A picturesque Levi’s Stadium, glistening with an angelic glow in the Santa Clara, California sunset, placed a halo on the heads of Peyton Manning and the Broncos as they defeated the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in Super Bowl 50.
The story of the night wasn’t only the Broncos winning their third championship in franchise history, but more importantly, whether or not the presumed future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning will hang up his cleats next season. An 18-year career of domination and professionalism could be capped off by a fairy tale ending, and fans believe this is the way Manning will go.
“Everyone wants to finish on a good note,” said Dean Roventini, a junior. “Manning has been the ideal football player that everyone wants to be. It’s only right that he ends his career with the trophy in his hand.”
Unlike his first title win, Manning can thank his defense for his second ring. The Von Miller and Demarcus Ware-led powerhouse was too much for Cam Newton. Miller, the game’s MVP, had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles that set the tone for the entire game.
“The Broncos stopped the run, and with lockdown coverage on the Panther receivers, Cam had nowhere to go,” said junior George Hunkele.
On the other side of the confetti was Newton. He didn’t have his mojo, as two fumbles and an interception were the highlights of his first trip to the Super Bowl. His frustration during the game carried into the postgame press conference where he abruptly walked out on the media.
The 2015 Associated Press MVP selection couldn’t cap off his best season in the NFL with a trophy. However, fans say not to worry.
“The potential is there,” said Michael Denino, another junior. “With Kelvin Benjamin returning next season, the Panthers could be right back where they were and come away with the W.”
It may not have been the greatest Super Bowl to watch as not one of the prolific quarterbacks threw a touchdown, but the stories behind each team made it one for the books, and like any good book, there are always questions after the final sentence.
Will Manning say goodbye to football? How will Newton bounce back from one of the best seasons ever by a quarterback in NFL history? The 2016 NFL season seems to be set up for a great sequel.