Tuesday 24 October 2017 / 10:16 PM

Airing it Out: NFL Super Bowl wash-up

NFL: Broncos Stifle Panthers to Win Super Bowl 50

In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers took Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the #1 overall pick. The second selection that same year went to the Denver Broncos. They opted for a speedy, disruptive linebacker named Von Miller out of Texas A&M.

Both players went on to change the face of the franchises that drafted them.

And on Super Bowl Sunday, these top two picks went head to head for the game’s biggest prize. As it turns out, the defensive superstar won the battle and then some.

While Cam was an easy choice for the 2015 MVP, the most valuable player in the Super Bowl was the man who stripped him twice. Both Newton fumbles were converted into a pair of Bronco touchdowns (one on a defensive recovery in the end zone and the second on a short run by C.J. Anderson) that were the difference in the game.

Not only does Peyton Manning now have his second ring, the Broncos (and the city of Denver as a whole) can now safely put the debacle that was Super Bowl XLVIII in the rearview mirror.

Denver 24 – 10 Carolina

For the previously (17-1) Carolina Panthers, however, it’s time to get back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong.

So What Did Go Wrong?

Turnovers.

The Broncos beat the Panthers at their own game, forcing 4 takeaways compared to 2 for Carolina. Along with Newton’s INT and two lost fumbles, fullback Mike Tolbert put a couple of balls on the ground (1 lost) at critical points in the game.

But speaking of crucial fumbles, it doesn’t get any more vital than Von Miller’s strip-sack was deep in the Panthers territory late in the 4th quarter.

If makes you wonder what might have happened had Cam Newton not been too much of a scaredy-cat to dive on top of the pile.

 

As Aqib Talib said after the game, Newton “tapped out” on the lost fumble.

He gave up. During the biggest game of his life. He succumbed to the relentless pressure of Denver’s pass rush.

Coupled with his “Pouty Teenage Sith Lord” impression during the post-game press conference – Newton put more than just the loss onto the dark side of his legacy. As Deion Sanders noted following Cam’s temper tantrum, “You can’t do that.”

That’s not to say Cam gives a rat’s ass what the media is saying about him; he doesn’t. And this tough loss doesn’t mean he won’t be back with a vengeance, either. He will.

It’s scary to think that Superman has still got plenty of room to improve, but for now the NFL will bask in the glory of “The Sheriff” riding off into the sunset.

Manning continued to be mum on his status for 2016 but in all likelihood he’s keeping quiet only to avoid taking the focus away from the Broncos defense that got him fitted for a second ring.

A Less than Stellar Stat Line

These weren’t the numbers we’d hoped to see out of one of the greatest offensive masterminds in the history of the game.

And usually, 141 yards on 13 of 23 passing with 0 touchdowns, 1 INT and a lost fumble would be the totals from a losing quarterback.

But not this Super Bowl Sunday.

After 17 seasons of carrying ball clubs on his back, Manning’s defense returned the favor in 2015. Statistically speaking he had the worst season of any Super Bowl winning quarterback in the history of the game.

But most of us are only going to remember the good stuff.

[YouTube – NFL]

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Michael Airhart

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