Marius Kaisig –
It was a sunny day in Santa Clara, California when the Denver Broncos met the Carolina Panthers for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium. The highly debated match on Sunday, February 7th 2016 was the highlight of the 2015 NFL season. Both teams played a splendid season. The Broncos entered the match as AFC champions with a 14-4 record after a strong match against Bill Belichik’s New England Patriots. On the other side of the Bowl were the Carolina Panthers, who were heavily favored to win after a great 17-1 season and a win against the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC divisional championship. Although both teams offered enough media stories, the focus lay on one player: Carolina’s exceptional Quarterback Cam Newton. The 26 year old Newton is unique both on and off the field. As one of the few African-American Quarterbacks in the league, he made clear in pre-game interviews that there was no other player like him. Standing at 6’5” and weighing 245 lbs, he uses his size and strength to form a playstyle that can only be described as a Quarterback/Halfback hybrid. Newton led the season’s best offense to the Super Bowl with 500 points scored. The Broncos had some interesting headlines themselves. Quarterback Peyton Manning took his 200th victory in a professional football match against the Panthers. He is also the first QB in NFL history to win the Super Bowl with two different franchises (Indianapolis ’07). The national anthem before kickoff was sung by Grammy award winner Lady Gaga. The first half of the game was full of surprises, especially for the Carolina team. The Broncos team once again proved that doing your homework pays off. The defense under defensive captain DeMarcus Ware did not allow the Panthers game plan to develop. Especially Outside Linebacker Von Miller seemed to plough through Carolina’s offensive line and tackled for a loss numerous times. Miller alone could show for 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 hurries and 2 forced fumbles that both led to touchdowns for Denver. Cam Newton neither had the room to fully develop his running game nor did he have the time to throw dangerous passes. Although the Broncos showed the stronger performance in the first half, there were a few unfortunate scenes involving Broncos defensive back Aqib Talib, who collected three personal fouls in the first quarter. Overall the Broncos dominated the first half, although Kony Ealy forced a Manning turnover which the Panthers could not turn into points. Halftime score: 13-7 Broncos.
The halftime show surprised with three superstar performances. Coldplay with singer Chris Martin tried to fire up the crowd, but that did not work out since they played the songs everybody knows and should be tired of by now. The real performance started with Bruno Mars and Beyoncé, who performed a mashup of their most popular songs. Another highlight was of course the Super Bowl commercials. This year showed a broad variety of ideas. From the traditional Clydesdale Horses of the Budweiser Brewery to superstars like Kevin Hart and Alec Baldwin, this year’s entertainment factor was short to disappoint. The secret favorite commercial was Mountain Dew’s “Puppymonkeybaby,” a commercial that came in as the #1 ad of the night in numerous rankings.
The second half of the game started off with new energy, especially on Carolina’s side. The team seemed to finally have the answer to Denver’s aggressive rush-defense and Manning’s precise passes. The momentum led the Panthers to a 4th down close to the Denver end-zone. The 44-yard field goal kick was not converted by Carolina’s Graham Gano. The debate after was whether or not the Broncos’ number 21, Aqib Talib, was in an offside position before the play. However, the referees did not see the same as the TV cameras. Carolina was unable to recover after a strip sack by Miller and the Broncos ended the game 24:10. After the game, Newton was heavily criticized for talking to Manning but not the media. Although Peyton, after losing his Super Bowl, fled to the locker room right after the game, with almost no criticism against his sportsmanship.
Marius Kaisig, from Mannheim,Germany is an exchange student from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. He is the current German Assistant at IC, part of the Concert Choir and CEA. He is an American Studies major.