Super Bowl 50 is set. Broncos vs Panthers. Two of the best defenses is all of the NFL facing off with each other. And then there is the quarterback matchup. The consummate professional veteran vs the brash petulant upstart. Peyton Manning, one of the legends of professional football vs the Cam Newton, the legend in his own mind. As a Gator fan, I never liked Peyton because he played for Tennessee but I had to admit as he progressed through his NFL career that not only was he one of the best I had ever seen but also carried himself with class and dignity. I watched Cam Newton wear out his welcome in Gainesville with a stolen laptop incident and then rumors of academic fraud. Newton opted to transfer out before facing the music. Peyton was not without his college issue. He allegedly mooned a female reporter in the locker room at Tennessee after a game. Newton would later join Auburn amid rumors of his father peddling his son’s signature for hundreds of thousands of dollars. You might be picking up on the fact that I don’t hold Cam Newton in high regard.
I don’t like Newton’s history and I don’t like the way he acts after scoring a touchdown. I cannot help but wonder if he would taunt opposing defenses so extravagantly if the NFL didn’t have a “can’t touch the quarterback” rule. All of that said, I do have to admit that Cam is one of the best quarterbacks I have seen recently. And I think he will be the difference in this Super Bowl one way or the other. If he turns in the kind of performance he is capable of, Denver will lose by double-digits. If Von Miller and the Bronco defense can get to Cam, frustrating him AND prevent him from escaping containment and improvising, Denver might pull off the upset. Newton will have to make mistakes for the Panthers to lose.
Honesty compels me to admit that I also thought the Patriots would beat Denver by double-digits. The Broncos were able to disrupt a very good New England offense and might be able to do the same against the Panthers. Since I have no real vested interested in the outcome of this game, I just want a good contest. That AFC Championship Game was spectacular to watch. The NFC game, not so much. I really don’t want to be just waiting for the next commercial in the second half.
I’m not even mildly interested in the halftime show. Coldplay would be something different for a change but in their infinite wisdom the powers that be decided to water that down with retreads Beyonce and Bruno Mars. Been there, done that. They probably didn’t want Will and Jada Smith to boycott. I guess I can use halftime to take a whiz, mix another bourbon and ginger ale and fix a second plate of food. I always postpone my New Year’s diet until after the Super Bowl which means I will be having my last meal before a grueling 72 hours or so of strict sacrificing before I give up and order a pizza to my hotel room about Wednesday.
Wherever you opt to watch the game, I hope you have friends around you and enjoy the festivities. It should be more than a mere football game. Make it an event.