By Austin Hutchinson
Every red-blooded American will sit down this Sunday and watch this year’s biggest television event, the Super Bowl.
Amid the media chaos, dug up scandals, commercials and the halftime show, some of us forget that an actual championship football game is going on.
The NFC champion, the Carolina Panthers, so far have capped their 17-1 season with a 49-15 slaughtering of the Arizona Cardinals.
Cam Newton, the surefire MVP of the NFL, had 45 touchdowns on the season, 10 of those rushing. He also threw for 3,837 yards while rushing for 636 yards. Plus, he’s the leader of a one loss team. That is MVP material.
Josh Norman, Luke Kuechly, Kurt Coleman, Kawann Short and Thomas Davis lead the way for the defense with 424 tackles, 19.5 sacks and 19 interceptions combined in the regular season. That is a huge group of defensive playmakers, all of which amount to a defining force in this defining moment of the NFL season
The AFC champion, the Denver Broncos, defeated the New England Patriots in a low-scoring barnburner, 20-18, on the strength of their top ranked defense and Peyton Manning’s two clutch touchdowns.
Ever since the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX last February, Tom Brady seemed to have locked up his place as the best quarterback of this century – and maybe ever. But when the Broncos were able to intercept Brady twice during the loss, a thought reappeared in the minds of sports fanatics everywhere; Is Manning a better quarterback?
After neck surgery, it was clear Manning had lost all mobility and arm strength to be a competent NFL quarterback. But, is Manning able to step up his game for one last hurrah?
It will all come down to Manning’s defense in Denver, one that had 52 sacks and 25 forced fumbles during the regular season. The Broncos have a pass rush with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware that would make any opposing offensive lineman pee their pants.
Newton, a 26-year old quarterback. You can’t stereotype him as a rush first black quarterback. He has proved his greatness in both the pass and rush game as a quarterback; he could be this generation’s quarterback we all adore. But will his youth and lack of Super Bowl experience be his downfall?
Manning, a 39-year old perfectionist at quarterback. He will go down as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game but will his aging skills carry him far enough to finish his career with a Super Bowl win?
A quarterback matchup that will be never forgotten. No matter what, Super Bowl 50 will be a game to remember. A game for all ages.