By Vincent PAGE, intern
In a matchup that features two of the best defenses in the National Football League and the most exciting young player in the sport with Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton, the spotlight for Super Bowl 50 falls on 39-year-old Peyton Manning, who could very well be playing his last game of football Sunday.
“This might be my last rodeo,” Manning said last week to Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. This might be his best chance, with a promising group of wide receivers and a defense that has shut down the vaunted offenses of the Steelers and Patriots so far in the playoffs. Manning has still been one of, if not the, biggest factors so far in the playoffs. When you look at his stat line, you will not be overly impressed, because Manning only throws when he needs to. He has been beating teams with his head, checking passing plays to runs when he sees the matchup is better suited toward that. He brings his football IQ to the Super Bowl, which is superior to anyone else’s in the game.
While Manning beats teams with his head, Newton uses his physical abilities to conquer a defense. He is an impressive specimen, coming in at 6’ 5” and 245 pounds; he has the size (and speed) to take off at any given moment. Newton has already broken the career record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, and he has only been in the league for five years. Newton is also a remarkable thrower, as evidenced by his 422-yard performance in his first ever professional game. There is no doubt that Newton will be the NFL MVP this year, but still there are haters.
Newton is changing the way football is played. End zone dances. Superman cleats. The dab. These are all phenomenons amongst NFL fans nowadays. The debate as to whether this is too much or how the game is supposed to be played is one that has raged on all season long. Newton as a person is a lot more controversial than Newton the quarterback. The public perception of Newton is split. Old-time football fans hate the guy. The youth love him. He is flashy, fluorescent and carefree. Or maybe you see him as cocky, arrogant and immature. It does not matter what you feel towards the guy, though, as he has proved to be a stand-up guy, giving each ball used to score a touchdown to the nearest kid in the stands. There are also the NCAA violations he faced during his college days. He is to football fans what Planned Parenthood is to politicians. Both will always be debated, and will never be fully agreed upon.
The Super Bowl itself is going to be a close game. People think the Broncos are an old team because of Peyton Manning, but they have a young and dangerous defense, much like the Panthers. Linebacker Von Miller tore Tom Brady apart in the last game he played, and he will lead his defense to do the same this week as they shut down Cam and Co. for the first time all year, and possibly send Manning into retirement with one final victory.
Vincent Page is a CVHS senior and a Falcon football player.