By now, nearly storyline and angle for the Broncos and Panthers have been hashed out going into the Super Bowl. The Prop Bets are available to keep the non-football fan interested, which include wagers on things like how long Lady Gaga will sing the anthem, which song Coldplay will play first, and what color the Gatorade is that will be dumped on the winning coach. Even the commercials are getting leaked early (although I think that takes some of the fun out of it).
The Denver Post and The Charlotte Observer are also in on the game with their own friendly bets. If the Broncos win, the Post will receive “No. 1 IPA beer in the country” Hop, Drop and Roll (brewed in Charlotte) as well as some World Famous barbecue. If the Panthers win, the Observer will receive a broad selection of Colorado craft beer and bison steaks.
A tradition that we began here a year ago was to go beyond the teams playing the game, and compare the regions they’re from in EVERYTHING BUT FOOTBALL. Last year, New England had the edge over Seattle in our game here and eventually won the Big Game itself.
So for the fans (and newspapers) of each team, lets see how they stack up.
John Denver, Ginger Baker (drummer), Earth Wind & Fire, Flobots, The Fray, India.Arie, The Lumineers, Glenn Miller (Jazz), Neutral Milk Hotel, OneRepublic, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Judy Collins, The String Cheese Incident, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.
James Taylor, Tori Amos, George Clinton, K-Ci & JoJo, Anthony Hamilton, John Coltrane, Ben Folds, Petey Pablo, Fred Durst, The Avett Brothers and Ryan Adams.
The Edge – Carolina
This may be the toughest call, considering how subjective music is for everyone. However I’m taking quality over quantity here. Fred Durst and the EDM of Denver cancel each other out for things I’m good without. There are more pop acts in Denver, if The Fray and OneRepublic are your thing. Both regions bring the Funk with George Clinton and Earth Wind and Fire. But I’ll take the Carolina singer songwriters (Taylor, Adams and Folds) over John Denver *skypoint*.
Bonus Points too for my favorite school slow dance song ever, “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo.
Set in Colorado
South Park, Community, Diagnosis: Murder, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Nikita, Stargate SG-1, The Real World: Denver, The Man in the High Castle, Dynasty and Mork & Mindy.
Set in Carolina
East Bound and Down, Dawson’s Creek, The Famous Jett Jackson, One Tree Hill, The Andy Griffith Show.
The Edge: Denver
There isn’t too much programming set in either region. Community and East Bound and Down duke it out pretty well for comedies. I do love Andy Griffith and that whistling will be stuck in my head for the rest of the month, but 19 seasons of South Park is too many to pass on. Sorry, One Tree Hill fans.
Set in Colorado
The A-Team, About Schmidt, Aliens vs. Predators: Requieum, Beerfest, The Big Short, Blades of Glory, City Slickers, Cliffhanger, Interstellar, Misery, Phantoms, The Prestige, The Shining, Stargate, WarGames, and Dumb and Dumber
Set in Carolina
Cape Fear, Carrie, Cold Mountain, The Descent, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Kiss The Girls, Maximum Overdrive, Pitch Perfect, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Tin Cup, A Walk To Remember, and Bull Durham.
The Edge: Denver
Carolina makes a case with solid Kevin Costner sports movies. But Denver has two amazing Christopher Nolan films (Interstellar and The Prestige) the better Stephen King horror flick between The Shining and Carrie…and Dumb and Dumber.
The Edge: Carolina
It was a tough call, but I drooled the most researching all that southern comfort awesomeness.
The Edge: Carolina
Both seem perfect if you love the outdoors. I think if you love skiing/snowboarding and weed, you’ll probably lean toward Denver. The idea of mountains, beaches, and some college sports staples have me wanting to visit Carolina first. Red Rocks is a hard venue to pass up though.
In Denver (327 Craft Brewers)
In Carolina (151 Craft Brewers)
The Edge: Denver
This one is depends on your tastebuds, but I’ve always been partial to Colorado beer. Carolina seems to be on its way though.
Sports (other than football)
Colorado State Rams
Duke Blue Devils
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina State Wolfpack
The Edge: Carolina
The two Stanley Cups won by the Colorado Avalanche are admirable, but 12 Men’s Basketball National Championships won by Duke (5), North Carolina (5), and North Carolina State (2) are a bit more impressive…
…plus the fact that state produced the greatest player in NBA history.
Conference Championship Sunday featured the #1 seeds from both the AFC and NFC showing exactly how they got to where they are now. The Broncos defense beat the crap of Tom Brady, hitting him more than any other quarterback was all season, and their quarterback did enough to pull off the win. While the Panthers were also stellar on defense, their offense continued to shred another opposing top defense. Cam Newton became the 3rd quarterback to rush for 2 touchdowns and throw 2 as well in the playoffs (after Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick).
For the next two weeks, we’re going to wait way too long for what can be very good game…or an absolute blowout (I believe it will be the former). What you can expect is a plethora of storylines because both these teams aren’t lacking at all for them. You may get a new one every 12 hours until kickoff.
Here are ALL the storylines I could think of so far.
1. Cam’s Arrival
Cam Newton has fun. After yesterday’s 49-15 decimation of the Arizona Cardinals, Newton had compiled 50 total touchdowns for 2015-16 (regular season and post season combined). Newton has a patented pointing mechanic on first downs, dances after touchdowns, and hands the ball to a kid in the stands when he’s done. You may not like it, but you’re going to have to get used to it. The league has become his video game and everyone else looks like they’re on “Easy Mode” for him.
Newton came into the league as a Heisman Trophy winner with a bad rap. He was arrested at Florida for stealing a laptop. His time at Auburn was scrutinized due to an investigation into his recruitment, which the NCAA came away with nothing. He was still drafted #1 overall and now has a chance to win a Super Bowl after 5 seasons, very likely with an MVP trophy on his mantle as well. What’s scary is that he’s done it without his #1 receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, all season.
Football fans without a stick up their asses are loving it. Others will choose to be miserable, and you’ll hear plenty from them for the next 2 weeks.
Am I only one who thinks handing ball to kids feels like a show for TV? I'm sure I'm about to get bombarded w/ a charity angle I don't know.
Some people just can’t have nice things, and that’s fine. Newton fans, on the other hand, can keep enjoying the best player in the league right now. In his last 10 games, Newton has scored 31 touchdowns (24 passing, 7 rushing). Who else from Newton’s “generation” comes even close to his level of play? Maybe Russell Wilson, but that’s it.
2. Peyton’s Last Stand
Of the 4 quarterbacks facing off on Championship Sunday, Peyton Manning had the most on the line in terms of legacy. A win would help change his narrative that he’s just the best “regular season” quarterback. Now he’s won more games against 4-time champion Tom Brady than lost (3-2), and could join an elite group of only 11 quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl rings.
While the Broncos didn’t necessarily win because of Manning (we’ll get to that in a minute), they weren’t going to lose because of him either. When the running game couldn’t get going, Manning made key 3rd down conversions with both his arm and even his legs.
When Peyton Manning is successfully running boot plays on your defense, you might not deserve to go to the Super Bowl. In his 4th trip, Manning can do something that the president of the Denver Broncos, John Elway, accomplished before retiring…go out on top.
3. Defense Wins Championships
Super Bowl 50 is going to feature the league’s 2 best defenses who clearly proved that on Championship Sunday. The Broncos halted the #1 passing team in the NFL (New England) and the Panthers did the same with the #2 passing team (Arizona).
As mentioned earlier, the Broncos defense just manhandled Tom Brady and Von Miller led the way with 2.5 sacks and an interception. Miller’s presence was the certainly felt but so Derek Wolfe and DeMarcus Ware’s, only allowing Brady to finish 7/23 for 73 yards and a passer rating of 37.0 when pressured. The most impressive part of the Broncos defense dominating a fully healthy Patriots offense was that they were able to do so blitzing Brady a season low 17.2% of the time.
Throwing to Rob Growkowski against the Broncos, Brady was 8/15 for 144 and 1 touchdown. Throwing to everyone else, he was 19/41, 166 yards and 0 TDs. Heads up, Greg Olsen.
The Panthers ranked 2nd in defensive efficiency in 2015 (according to ESPN), just behind Denver. While the Broncos pressure the quarterback like crazy, the Panthers defense is racking up points off turnovers. On top Newton’s insane scoring rate, the Panthers have added 9.5 points per game to their net margin of victory as a result of takeaways, 1.7 points more than anyone else. They forced 7 turnovers, 6 from Carson Palmer, on Sunday.
4. Coaches Have A Lot In Common
Both Ron Rivera and Gary Kubiak played on teams that went to the Super Bowl. Rivera won as a linebacker with the 1985 Chicago Bears. Kubiak went to 3, all as backup quarterback to John Elway, and lost them too.
Both Rivera and Kubiak went to the Super Bowl as coordinators. Rivera was the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2006-07, losing to Peyton Manning’s Colts. Kubiak won three after his playing career, once as an assistant for the 49ers (1994) and twice more as Broncos offensive coordinator (1997 & 1998).
Now both Rivera and Kubiak will be standing on opposite sidelines of the sport’s biggest stage. They were also both successors for current Bears head coach John Fox.
5. Poor John Fox
Actually, good new Bears fans!
John Fox went to the Super Bowl in each of his second seasons with the Panthers and Broncos. He didn’t win, but going is a nice improvement.
6. Other Bears Connections
A few more former Bears you can root for in the Super Bowl, if you feel so inclined:
1. Greg, Son of Olsen.
2. Jared Allen (meh)
3. Charles “Peanut” Tillman (although on IR, but still a great dude)
7. Unsung Heroes
The Broncos “Other” Defensive Linemen (above)
While Miller, Ware and Wolfe get all the sack glory, defensive ends Malik Jackson and Antonio Smith and nose tackle Sylvester Williams are teeing them up and destroying opposing running backs.
Ted Ginn Jr.
I love that Ted Ginn Jr. went from being the guy who drops everything to a 10 touchdown WR. A lot of that may be thanks to his quarterback, but somebody has to take the top off defenses and burn opposing safeties like Ginn has.
Something I may have left out of Peyton Manning’s storyline was how Emmanuel Sanders made some of the BIGGEST plays on 3rd down for his quarterback. While Damaryius Thomas was off and on during the season, Sanders had 4 games of 8+ receptions. With Manning throwing more underneath and Josh Norman covering Thomas, Sanders will be a huge key against the Broncos nickel coverage.
Stay Tuned For More Super Bowl 50 Coverage on MichaelPiff.com. There will be more on the Halftime Show, Commercials, Media Day, and the annual “Everything But Football” piece as well. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
The Denver Broncos lead the New England Patriots 17-9 at halftime. Peyton Manning is 10/20 passing with 128 yards and 2 touchdowns to Owen Daniels. Tom Brady’s day has been less than stellar throwing 8/20, 87 yards and 2 interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Denver Police Department is having some fun at the Patriots O’s expense on Twitter.
If Fast and the Furious ever gets this many sequels, I quit.
I understand if you’re exhausted from hearing about this. It’s a storyline that’s been shoved down your throat for 2 decades, and both quarterbacks have their detractors. There’s a reason you’ve heard all the narratives for as long as you have though.
The last time neither Peyton Manning nor Tom Brady were in the AFC Championship was in 2011. Before then, it was 2006. Brady and Manning will be facing off for the 17th time this weekend, but it will be the 5th time in the playoffs with both winning 2 games a piece. Manning actually has an edge on Brady, having won 2 of their 3 matchups in the AFC Championship. This time could (and should) be their last, and it will be for a shot at Super Bowl 50.
When you bring up Manning and Brady, you’re talking about two of the best to play their position, the most important position in the most watched sport in the country. One year separates the two in age (Manning 39, Brady 38), and they are both in the Top 6 of career touchdowns, yards and passer rating. Manning ranks 1st, 1st, and 5th, Brady is 3rd, 5th and 6th. Brady’s 4 Super Bowl rings compared to Manning’s 1 are pretty glaring, but it’s still too fitting to see either of these 2 get another chance to play on the biggest stage in sports. Just a year ago, the Super Bowl drew it’s largest audience with 114.4 million people watching.
The numbers for both quarterbacks in their 16 meetings make up that of a solid regular season. Manning has completed 410 of 657 passes (62.4%) for 4,809 yards, 33 TDs and 22 INTs (87.4 QB rating). Brady has completed 367 of 553 passes (66.4%) for 4,013 yards, 31 TDs and 13 INTs (96.5 QB rating). Brady leads the series 11-5, with an 8-2 record against Manning at Foxboro and split 3-3 in Indianapolis/Denver. In the last 10 years though, Manning is 2-0 in the playoffs against Brady. Neither one has won against each other on the road since 2007.
Who has the most to gain with a win this Sunday though, with legacies mostly cemented going? Brady holds the record for most playoff wins (22) and has a 73.3 win percentage while Manning holds the record for the most playoff losses (13). Regardless the result of Sunday’s game, Brady will go down as one of football’s all-time greats as a winner because of his post season hardware. Manning will unfortunately be remembered as the greatest “regular season” quarterback who only came home with the ultimate prize once out of 15 chances, with a younger brother holding a second ring over his head…unless he wins Sunday and February 7th.
It’s amazing Manning has reached this point following his worst statistical regular season of his career and having to sit out due to injury. He’s had transform his game from being the dominant quarterback to “game manager”, and it worked great against the Steelers. With a Super Bowl quality defense, all Manning has to do now is hand the ball off, make the right checks evaluating the coverage, not turn the ball over, and make a play when it’s needed.
There are only 11 quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl rings:
Eli Manning – 2
Ben Roethlisberger – 2
John Elway – 2
Jim Plunkett – 2
Roger Staubach – 2
Bob Greise – 2
Bart Starr – 2
Troy Aikman – 3
Terry Bradshaw – 4
Joe Montana – 4
If Brady wins one more, he joins club of his own with 5. If Manning wins one more, he joins the club and fans will remember that more than the 13 playoff losses. Ask Elway, who lost 8 times before winning his 2 rings back-to-back to end his career. Can Manning have his Elway moment?
I tried to think about where this rivalry stacks up in sports. It’s not quite Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird. Two all-time greats, yes, but there were 8 championships won between the two (Magic 5, Bird 3) and they had to do it against each other in the Finals. Ali/Frazier was a whole different level of competition, and disrespect for each other. Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain though…
Russell is the greatest winner in basketball history with 11 championships and Chamberlain was statistically one of the best to ever play his position while winning his second ring late in his career. A big difference is that Russell and Chamberlain had to actually man-up on each other, but the legacy comparisons between them and Brady/Manning are certainly there.
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