Almost 120 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl last Sunday — and not just for the commercials or the halftime show. The Super Bowl was played for the 50th time on February 7, 2016 between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. Although it is speculated, this day could also mark Denver quarterback Peyton Manning’s last time playing on a football field.
The game started with a commemoration of the Most Valuable Players from every Super Bowl since 1967. It included the likes of football legends such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, John Elway, and Tom Brady, (I say this as a biased New Englander).
The two teams that faced off on Sunday were among the top of their ranks, with both coming into the playoffs as first in their respective conferences. The Panthers, having come from a remarkable 15-1 season, went to win the NFC Championship against the Arizona Cardinals. The Broncos, coming in with a respectable 12-4 record, beat the Patriots in a heartbreaking game for the AFC Championship.
This Super Bowl was highly anticipated by many. Fan favorite, Cam Newton, from the Panthers was considered to be a young, sensational quarterback who had made his signature celebration, the “Dab”, a national trend. However, Peyton Manning came in as an experienced veteran, beloved by many and nicknamed the “Sheriff” for the way he ran his offense.
Overall, the game wasn’t as entertaining as fans had previously perceived it to be. The Broncos got onto an early start with a 3-0 lead as the supposed calm and collected Cam Newton made mistake after mistake with an interception, two fumbles, and six sacks. Yet, Manning didn’t do much either. It was mainly the Denver defense that contributed to the Broncos’ eventual 24-10 victory. The Super Bowl MVP award even went to linebacker Von Miller for his success at sacking Cam Newton on multiple occasions.
Sunday’s game was important to Manning for several other reasons. At the age of 39, the Sheriff had finished playing his eighteenth season in the NFL. His career included many accomplishments including the most career passing yards (71,940), the most career touchdown passes (539), and, including this game, the most career wins (playoffs and regular season) with a grand total of 200. This Super Bowl victory happened to be the tiebreaker between him and Green Bay Packers’ legend Brett Favre.
It makes sense for Peyton Manning to retire following this win. With 2 Super Bowl rings under his belt, many say that this could be the Sheriff’s last rodeo. He has certainly made a great name for himself and is undoubtedly a future Hall of Famer. However, not even the quarterback himself knows for sure about what his status will be for next season. The question still remains: will Peyton Manning come back for more?