The teams for Super Bowl 50 are finalized and we will see the Carolina Panthers taking on the Denver Broncos. There will be two weeks with every sort of analysis, synopsis, film breakdown, etc. before a single snap will occur. The two teams have traveled different paths this season that ultimately led to Super Bowl 50. Of the many storylines that will be examined will be the tale of the two starting quarterbacks; Cam Newton of the Panthers and Peyton Manning of the Broncos. These elite quarterbacks are on opposite sides of the spectrum as Manning could be playing his last game on February 7th while Newton is at the forefront of his NFL career.
Peyton Manning was drafted first overall in the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He has done it all in the NFL and his career is dwindling down, whether it be one final game or another season. The needle is leaning towards a retirement for the 39-year old quarterback out of the University of Tennessee, but we shall wait and see about that. How fitting it is that one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history gets perhaps one final shot at winning another Super Bowl. He can have the scenario former Broncos great quarterback and now current general manager and Executive Vice President of Football operations John Elway once had. Elway led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 to end his career on the highest of notes. Manning has a chance to do something very similar. He might not win two in a row, but he could win one last Super Bowl and ride off into the sunset. He has thrown for an NFL record 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns in the regular season. He is a five-time NFL MVP and won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts by defeating the Chicago Bears. The postseason hasn’t always been kind to Mr. Manning, as he just 13-13. This will be his fourth Super Bowl appearance and second with the Broncos. The last time Manning and company were in the Super Bowl, well let’s just say it’s a sight they don’t want to remember as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Broncos down 43-8 two seasons ago. If Manning is able to win his second Super Bowl, it will only add to all his football accolades and further cement his greatness. After missing time during the regular season due to injuries, Manning is now focused on what could be his last football game of his life with two weeks to get him even healthier.
Cam Newton was drafted first overall in the 2011 draft by the Panthers. Many questioned whether or not he would succeed in the NFL and he has since put that notion to rest as he had a season for the ages and will likely be named the league MVP. He led the Panthers to an NFL-best 15-1 record in the regular season before defeating the Seattle Seahawks and dismantling the Arizona Cardinals in route to Super Bowl 50. Newton threw for 3,837 yards, rushed for 636 yards and had 45 total touchdowns. He and the Panthers had the No. 1 ranked offense in the NFL this season and right now are clicking on all cylinders. The fifth-year quarterback out of Auburn University is at the forefront of his career as he is only 26-years old. He gets a bad rap from some who dislike his dancing and celebrating antics. To those of you who like to criticize him for having fun, let the young man be. He is not hurting anybody by “dabbing” after a touchdown. Where Manning is the older veteran who does not dance and all that, Newton is the complete opposite and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s a new day and age in the NFL and Newton is at the top of the list of young quarterbacks, or at the very least in the conversation. Newton is a rare breed of quarterback as he stands 6’5” and weighs 245 pounds and can beat you in a multitude of ways. He can be a pocket passer and fire the ball downfield or he can take off and run the football with good speed. He is hard to bring down in the open field due to his large frame and that’s what makes him such a special athlete. He could play quarterback or running back and he would still be successful. Newton will look to lead his Panthers to one final victory on the season, that being the most important victory of the year. This is a game where the torch can be passed from Manning to Newton, propelling Newton to an even higher status.
Each team will have different attack methods for these two quarterbacks. For the Broncos, they have to apply pressure to Newton, but at the same time have to contain him. He can avoid pressure and dart down the field and the Broncos will look to put a stop to that. For the Panthers, they will look to harass Manning all night long as he isn’t a mobile quarterback and will be more prone to getting sacked if his offensive line can’t control the Carolina defensive line. If either defense plays the way it did in the conference championship games, the quarterback play will be heavily altered.
Is this Manning’s ride into the sunset by winning the Super Bowl in potentially his final game or will Newton etch his name in the history books by winning the big game? There are plenty of other factors that will play out in this game, but none bigger than the play of the quarterbacks and the play of the defense on said quarterbacks. On paper, this game has all the makings to be one of the all-time greats. Two stout defenses will do battle and hope to contain two highly skilled quarterbacks at complete opposite ends of their respective careers.