Getting ready for Super Bowl 50, discussing some of the headlines going in will paint the picture for the narrative. In past comparisons you have seen Peyton Manning compared to Tom Brady, but that was for the purposes of comparing careers. This time, we take a look at the season and the team and some other stuff.
The season and stats
Cam- 17-1 (including postseason). QBR- 66.1, 3837 yards passing, 35 TDs/10 INTs. 636 yards rushing 10TDs.
Peyton- 10-2 (including postseason). QBR- 45.0, 2249 yards passing, 9 TDs/17 INTs. -6 yards rushing 0 TDs.
Cam- The team leader and heart and soul of a group that was left for dead just two short years ago. Ron Rivera was given a year to prove himself and everything came together last year. Even without #1 WR Kelvin Benjamin (who was out for the year before it began) the Panthers’ passing game has been better than average (wouldn’t quite call it elite, but it’s not a weak point). Greg Olsen has been a go-to even when double-teamed and various others have gotten open when necessary. Ted Ginn popped back up as a reliable returner and occasional deep-threat as a wideout. And Jonathan Stewart played most of the year and played well.
But it’s the defense that is the next best thing. Luke Kuechly is the QB of the defense and the difference-maker in terms of the things that you don’t see in the stats. And if there’s a big play that is needed, he is there to help. Thomas Davis had the better statistical season between the two linebackers and the Panthers are hopeful he can play through his broken arm to make the same kind of contributions.
Kawann Short has been the player most hoped Jared Allen would be (even in his latter years) with 11 sacks in the regular season. Even with a hurt Charles Tillman, the Panthers boast an impressive group of corners led by Courtland Finnegan and Josh Norman. Add in two experienced safeties in Kurt Coleman and Roman Harper, and you’ve got options across the board.
The Broncos are a different beast in that there were legitimate expectations for their cast to do more for this team than in years past. While guys like Emmanuel Sanders, Demauryius Thomas, CJ Anderson, and recently Owen Daniels have been dependable on offense, it’s really been the defense that has made this team go.
Are they one of the best defenses ever? No. Are they the best this season? Rankings might say yes, but I’m not even convinced they are the best in this game. But they have a group of awesome talents. Von Miller is perhaps the most talented defensive player in the game, DeMarcus Ware only had 7.5 sacks but made the kind of impression on the game that was important. Aqib Talib led the team with 3 interceptions.
And then there’s the guys that maybe the casual fan isn’t familiar with. Danny Trevathan was all over the field this season and led the team in tackles. Brandon Marshall was the trusty sidekick. Darian Stewart had a great year as free agent signing. And there’s TJ Ward somewhere in the back delivering big hits. Meanwhile, Chris Harris was their real shutdown corner.
The Other Stuff
Commercials. Peyton owns a franchise of Papa John’s but is better known for the work he’s done with his brother for DirecTV. He also does those Nationwide commercials that are annoying to say the least.
Cam reps Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt and a weird one for PowerBeats, among others. But he did do a good one for NFL Play 60.