48 hours after the dust settled, I am still dumbfounded at the way the Denver Broncos were able to smack the Carolina Panthers around and win Super Bowl 50. The professor, Peyton Manning, was able to get the better of the student, Cam Newton, in this match up of two former first overall picks. While there are those who are picking apart what went right for the Broncos and what went wrong for the Panthers, there are two things to take away from this game.
People give too much credit to the Bronco’s defence for winning the Super Bowl. While Denver’s pass rush was great, their secondary couldn’t keep up with Carolina’s receivers. Guys like Ted Ginn Jr., Greg Olsen, and Corey Brown were able to get open or make catches despite the coverage. It was the offensive line of the Panthers that could not protect Newton. They were being dominated by the Broncos’ defensive line letting get to Newton time after time. That really was the difference in the game. Had Newton been able to find his receivers, this Super Bowl would have had a totally different outcome.
Newton took a lot of heat after the game, mostly from those who believed the Panthers would win the Super Bowl. To hear them criticize Newton is outrageous. They point specifically to one play where he got stripped of the football and didn’t try to recover it in the scrum. But they fail to notice that he was playing with a bad left shoulder throughout the game. Then there was his post-game news conference where people got on him for saying very little. It goes to show how ignorant fans and the media can be. They slowly coddle players and then are quick to turn on them. But there is nothing you can do about it. Backstabbing is part of the game.
On the other side of the field, Manning didn’t have a great game. Compared to his previous Super Bowl appearance in 2014, he should have lost this one too. But you hear how Denver players say after the game that they won this for Peyton. That to me says something about the respect Manning has with his teammates. Even through the bogus HGH allegations against Manning, they were willing to go through a wall or stand in front of him to stop a bullet. That to me exemplifies a championship team.
I had my money on Carolina, but I also felt good that Manning is getting an opportunity to go out on top like his predecessor and current boss, John Elway. There is nothing like walking out as a champion. Someone better start carving out a bust of Manning.
Overall, this was a pretty good Super Bowl. Sure, it would have been nice to see Manning and Newton show off their stuff. But it was relatively close through the most part. A low-scoring, one-possession game is better than a one-sided affair. I’m sure Newton will take this game as a learning experience and it will motivate him to get back to the Super Bowl. As for Manning, he will be riding off into the sunset on his way to Canton.