that this will be Peyton Manning’s last game in the NFL and I would love to see him go out on top. Manning is arguably the best quarterback in NFL history and in his 18 seasons, there has never been a more consistent great player that epitomizes everything that the NFL wants in a player on and off the field. He is also the smartest quarterback I’ve ever watched as he seems to know many times what the defense is about to do before the play begins and he adjusts by calling audibles, or making dummy calls to confuse the defense. For most of his career, he’s essentially called his own plays and been his own offensive coordinator. Once he retires, I could definitely see him becoming a coach, or executive in the NFL some day.
I believe that this will be a great, close, physical game between two great defenses with the offenses playing a supporting role. The phrase, “defense wins championships” is never more true than in the Super Bowl. I’m predicting that the Broncos will beat the Panthers 26-23 and the old sheriff, Peyton Manning, will ride off into the sunset with the Lombardi Trophy in hand.
So there is my predication on Super Bowl 50, What’s yours? Share in the comments below!