The best storyline was Peyton Manning, winning Super Bowl 50 in what may have been the final game of his historic career.
However, the best performers in Sunday night’s Super Bowl was that magnificent defense of the Denver Broncos.
Denver smothered and harassed Carolina’s Cam Newton and high-powered Panthers in a 24-10 victory Sunday night on their way to an upset victory. The defense, led by Von Miller, sacked Carolina seven times, including six of Newton, the league’s MVP. That defense recovered three fumbles and forced an interception.
Most of the questions, of course, are about Manning, who said after the game that he was going to take some time before deciding whether this was his final game. It would certainly be a good way to end it. Manning had only a net 104 yards passing, one of the lowest game totals of his career.
But that defense held Carolina to only one touchdown. Throughout the season, the 17-2 Panthers had scored less than 24 points only once all season.
Quarterback Cam Newton threw for 265 yards and ran for 45, but he was constantly pressured and never seemed to be able to get into a rhythm. Much of the reason for that was Miller, the game MVP, who had 2½ sacks.
“I’m so proud of my guys,” Miller said.
One of those guys is Manning.
“I got some good advice from Tony Dungy, my old coach,” Manning said about retiring. “He said not to make an emotional decision. This has been an emotional week, and emotional night. I’m going to take some time.”
Until Sunday night, Manning had the reputation as a great quarterback statistically, but one who didn’t win the big game often enough. He had lost two of his three Super Bowls and 13 playoff games. But like John Elway, the Broncos’ general manager, Manning won what may have been the end.
It was the 200th victory of Manning’s career.
And, perhaps, the best one.