By Danny Emerman and Eli Hearne.
Cam Newton is usually confident, flamboyant, and affable, but the Denver Broncos’ tenacious defense reduced him to a confused quarterback who was unable to read the defense or avoid the pass rush.
The Sunday night primetime showcase featured the high-powered offense of the 17-1 Carolina Panthers against the historically stout 14-4 Denver Broncos defense. The result– the most boring Super Bowl in recent memory.
The game included 15 punts, second only to the 2001 Super Bowl between the Ravens and the Giants. Also, the “legendary” Peyton Manning led the Broncos offense to 194 yards with 11 first downs. This set a new record for the lowest total yardage of a Super Bowl winning team. Also, the combined 3rd down success rate of 4-29 (13.8%), set another record for the lowest of all time.
Yet right when the nation was ready to take a quick nap at half, the Super Bowl halftime show woke up America. The mixed styles of Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and “Queen Bey” Beyoncé, lit up Levi’s Stadium.
The end of the show included a heartfelt tribute to past performances. With a background of “Fix You” by Coldplay, one of the most touching songs of all time, the screen flashed different clips of past performers including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney.
After a seemingly never ending third quarter, the Broncos led 16-7. The Panthers responded with a field goal, making it a one score difference, 16-10.
Even though the Panthers committed three turnovers, with less than five minutes remaining, Cam Newton had the ball and a chance to take the lead. On the third play of the drive, defensive end Von Miller jarred the ball loose as Newton dropped back. Newton hesitated and made no attempt to recover the fumble. The Broncos scored again and put the game out of reach, 24-10.
Von Miller later claimed the Super Bowl MVP trophy for his stellar performance. Miller forced two fumbles with strip sacks resulting in points for the Broncos. Even though Miller was the hero, it was Peyton Manning who still got all the media attention after the game.
Manning was statistically the worst quarterback to win a Super Bowl since Trent Dilfer. He threw 17 regular season interceptions (second most in the league) while only starting 9 games. Manning finished dead last in passer rating this season.
As the confetti dropped from the heavens, Peyton “The Sheriff” Manning embraced Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter. In his postgame on-field interview with CBS’ Tracy Wolfson, Manning promoted Budweiser (Current NFL players are not allowed to endorse alcohol products, but former players are). “You know, I’ll take some time to reflect,” Manning said after the game. “I got a couple of priorities first. I want to go kiss my wife and my kids. I want to go hug my family. I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight, Tracy. I promise you that.”
Super Bowl 50 ended the streak of Super Bowls breaking viewing records with 111.9 million viewers, 2.5 million short of the record, and third most views of all time.