Thursday, February 11, 2016
Super Bowl 50 Aftermath
Was this Peyton Manning's last game?
It should be. And it would be a fitting end for Manning. In a perfect world, the Denver defense would have carried him off the field and deposited him in his living room and barricaded the door with the same fervor they barricaded the Carolina goal line.
Well-known as a master of preparation, we know Manning will make an informed decision, ostensibly not without first consulting his financial advisor Papa John, and social consultant Budweiser.
What was the story of the game?
In a word, turnovers. In more words, the location of those turnovers. Both of Cam Newton's two fumbles took place deep inside Carolina's own territory. Both led to Denver touchdowns, one directly, the other eventually.
On the other hand, Manning's two turnovers occurred on Carolina's side of the field, and resulted in only three points for the Panthers.
Was the Broncos game plan brilliant?
Yes, on both sides of the ball. Obviously, Wade Phillips' scheme worked to perfection: Denver easily pressured Newton with their front four, took Greg Olsen out of the game, and punished the Panthers, especially Newton, with their hitting. By forcing 4 turnovers, Denver's defense literally put the team in position to win. Von Miller was unstoppable. It's one thing to "impose your will" upon an offense; Denver "imposed their Mill'" on Carolina.
What may be under-appreciated is Gary Kubiak's offensive game plan. Denver came out passing on their first possession, and seemed to catch the Panthers off guard. Kubiak recognized the importance of an early score, and his team capitalized with a Brandon McManus field goal. In a series of moral victories, this was the first for the Broncos. Carolina won the coin toss and elected to kick; Denver's relative ease at putting these early points on the board had to be somewhat demoralizing.
What about Carolina's game plan?
Defensively, the Panthers did what they had to do and more. If you would have told Ron Rivera that Carolina would sack Manning 5 times and force 2 turnovers, he probably would have dabbed right then and there.
The problem was the Carolina offensive game plan. More specifically, the lack of adjustments. In the second half, Denver continued to attack off the edges with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, yet Carolina was still unable to defend it. With an extended break at halftime, one would think Ron Rivera and staff would have had plenty of time to devise countermeasures. They call Rivera "Riverboat Ron" for his fearlessness, but on Sunday, Rivera seemed reluctant to change.
Is Cam Newton a sore loser?
Yes, because he lost, and he's never taken a beating like that in his life.
Was Von Miller a deserving Super Bowl MVP?
Miller was an easy choice for MVP after posting what was arguably the most dominating individual defensive performance in Super Bowl history.
You could make a case for Manning; that case would contain 24 Budweisers and not the MVP trophy.
What was the best Super Bowl commercial?
It's hard to vote against Willem Dafoe in a dress, or a Doritos-craving fetus, or a commercial featuring avocados and Scott Baio, but the T-Mobile commercial featuring Drake and three other white people took the prize. Sadly, Drake's performance is destined to be referenced incessantly in future Meek Mill dis tracks.
Cute points go the Heinz's ad featuring a flock of Dachshunds dressed as hot dogs racing towards humans dressed as ketchup. Who would have guessed they were heading towards ketchup? If I see stampeding wieners, I'm expecting the Kardashian women on the receiving end.
Also memorable was the Apartment.com ad featuring Jeff Goldblum singing the theme to "The Jeffersons," while later encountering "George and Weezy" in the form of George Washington and Lil' Wayne. That's "Old Money" and "Young Money."
What was up with Aqib Talib crashing the set of NFL Network Gameday?
I'm not sure, but if you add Talib to a set featuring Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin, host Chris Rose seems even more white. The ensuing impromptu interview seemed less an interview and more a soul-shaking demonstration.
Did Talib lose his mind early in the game with three penalties, including two personal fouls?
It's one thing to be fired up, but Talib seemed to be too hyped. It seemed he needed to blow off some steam; unfortunately for Talib, the Super Bowl frowns upon careless gun play.
His first personal foul was for taunting. It appeared he was using foul language to berate Corey Brown and was flagged for it. You've got to excuse Talib for cursing — he has to, because anything he says in that pipqueak-y voice of his wouldn't scare a flea.
Once he settled down, Talib played a great game, with 5 tackles and 2 passes defended.
How would you rate the halftime show?
I find it hard to compare Super Bowl halftime shows, mostly because I don't watch them.
From what I hear, Coldplay's performance was pretty tame compared to Beyoncé's, which she apparently used as a platform to attack dirty cops. It certainly was not a routine performance. In other words, there were no "casual-ties."
On a side note, Beyoncé's hips could be measured in yards, not inches.
Could Newton have tried a little harder to recover his final fumble?
There's a time to dab, and there's a time to grab. This was a situation in which the latter applied.
Newton said he didn't try to recover the ball because he feared an injury. Thomas Davis heard this and rolled his eyes.
Can the Panthers and/or Broncos make a return trip to the Super Bowl next season?
Both teams are well-positioned to challenge for the title next season. The Broncos' defense will remain mostly intact, and with Brock Osweiler at quarterback, Denver will actually have a downfield passing game. Gary Kubiak might actually want his offense on the field next season.
As for the Panthers, the motivation will certainly be there, and Carolina will be the favorite in the NFC South.
Alas, both will fall short. My prediction: Green Bay versus New England in Super Bowl 51.
What does the future hold for Johnny Manziel?
If he's lucky, conjugal visitation.
What's LeSean McCoy doing in Philadelphia brawling with off-duty policemen?
Obviously, McCoy has a problem with authority in Philadelphia.
Why is Marshawn Lynch retiring?
Pete Carroll may not know when it's time to run; Lynch knows when it's time to "walk."