Black Quarterback: Super Bowl Preview and Pick
By Brandon Simmons
The Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos may be one of the most intriguing Super Bowl matchups of all time. While everyone is either talking about how black Cam Newton acts or if this is Peyton manning’s last game, they have forgotten two football teams will actually be for championship this weekend.
Both teams come in as the number one seeds of their conference while their defenses have been the highlight of their squads. Then you turn your attention to what makes this game so special: the quarterback position. Each team has a more-than-solid quarterback but with very unique styles. Newton is the young, rising, dual threat superstar who can use his arm as a huge threat to any secondary. His 6’4 250 pound frame and speed makes him a danger to any linebacker that tries to tackle him when he scrambles to extend plays or get extra yardage. Manning is the veteran who may have been plagued by injury, but possesses the football intelligence that has put fear in many defensive coordinators. His age does not allow him to have the athletic prowess that Newton has, but what he has in experience makes up for any of the athleticism he is lacking.
But these guys are not the only acts in their tour. As I mentioned earlier both teams have exceptional defenses, statistically in the top 10 during the regular season. For Carolina their specialty is stopping the run, while the Broncos are known for stopping the pass game and getting after your quarterback (ranked no.1 in pass defense and sacks).
However, after looking at how these two teams match up against each other, you begin to pick apart at their strengths and weaknesses. The Broncos have a little bit more in their receiving group than the Panthers. While it may not be the same deep threat passes we are used to seeing Manning throw, they are still spread out to a multitude of receiver. But it’s the Panthers who have a little more in their running game as they are 2nd in the league in rushing.
While numbers and stats serve as great indicators on what to expect from teams, nothing is a better indicator than the naked eye, and the Panthers were the team that appealed the most. . The Broncos looked sharp early on against the Patriots in the conference championship, but as the game went on it seemed to slow down and you can see it how it kept the Patriots in the game. Carolina has demolished both of their opponents in the playoffs so far. Now I was skeptical about their performance against the Seahawks in the divisional round since they jumped to 31-0 lead in the first half but allowed 24 unanswered points. However, they cleaned all of that in the conference championship against the Cardinals; a game in which they tore up Cardinals QB Carson Palmer by sacking him and forcing him to make errant throws.
Therefore, it is safe to drink the powder blue Kool-aid and root for the Carolina Panthers. They are playing at a high pace level needed for playoff football and then some. The Panthers have even found themselves in battle-tested games, where the score was close, or they were down, and eventually pulled it out. I don’t believe too much in my knowledge of score guessing to give you a final score but I expect this to be a close game; and the Panthers to close in on that title.
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