The Super Bowl is not a new concept for either team playing in Super Bowl 50. Both teams have played in a Super Bowl, but the Broncos are the only team of the two that has won. Let’s take a look back at recent Super Bowl appearances involving both teams.
Super Bowl XXXVIII - Panthers first appearance
Played on February 4th, 2004, the Panthers faced off against the New England Patriots. Coming off an 11-5 regular season led by quarterback Jake Delhomme and head coach John Fox, the Panthers went from 1-15 the season before to a Super Bowl berth. They defeated the Cowboys, Rams, and Eagles to reach the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for the Panthers, their magical season would end short of a Lombardi Trophy losing 32-29 to New England.
The first half was mainly a defensive battle until just before the 2 minute warning when Tom Brady found Deion Branch for a touchdown. The Panthers would then counter with a Steve Smith 39-yard catch and run for the TD. The Patriots would then go 78 yards in 49 seconds to reclaim the lead 14-7. The scoring still was not over for the first half as John Kasay kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
There were no points scored in the 3rd quarter. The 4th quarter began with a 14-10 score. The Pats struck first with a touchdown run from Antowain Smith. Carolina would then score back to back touchdowns. Each time, they went for the 2-point conversion but failed on both attempts. 22-21 Carolina. The Patriots and Panthers then traded touchdowns making the score 29-29. The Patriots also successfully converted a 2 point conversion. With 1:08 left in the game, Panthers kicker John Kasay kicked the ball out of bounds giving the Patriots the ball at their own 40 yard line. They were able to drive down the field and set up a game-winning kick from Adam Vinatieri giving the Patriots their second Super Bowl in 3 years.
Super Bowl XXXIII – John Elways goes out on top.
Played in Miami, Florida on January 31, 1999, the Broncos were attempting to defend their Super Bowl title from the year before. They were lead by head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback John Elway. The Broncos finished the regular season with a 14-2 record and defeated the Dolphins and Jets to reach their second straight Super Bowl where they would face off against the Atlanta Falcons.
This game was never very close as the Broncos quickly took a 17-6 lead at halftime. After halftime, the Broncos intercepted a charging Falcons offense. Elway then completed a 39-yard catch and run to Terrell Davis. Elway would then finish the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The following kickoff was returned by Tim Dwight to cut the deficit to 31-13. The Falcons would add another 6 points on a touchdown pass from Chris Chandler to Terance Mathis. After failing to recover the ensuing onside kick, the Broncos were able to run out the clock for their second consecutive Super Bowl title. John Elway would retire following the game.
Super Bowl XLVIII – Peyton Manning Bonus
How could I talk about Super Bowls without including the last appearance for the Broncos “best” player: Peyton Manning. Played in the cold weather of the New York Metropolitan area, Super Bowl XLVIII was hyped up to be one of the greatest games ever. It featured the number one ranked offense of the Denver Broncos and the number one ranked defense of the Seattle Seahawks. The Broncos finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the Chargers and Patriots to gain a Super Bowl berth.
The game was a blowout from the first snap of the game. Peyton Manning was not ready for the snap from center Manny Ramirez and the ball sailed into the end zone. The Broncos recovered the ball but the Seahawks still got 2 points for the safety. Seattle led the game 22-0 at halftime and would eventually win the game 43-8. The Broncos only score came on a 14-yard pass from Manning to Demaryius Thomas. They also converted the 2-point conversion. This loss dropped Manning to 1-2 in the Super Bowl.
By Matt Nadworny