The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday night. Knowing this may be the final game of Peyton Manning's career, the Denver defense stepped up and held the highest scoring offense in the league to 10 points and 4 turnovers.
You had to think that with these two defenses going head-to-head, this was going to be a low-scoring, hard-fought battle until the end. I have no problem watching a good defensive battle as long as it is not a sloppy game altogether, however, this wasn't the case for Super Bowl 50. Manning threw a measly 13 completions for 141 yards and 0 touchdowns, while Newton fumbled twice, once recovered for a touchdown. Oh, and not to mention a missed field goal by Graham Gano.
Aside from the first Denver drive, neither offense was able to get into a rhythm. MVP Von Miller had a lot to do with Carolina's woes, racking up 2.5 sacks against Cam Newton. 2 of those sacks included the strip sack which was recovered for a touchdown in the first quarter, and the game sealing strip sack at the end of the 4th. Miller seemed to be involved in every defensive play, and there was no player more deserving of the MVP than Von Miller.
I'm sure people are sick of the Cam Newton dancing rhetoric, and personally I could not care less how you celebrate. However, you need to be able to do it when the game really matters, and Cam Newton was unable to step up his game. Defenders of Newton used the phrase "if you don't like him dancing, don't let him score", and that's exactly what the Denver defense did.
When Newton fumbled for the second time in the 4th quarter, he failed to fall on a ball that was right at his feet, allowing Denver to recover and seal the game. Newton gave up on his team, plain and simple. He had a fun 18 games leading into the Super Bowl, but wouldn't put himself on the line when it mattered most, which I think says a lot about his character.
Post-game, Newton sat at the podium for a total of maybe 15 seconds before uttering "I'm done" and stormed off stage. I understand 10 minutes isn't much of a grieving process for losing the biggest game of your career, but you're called a professional for a reason, and you need to act like it. If you're going to dance around the field after every win, that's fine, but don't pout and throw a fit when you give up on your team and lose the Super Bowl.
A Super Bowl victory and 200th career win is definitely not a bad way to head off into the sunset, and this may be the case with Peyton Manning. There has been some speculation over the last few weeks that this would be Manning's last rodeo. Much like his boss John Elway in 1999 or Ray Lewis in 2012, Manning could be one of the greatest players at his position to win the big game then hang up the cleats.
It' hard to imagine that a few years ago Manning was throwing for 5,000+ yards and 50+ touchdowns, and now he's relying on his defense to help him win championships. You have to give credit where credit is due, and Manning put his ego aside to help Denver win a championship.
As a Patriots fan, it's hard to sit there and root for Manning because of my hatred for those Mile High clowns that root for the Broncos, but even I can't deny Manning's greatness. Much like when Jeter retired, you put your bias and hatred for that team aside to recognize the talent of that individual player.
The Manning/Brady rivalry may very well have come to an end with the end of that Super Bowl. Although many Patriots fans like to say that they're happy that Manning is done, but the league will never be the same without this rivalry.
So, I'll put aside my hatred for Denver to say congratulations to Peyton Manning on a great ending to a great career. My only problem is that he couldn't have an organic moment even after winning the Super Bowl. "I'm gonna go drink a lot of beer, Budweiser". Really, Peyton? You just won the Super Bowl and you're still plugging ads, just be human for two seconds. Congratulations, but c'mon.