By Joe Yamulla || Sports Editor
It’s arguably the biggest day in sports every year. It’s so popular that it’s become an American holiday that families, regardless of background, gather around television sets and celebrate. Super Bowl 50 is upon us. On Sunday, February 7, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will battle it out for sports immortality and glory. It is legacy versus new-age superstar, as Peyton Manning and his seasoned Broncos are set to match up against Cam Newton and the young and confident Carolina Panthers.
When looking at this matchup, it is hard not to feel romantic.Thirty-nine-year-old Peyton Manning, the legendary old school-chevy who has done so much for the game of football, has one last shot to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
This season, he’s battled through injury and has even been benched in favor of young Brock Osweiler. However, despite all of the adversity, Manning hobbled, limped, and fought in a courageous effort against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship as the Broncos came out on top. The Broncos are an old-school, historic NFL franchise, and Manning, their seasoned veteran at the helm, is a pretty appropriate leader. Along with Manning, they have several dynamic offensive weapons. Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and running back C.J. Anderson are big time threats for Denver. The defense is also legitimate, as cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive end DeMarcus Ware are two pillars and forces to be reckoned with. From top to bottom, Denver is a lot to handle. They can come at teams on the ground and through the air and their defense has the ability to shut down offenses. Despite how tough the Broncos may be, they are not favored in this matchup in Arizona. Instead, it is 26-year-old superstar Cam Newton and the Panthers who are picked by many to take down Denver next week.
Love him or hate him, Cam is dynamic. He is a 6’5’’, 245 pound quarterback with incredible athletic ability and arm strength. Cam and the Panthers finished the season 15-1, and still have a chip on their shoulder. Very few picked them to make the playoffs at the start of the year, let alone be NFC Champions. However, they found a way to continue to win games that they were not favored in. The Super Bowl is the first time they are finally, and rightfully, favorited. The Panthers have an island of misfit toys when it comes to Cam’s offensive weapons. Highlighting their best weapons are Wide Receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Olsen. Their starting tackle is Michael Oher (the player who the film The Blind Side was written about). The Panthers real strength is their defense. Linebacker Luke Kuechly, and cornerback Josh Norman are two of the best in the NFL at shutting down offenses. The Panthers are scrappy, but often times extremely underrated and difficult to defeat. The only team who’s been able to do so was the Atlanta Falcons. With their winning ways, the Panthers have developed confidence. With every touchdown celebration from Cam Newton, the more the Panthers feel that they can bring Charlotte, North Carolina, its first Super Bowl Championship.
The Panthers don’t have the historic franchise, national fan base, or the legacy of the Broncos. They are a new-age crew of rough riders ready to finish writing their first chapter in the history of the NFL. It is still a week away, and excitement is pulsing through the veins of football fans across the country and the world. Get your party supplies ready, don’t forget the chips and buffalo chicken dip, and put on the jersey of your favorite team. It’s time to enjoy all the drama and excitement of Super Bowl 50.
Sophomore Joe Yamulla is the Sports Editor. His email is email@example.com.