NFL’s premier shindig is nearly here
Author: Ethan Butterfield – Contributor
Super Bowl Sunday is on the way, ladies and gentleman! I, for one, am extremely excited about this year’s matchup of the Carolina Panthers vs. the Denver Broncos. It’s almost like a battle of history when you consider the two QBs who are going up against each other. First off, you have Peyton Manning, the sly, old gunslinger who’s still going for that ever-elusive second Super Bowl ring. Then, secondly, you have Cam ‘SuperCam’ Newton, the fresh-faced QB of the Panthers who, even though they went 7-8-1 last season, has now helped his team to an amazing 15-1 record season. Yes, it’s sure to be a great one to watch.
What type of game is it going to be though? I think the biggest thing NFL fans will see in this one is, obviously, that Denver defensive wall going head-to-head with the red hot Carolina offense. Make sure to watch out for players like Von Miller, Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware on the Broncos defensive side as well as Greg Olsen, Ted Ginn, Jr. and Jonathan Stewart on the Panther’s offense. There’s got to be more than just that, though. It’s true the Broncos do have a solid offense, but if you think they got to the big game because of it then you’re wrong. Statistically, the Broncos have thrown more interceptions (INTs) than any other team in the league, which is interesting, because the Panthers have the most INT takeaways then any other team. Maybe something to look out for there.
The funny thing is, the Panthers are a multi-talented team no matter where they play on the field. So it must be a no brainer then, eh?. A complete Panthers team definitely has a better chance at defeating a stumbling Broncos team 100 times out of 100 right? They’re five-and-a-half-point favourites heading in, and nothing’s going to stop the momentum they have after picking apart the Cardinals. However, and this is going to sound strange, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions so quickly. I don’t know what it is about the Broncos team, but by somehow being the underdog, they’ve managed to defeat a terrifying Pittsburgh Steelers offense AND a Tom Brady-led (not to mention former Super Bowl Champ) New England Patriots, and now it seems that the odds are once again stacked up against them.
Taking a quick look at the quarterbacks again, what can we expect from these two going into the big game? Well, to start, it’s hard to get a read on Peyton Manning. I mean the guy throws 17 INTs and 6 TDs during the regular season and all of a sudden he comes back and leads his team to two huge victories. I feel it won’t make much difference though, considering that the man is 1-2 in Super Bowls and was a part of the second biggest downfall in Super Bowl history with a 43-8 loss to the Seahawks (The first being the 49ers 55-10 win over the… Broncos… well this is awkward). Cam Newton seems to be the easier-to-read QB, putting up a pretty great 35 TD to 10 INT record this season; it seems Cam has the makings to lead his team to victory. Unfortunately, Cam is also a running QB and that can lead to injury. Not only that, but let’s not forgot that Cam also takes some booming hits (for reference check out Week 15 vs. The Giants. Ouch).
Something to note is that both QBs have been drafted in the first round and that this Super Bowl is the first ever to highlight that fact. To be fair, though, the draft doesn’t exactly predict who’s going to become a mega-star and who isn’t. Joe Montana was drafted in the third round and he’s one the best around, while David Carr on the other hand was drafted first overall and look where his career went, that’s right, nowhere. It is fairly interesting that the two QBs (Peyton and Cam, I mean) would be the first ones to make history in this category. It just goes to show you that even after 50 years, anything can happen in the Super Bowl.
Well, I suppose all that’s left to talk about is who’s going to win the whole thing. In no attempt at a joke whatsoever, I’m picking the Denver Broncos. No, I’m serious, I think Denver is going to win the whole thing. The reason being is that it feels like a trap game. That’s right, I’m picking out of superstition. Honestly, though, how many Super Bowls have you seen where the team that’s clearly better is on the road to victory and things seem all but hopeless for the opponent, only for that opponent to win in the end. Some examples of these include Super Bowl XXXII when the Broncos (oddly enough) were heavily viewed as the underdogs by a point spread of 11 against the Packers, they ended up winning 31 -24; in 2002, when the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams despite being down a 14 point spread; and finally, in 2008, when the New York Giants did the unthinkable and defeated the Patriots 17-14, even though they were widely considered to be nothing more than a speed bump.
So, there you have it. The NFL season is almost at an end and the stakes seem to be larger than ever. Will Peyton Manning retire if he wins the big one? Will the Panthers become the new “it” team? Will Blair Walsh not be a complete idiot and make a bloody chip shot? I mean, honestly, how could you miss that? I could’ve made it and I have the kicking ability of a drunken soccer player… ahem. But I digress, Super Bowl 50. All I can say is that I feel history is going to be made yet again at this event. And whether it’s a Broncos win or a Panthers win, the team that wants it is going to come out on top with. Thanks for reading.