The matchup for the big game is set. The Denver Broncos will take on the Carolina Panthers in the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl. Sadly, my New England Patriots came so close to making it, but came up short in the AFC Championship Game, and rightfully so. The Patriots showed a lot of weakness in that game; the O-line was letting more people into the pocket than the clubs here at my school (sidenote: Marcus Cannon should not be starting) which gave Brady little to no time to throw the ball. But even when he did have time, he was underthrowing balls at receivers’ feet, especially the one where he was intercepted by Von Miller. That pass should not have been thrown in that direction. Overall, the Patriots have a lot of work to do in the offseason. Nevertheless, let’s get to the big game.
Cam Newton is undoubtedly going to be the NFL MVP. I read a stat somewhere that unless you were the Patriots, Broncos, Saints, Cardinals, or the Packers, Newton had more touchdowns on his own than your entire team. That right there is incredible. He puts on a show every single game and his fans, young and old, adore him. But how much of a show is too much? Recently, Newton has been scrutinized by the media by being too much of a showoff. The quarterback position is claimed to be the centerpiece of a football team, carrying the reputation for the team on his shoulders. They must represent the team in an appropriate manner. Some feel that Newton has not taken this role seriously. Excessive celebrations and running around the stadium like a lunatic screaming doesn’t make the media love him any less. I’ll admit, while I do enjoy seeing his celebrations and mimicking him anytime he “dabs on ‘em,” it can be a bit excessive at times. He claims that because of his race, the media is responding to his actions in this way. Ryan Clark, former Super Bowl winning safety, was on Sportscenter discussing the story and, overall, sticking up for Newton. Why is Newton’s dabbing any different than seeing Gronkowski spike after every touchdown, or Cruz doing the salsa, or even Joseph Fauria with his trendy dances? Newton is enjoying what he does for a living. And damn, does he look good doing it. Because of him, he now leads his team to their second Super Bowl in their franchise’s history.
Peyton Manning is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame after he retires. It’s almost going to be unanimous. He’s broken records, won titles, and is just another example that someone at that age can still play. Knowing that this might be his last rodeo, as he said to Belichick after the AFC Title game, it would be nice to see him go out on top. You can’t help but respect him. Even Belichick said to him that he was a great competitor. The Brady vs. Manning rivalry is always a marquee matchup to watch, usually put in the primetime slot. Currently, Brady leads in wins against Manning, but that’s just overall. Manning has won against Brady where it has really mattered: the postseason. As a Patriots fan, I have a love/hate relationship with Peyton Manning (I just purely hate his brother). But I have no choice but to respect him for his accomplishments in the game and all the great moments he gave us. Also, among the HGH scandals he’s had to deal with recently, I feel that he either did or didn’t. I find it hard to believe, however, that someone who has had four neck injuries/surgeries can heal and return to playing “naturally.” Right? Nevertheless, he is and always will be considered a legendary quarterback that will be talked about for years to come. Coming from a football family, he took to the field in 1998 for the Colts, hitting the ground running. Eighteen years later, he now is about to play, what appears to be his last game, on the grandest stage of them all: Super Bowl 50.
Fun fact: This is the first time that two quarterbacks drafted first overall will face each other in the Super Bowl.
I think this game will be of an “out with the old, in with the new” type. Cam Newton is becoming the new face of the NFL alongside many other young, up and coming quarterbacks (Rodgers, Wilson, etc.). Manning has spent years in the league and his time is slowly coming up. Whether he wins or loses, this will be his last game. In my opinion, Old Yeller has to and is going to be put down. The Panthers will take home the Lombardi trophy for the first time in its franchise’s history. Manning will go home not a loser, but a winner. All of his accomplishments speak for themselves. His resume will not go unnoticed come time for the voting ballots for the Hall of Fame. I look forward to watching this game. Hopefully, it’ll be exciting and Manning will go down fighting and a champion in everyone’s eyes.
On the other hand, good news for all of us sulking Pats fans, they made the Super Bowl after the last two times we lost to Peyton in the AFC title game. Good news for next year? I guess we’ll see.