IN what is often referred to as the greatest show on Earth, Super Bowl 50 saw the Denver Broncos emerge victorious against the Carolina Panthers 24-10. The Panthers came into the game as favourites, having finished with only one loss during the regular season, and beat the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 in the NFC championship game two weeks ago. The Broncos however,were not deterred by the Panthers’ reputation. The league MVP Cam Newton, Panthers’ quarterback, was sacked after a Super Bowl record-tying seven times, as he saw his ego left in tatters.
On a clear, warm day in Santa Clara, all eyes were on quaterbacks Newton and of course Peyton Manning. Both are at opposite ends of their career, and both have differing personalities. Newton lived up to his reputation of being ‘the main man’ pre-game, sporting a warm-up t-shirt with a gold superman logo. Manning looked as calm as ever during the warm-ups, in what could possibly be the last game of his career.
After Lady Gaga had sung the United States national anthem, Manning hit tight end Owen Daniels for 18 yards on the opening play of the game. The drive ended in a 34-yard field goal from Brandon McManus, giving Denver a 3-0 lead. From then on however, the Broncos defence took the spotlight away from Manning, as linebacker Von Miller stripped the ball off Cam Newton, and Malik Jackson took the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. Faced with a 10-0 first quarter deficit, and the vivid Broncos fans in loud voice, the Panthers were behind and under pressure. The challenge was to see how they could respond.
The second quarter initially saw a spirited response from the Panthers, with running back Jonathan Stewart spectacularly diving over the Broncos defensive line, to make the score 10-7. Carolina’s defence was also growing in the game, with linebacker Luke Kuechly delivering some bone-crunching hits. However, later in the quarter Josh Norwood produced the longest punt return in Super Bowl history with 61 yards for the Broncos. They soon came away with another field goal to extend their lead to 13-7.
Back to the football following the half-time show, and the third quarter saw Newton finally connect with open wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr, however the resulting field goal hit the upright. Manning, who was also not dominating the game, had the ball stripped and it was recovered by Carolina. The Broncos defence held tight, but this time the field goal went over from Graham Gano, making the scores 16-10, and setting up a tense final quarter.
The final quarter saw the final blow delivered by the Broncos defence. The inspirational Miller hit Newton, again causing the ball to go loose. Running back C.J. Anderson powered his way into the end zone, through the tackle of Kuechly. Anderson had provided an exceptional foundation for an ageing Manning to play from all season, and that was the case in Santa Clara. Fittingly it was Manning who put the game beyond all doubt, completing the two point conversion to Bennie Fowler to make the final score 24-10.
After Broncos the wild celebrations had finished (for the time being) the trophy was presented, and the spotlight again returned upon the future of Peyton Manning. In an entertaining response to the retirement question, he stated he had other priorities at the moment, one of which was drinking a lot of Budweiser.
However, this is not just a victory for Peyton Manning, but a victory for the Denver Broncos as a whole. It is a victory that they will savour for a long time.
Featured image: Big Blue View