What you need to know about the Broncos, Panthers and Super Bowl 50
MANILA, Philippines – The 50th edition of the National Football League’s Super Bowl takes place on Monday, February 8, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The game begins at 7 am Manila time.
The two teams vying for the Lombardi Trophy are the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Both were the top seeds in their respective conferences during the regular season, making the Super Bowl encounter quite literally the best against the best.
Here are answers to some of the questions you might have heading into the big game:
Who are the Denver Broncos?
Spearheaded by their league-leading defense, the Broncos were the top seed in the American Football Conference this regular season after compiling a 12-4 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the always-lethal Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round before taking care of the defending champion New England Patriots in a tightly-fought AFC Championship game. Both contests took place on their home field, Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Broncos franchise isn’t new to the big stage. Just two years ago, they made it to the 2014 Super Bowl but were decimated by the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8, unable to break a 15-year title-less slump.
The last time Denver won an NFL title was in 1999, when quarterback John Elway, who’s now the team’s Vice President of Football Operations, led the franchise to a second straight Super Bowl championship, 34-19, over the Atlanta Falcons.
In their history, the Broncos have made the final stage of the NFL season 7 times but have only two rings to show for it.
Statistically-speaking, Denver’s defense is one of the most dominant the NFL has seen - something that was most apparent when they held the Tom Brady-led Patriots to only 18 points in the AFC Championship game after New England averaged 29.1 a game in the regular season. Even before the playoffs, Denver allowed only a total 4,530 yards and 283.1 yards per contest, both of which were best in the league.
Featured by defensive aces like linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, and cornerback Aqib Talib, Denver also allowed only a league-best 199.6 passing yards per game, which is quite extraordinary when you consider how much of a passing-oriented game the NFL has become.
On offense, the Broncos will be led by Peyton Manning, a bonafide future Hall-of-Famer and someone whom many consider as the greatest regular season quarterback ever.
But it’s no secret this has been the worst season of Manning’s career. After breaking NFL records in passing yards and touchdowns just two years back, the 39-year-old threw for only 9 touchdowns in the regular season and 2,249 yards - career-lows.
He also threw 17 interceptions, plus was hounded by a torn plantar fascia injury that kept him out a few weeks during November-December. Manning was actually also benched during a game against division rival Kansas City for backup Brock Osweiler, who finished the regular season with 1,967 yards and 10 touchdowns to 6 interceptions in 8 games.
Manning encountered controversy this year after it was reported in an Al-Jazeera documentary that he took human growth hormone to recovery from past injuries - something he vehemently denied.
This will most likely be Manning’s last season, so the upcoming Super Bowl is likely his last ever performance, and after going 1-2 in his first 3 Super Bowl appearances (win vs. Chicago, losses against New Orleans and Seattle), he’s definitely hoping to end his already spectacular career on a high note - especially to erase the bad taste of the blowout loss to Seahawks.
Who are the Carolina Panthers?
After Carolina lost top wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL during training camp, many believed Carolina was doomed. Already a struggling team on offense last year, it was inconceivable to some how the Panthers would manage enough offense to make the playoffs, let alone contend for a title.
Carolina has easily shattered all expectations. Led by a top-flight defensive attack and an explosive offense powered by this season's NFL MVP Cam Newton, the Panthers blew away the competition in the regular season with a 15-1 record and took care of business in dominant fashion against the Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals in the postseason to get to where they are now.
Since its entrance to the NFL in 1995, the Jerry Richardson-owned Panthers had only made it to the Super Bowl once before this season: in 2003, when they lost to the Patriots. This year, the team is better-equipped to win the Lombardi Trophy.
They rank in the top 10 of nearly every defensive category thanks to the number of playmakers they have on that side of the field, especially the brash, cocky, and uber talented rookie Josh Norman.
On offense, their 142.6 rushing yards per game ranked best in the NFL during the regular season, but they can also fling the football as they averaged 224.3 passing yards a contest.
Newton, the top pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, has been nothing short of exquisite in his breakout year as arguably the most all-around quarterback in the NFL.
In the regular season, he threw for 3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. Adding to that, he also ran for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. One of the reasons he’s been so accurate? Tight end Greg Olsen, his favorite target, who had 77 catches for 1,104 yards and 7 touchdowns during the regular season.
Ted Ginn Jr and Jerricho Cotchery also deserve recognition for playing great, and so does Jonathan Stewart, who thrived in the regular season with 989 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns.
Isn't Broncos wide receiver Jordan Norwood Filipino?
Filipino-American Jordan Norwood is the brother of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and Gilas Pilipinas forward Gabe Norwood, who hopes that the NFL will gain more popularity with his brother playing in the big stage.
Norwood plays wide receiver for the Broncos, and even if he’s not as much of an attention-grabber as Sanders or Thomas, he’s been helpful this season with 25 catches for 233 yards.
The 5-foot-11 slot WR has had a turbulent journey to get to where he is now, which surely makes playing in the Super Bowl much sweeter for him. He went unselected in the 2009 NFL Draft and was cut by both the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 before tearing his ACL during a practice game for Denver in 2014.
Now back in top shape, the 29-year-old has been an important part of Denver’s passing attack and could be one of the under-the-radar guys to make a big play or two in the Super Bowl.
Who’s performing in the Super Bowl halftime show?
This is one of the most anticipated parts of the Super Bowl. For some, it’s even more exciting than the game itself. After being treated to Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and Missy Elliott last year, this season’s Super Bowl will have Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars on stage. Lady Gaga is also expected to be present for the national anthem.
What about the commercials?
Another anticipated portion of the Super Bowl: the ads. According to ESPN, CBS is charging $5,000,000 a 30-second commercial during the game - an 11% increase over the base price that NBC charged for last season’s Super Bowl.
20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, and Walt Disney Studios are all expected to pay for movie trailers. Viewers will get to watch clips of The Jungle Book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Deadpool, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, per the International Business Times.
Movies such as the fifth Bourne film, X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day: Resurgence, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, Zoolander 2, and Zootopia are rumoured to have trailers as well.
What is a dab?
“Dabbin’” is the Atlanta lingo for a level of confidence to your swag. Well, that’s how urbandictionary.com describes it.
Let’s just say the Panthers have made this quite famous. Truth be told, it’s actually quite a great dance which Newton, a George native, does best:
Heck, it’s become such a thing that even the 2015 Miss Universe, our very own Pia Wurtzbach, has done it:
How can you watch the Super Bowl in the Philippines?
It’s true that American Football isn’t that huge of a sport in the Philippines yet, and understandably so considering the expensive equipment, high number of required players, and the need for a reliable field.
However, the sport still has a quite the following in the country, and many of these fans will be out and about early Monday morning.
Here are two reliable sports bars where you can watch the game:
Skinny Mike’s in Bonifacio Global City:
Bugsy’s Bar and Bistro in Bonifacio Global City:
You’ll probably run into some of the members of the Pilipinas Aguilas, the national tackle football team of the Philippines. Make sure to ask them for some pointers, but more importantly, don’t be foolish enough to think you can tackle them.
For those at home, the game will be televised live on TV5 beginning at 7 am. – Rappler.com