Winners and Losers Super Bowl 50
While Super Bowl 50 was a bit sloppy with turnovers and too many penalties, the game was close throughout. As a witness to several Super Blowouts, I can attest that Carolina v. Denver was a good game. Try watching the biggest game of the year all the way to the end with one team up by 20 by the half.
Last night’s Super Bowl had plenty of storylines to keep everyone interested through all four quarters. The plot was good enough to keep us interested for several more days as we hash out the aftermath of the 50th edition of the most watched television event on Earth.
With just two teams I thought a winners / losers post might be tough. It was not. A man named Cam even made my favorite category the best fit of the 2015 season.
NFL Grown Man of the Week: Tough not to give this one to Peyton. Not because of his stellar play in his fourth Super Bowl. But because of how he gave the deserved credit to his teammates. This week’s Grown Man award has to go to Von Miller, who made life a living hell for Cam Newton. His strip sack that turned into a defensive touchdown encapsulated the entire game. Denver’s defense took away everything Newton and his offense wanted to do, just like Miller took the ball away from the Panthers’ QB. It was great to see a defensive player get the MVP.
NFL Child of the Week: Cam Newton is getting and deserves a lot of criticism for the way he handled himself after the loss. The MVP of the entire League can’t just walk away from a press conference, especially given the way Newton has sought the spotlight all year while things were going his way.
I’ve watched Brady, Manning, Russell Wilson, and many other quarterbacks face the music after a Super Bowl loss. It sucks to talk about one of the worst days of your life, but Cam has to take the good with the bad.
Superman doesn’t run and hide. I would drop the whole Superman shirt ripping bit going forward. The only thing that would be revealed under that jersey would be a baby bib. Not a super suit.
Winner: Aqib Talib, who apparently got aroused by his team’s Super Bowl win and made on camera romantic plans with his wife after the game.
Loser: This was a bad way to go out for Greg Olsen. Four catches for just 41 yards to Newton’s favorite target set the stage for the upset. Olsen wasn’t the only receiver blanketed by Denver’s secondary. Even when Cam had enough time to throw, he struggled mightily to find anyone open on many occasions.
Winner: DeMarcus Ware waited a long time to reach the Super Bowl. Without him, I don’t know if Denver would have been in a position to win their first world title since John Elway rode off into the sunset. Ware finished the biggest game of his life with five tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for a loss. Ware could have won the MVP award had his buddy Von not played the game of his young life.
Loser: Ron Rivera. Coach had a terrific year and deserves credit galore. His team will be back in the title hunt in 2016.
I have to say I disagreed with Rivera’s decision to punt the ball, down by 14 very late in the game. And he should have put in more running plays for Cam in the second half when it was clear nothing else was working.
Winner: John Elway started the planning for this Super Bowl run the moment time ran out on the beating administered by Seattle just two years ago on Super Sunday. He saw the difference in the game was his weak defense compared to the fierce one on the other side of the field. Elway went out and got the players needed to give his quarterback the best chance of winning the Super Bowl. Has one player been a bigger part of his franchise’s success than Elway?
Loser: I thought the Carolina defense would match whatever Denver’s D brought to the table. For the most part they did, holding the Denver offense to just 194 total yards and only 11 first downs. The difference was the defensive score that Denver had. It gave Kubiak the lead he needed to keep Manning from having to sling the ball all over the field.
Winner: Peyton Manning. I’m more a Tom Brady guy, but even I had goosebumps as Manning talked after his second Super Bowl victory. He was classy and engaged as always, appreciating the moment fully.
This wasn’t his best game ever obviously. Not by a mile.
Yet he’s played in plenty of games where he wasn’t the weak link and made up for lots of weaknesses at other positions on his teams. In the NFL, games aren’t won by one great player. It takes a solid team effort.
In 2015, one of the best players to ever play the game was no longer the same guy that could tote the load on his own shoulders. Fortunately for Peyton Manning, a team was assembled around him that was able to take the load off him, making a Super Bowl Title a reality.
Loser: Catches. We had another sketchy reception ruling that was a big factor in this game. It seemed clear to me that Jerricho Cotchery made a catch in the first half, yet the review upheld the incomplete ruling on the field. Had this play been reversed, Newton probably wouldn’t have been stripped sacked two plays later near his own end zone with the Broncos defense scoring on the play.
As fans, we lose the NFL for another offseason. Months will go by before we get to enjoy the sport that owns America’s attention.
The final game of the year is always tough to let go. Yet there will be plenty of NFL news to keep us interested during the next few months.
As a matter of fact, I need to go clear my calendar for the NFL Combine coming up on February 23-29.