Quarterbacks and defense are the two biggest storylines ahead of Super Bowl 50 when the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos meet at Levis' Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Sunday. Panthers' star quarterback Cam Newton will face former MVP Peyton Manning in what could be Manning's final game.
Newton is less than 14 hours removed from claiming the first MVP award of his career, and now he has the chance to not only be the first MVP to also win the Super Bowl in the same season since 1999, he could help Carolina claim its first championship.
According to ESPN, Newton may also become the first quarterback and second overall player to win a college national championship, the Heisman Trophy, NFL MVP, and a Super Bowl. The only other player to hit all four career achievements was former Raiders running back Marcus Allen.
And while Newton’s only just entered the prime of his career, Manning, on the other hand, faces heavy speculation that he could be playing his final NFL game after 18 dominating seasons. Many believe Manning will call it a career win or lose Sunday.
The 39-year-old enters the matchup as the oldest quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl, and with a 1-2 overall mark in three previous appearances, Manning is looking to reach .500 for his career and wipe away his poor performance from two years ago when Denver was throttled 43-8 by Seattle.
Overall, the Broncos are gunning for a third NFL title and first since 1998 out of eight total appearances in the Super Bowl. Carolina is making its second visit to the big game.
The Panthers are considered big five-point favorites just hours before Sunday’s kickoff, largely due to Newton’s all-around offensive game and a stacked defense that easily turned back the high-scoring attacks of Arizona and Seattle.
Denver is coming off a huge victory over previous defending champion New England, one highlighted by Manning’s two first-half touchdowns after he struggled so often with injuries throughout the regular season.
Also in possession of a dangerous defense that led the NFL in sacks, the Broncos also defeated Pittsburgh in the AFC Divisional Round behind Manning’s methodical work in the pocket.
In between Newton and Manning’s duel, the expected television audience of roughly 115 million viewers will also be treated to live halftime performances from multi-platinum artists Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars. Both Beyonce and Mars have performed on the NFL’s biggest stage before, but Coldplay will make its debut.
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Betting Odds: Carolina -5