Monday, February 8, 2016

Sportz Assassin's Take On Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl 50 ended with the Denver Broncos beating the Carolina Panthers 24-10.  Here are some takes I have about the game:

-What a defense!  If there was ever a defense that carried a team to a title, it was this one.  When you think of great defenses, the '85 Bears or '92 Cowboys or '00 Ravens or '13 Seahawks come to mind ... but in those Super Bowls, the offenses made plays.  This was a bad offensive showing for Denver (more on that later).  But this bunch made Cam Newton look bad.  He couldn't get a rhythm, he never looked comfortable and they did all this without anything exotic.

-That defense gave up just one touchdown to Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Cam Newton in this postseason.

-How bad was Denver's offense?  They were, what, 1-of-13 on third downs?  Peyton Manning's QBR was 9.9. They were the first team to win a Super Bowl with less than 200 yards of offense.

-Still, despite all of that defensive dominance, the Panthers were down 16-10 with the ball at midfield in the 4th quarter.

-The Panthers looked jittery.  Not just the four turnovers but all those penalties.  Carolina fans cannot cry foul as many were pre-snap penalties.  It looked like the moment was too big for them (that and the Broncos had them jumpy).

-Give Peyton Manning credit.  He knew he wasn't the guy who set all those records a few years ago.  He knew his job was to not make mistakes.  To get his offense into their plays and to not leave that defense hanging.  He did that.

-Manning is also the first QB to win Super Bowl titles for two franchises.  Kurt Warner nearly did it, but Manning sealed the deal.

For my 50 Stops to Super Bowl 50, here are some notes:

-#46:  The AFC is now 9-5 in February Super Bowls.

-#45:  The team who scores first is now 34-16.  The team with the first TD is 37-13.  And the team leading at half is 37-10 (there has been three ties).

-#42:  The "cat family" is now 0-4 in Super Bowls.  The Bengals and Panthers are both 0-2.  The Jaguars and Lions have yet to reach a Super Bowl.

-#27:  The experienced QB is now 11-10 against the inexperienced QB in Super Bowls.

-#25:  The favorite is now 32-18 in Super Bowls.  Carolina was the favorite in this one.

-#23:  The NFC has now won the coin toss in 17 of the last 19 Super Bowls.

-#22:  There now has been a successful field goal in 48 or the 50 Super Bowls.

-#19:  Teams wearing white jerseys have won 11 of the last 12 Super Bowls.  White jerseys are 32-18 in Super Bowls.

-#5:  The Broncos are now 3-1 lifetime against the Panthers.

-#3:  Manning is the 12th quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls.

-#1:  I still suck at picking Super Bowls.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

When You Have A Sentimental Team In The Super Bowl ...

The Charlotte Observer in 1993
when the NFL announced an
expansion team would be placed
in Charlotte.
"Sooooo ... who are you pulling for in the Super Bowl?  Carolina or Denver?"

Usually you get an answer.  Maybe they like a player on one of the teams.  Maybe there's a built in rival that someone will never root for.  Maybe one of the teams has a feel-good story.  Maybe there's a sentiment.

Me?  I'm rooting for Carolina.  Why?  I'm from Charlotte.

I'm sure you are saying, "Well, duh.  That's a dumb question to ask."  Maybe, but I'm not a Panthers fan.  I'm a die hard Washington Redskins fan.  I've been that way my entire life.  When John Riggins turned a 4th-and-1 into a Super Bowl title, I was hooked.  About a quarter of my closet is burgundy and gold shirts.  Even in the 24 years since the Redskins last Super Bowl appearance, I still feel like a championship fan.

So in 1995 when the NFL plopped a team in my hometown, it was exciting.  I will admit that it was awesome.  Still, I was a Redskins fan.  I'm not trading in my first 20 years of fandom for the new thing nearby.  No.  I'm not doing that.  My parents and my sister became diehard Panthers fans.  So did most of my friends and former classmates.  My Facebook page is filled with people from my teenage days that are hyped about the Panthers ... even though there was no Panthers when I hung with them.  I got a little miffed about the Panthers since their arrival knocked my Redskins off television locally as they were the local team.  You still find many Skins fans in the Queen City.

Another quarter of my closet is Carolina blue.  You know, the Tar Heels.  The team that North Carolinians call "Carolina".  Yeah, I'm a die hard of the Heels as well.  I own zero Panthers shirts.  The only Panthers stuff I have is a pennant that hangs in my son's room. That's to signify my family's team.  I also have a Bengals pennant up there now, as I have since moved to the Cincinnati area (where my son would be born) and wanted to put his hometown up there.

He's got two Redskins pennants as well.

Since the Panthers arrived, I must admit that I have a soft spot for them.  I like to see them do well, though it doesn't make me feel bad when they don't.  So when the Panthers got on this 15-1 roll and their playoff dominance on the way to the Super Bowl, I am a bit ... happy.  My family and friends are excited.  My hometown is glowing.  To bring that Lombardi Trophy would be unbelievable to Charlotte.  Charlotte is a relatively newer "big league" city.  The Hornets got there in 1988 and they and the Panthers have combined for zero championships.  Sure, my Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils have won 8 NCAA titles in that span ... those schools are two hours away in the Research Triangle.  It isn't Charlotte's win.  A Panthers Super Bowl title would be ... just as the two states will celebrate.

So I am excited to see the Panthers in the Super Bowl.  I hope they win, though it wouldn't kill me if they lost.

Go Redskins.