Super Bowl 50 features seasoned vet vs. talented newcomer

Alec Rainsford

The Super Bowl match up has been set, and with storylines abound this should be one of the best in years. Perhaps the most exciting element of this matchup is the juxtaposition between the respective quarterbacks. On one side there is athletic specimen, and likely MVP, Cam Newton, and, against all odds, on the other is grizzled veteran Peyton Manning.

In what very well could be the last game of an illustrious career, Manning will play for a Super Bowl in just 10 days. The journey Manning has taken to the biggest event in American sports has certainly been exciting, not to mention extremely unlikely. After yet another triumph over the great Tom Brady in Sunday’s AFC Championship game (Manning is 3-1 in these match ups), Manning and the Broncos head to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. On Sunday Manning threw for 176 yards with two touchdowns and, perhaps more importantly, zero interceptions. The Broncos quarterback did not look like a man who suffered a torn plantar fascia only two months ago, but that resilience has been synonymous with Manning throughout his career. In 2011 Manning was forced to miss the entire season due to a neck injury, which would require four surgeries, and now he is ready to lead his team into the Super Bowl for the second time in the last three years. When he does take the field, at age 39, Manning will become the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl. Manning has not commented on his status for next year, but speculation mounts that this may be his last game, and what a fitting way it would be to go out.

Unfortunately for Manning and the Broncos, the Carolina Panthers will do their absolute best to prevent this fairy tale ending. The Panthers are led by the charismatic superstar Cam Newton who will be looking to cap off a dream season with a Super Bowl victory of his own. Newton has taken the NFL by storm this year, leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and a sound defeat of the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday’s NFC championship game. Newton’s game is very different than that of Manning’s, as he relies on athleticism and pure natural ability to dominate defenses. Manning, on the other hand, uses guts and guile to put points on the board for the Broncos. Newton was the number 1 pick in the 2011 draft, a full 13 years after Manning was the number 1 pick of the Colts, and Newton looks at least 13 years younger than Manning on the field. After leading the league’s highest scoring offense, there is no doubt that Newton is now the face of the NFL.

There are many storylines that will be picked apart leading up to the big show, but the most compelling has to be the match up between Manning and Newton. Will Manning end his amazing career on the highest of high notes? Or will Newton lead his team to the top for the first of what could be many Super Bowl titles?