Super Bowl L or 50 will be between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, or as the media will tell it, mostly between Cam Newton and Peyton Manning. There are always some interesting numbers and little stories hidden before these type of matchups. Here are those we thought were the most useful, including one about how badly Tom Brady got beat up.
Peyton Manning has taken the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl twice, winning one of those games. He is now going to the Super Bowl for a second time with the Denver Broncos, hoping to erase something from that 43-8 humiliation two years ago at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
John Fox was the head coach of the Panthers from 2002-2010, compiling a 73-71 record. An 11-5 season in 2003 turned into a Super Bowl run, losing by three points to the New England Patriots. He was replaced by Ron Rivera, the current head coach of the Panthers, going to the Super Bowl. Fox later coached the Broncos for four seasons, going 46-18, making the Super Bowl after 2013, losing to the Seahawks. He was replaced by Gary Kubiak, who is now taking the Broncos to the Super Bowl.
The Broncos beating the Patriots meant two things: That Denver are the only team, when including the postseason, that has a winning record against Bill Belichick and the Patriots, while it also stopped the Patriots from having chance to repeat, so the next Super Bowl winner will make it 8 different winners in the last 8 years. It’s remarkable to think that only five years ago, both the Panthers and the Broncos had the top 2 picks in the NFL draft.
Manning is 39, turning 40 in March. Newton is going to be 27 in May. The age difference between the two quarterbacks is the largest ever between two opposing quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. Newton is the first quarterback with over 300 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a playoff game. He’ll also be in a position to be the first Heisman winning quarterback to be on the winning side in the Super Bowl since Jim Plunkett in Super Bowl XVIII.
And one more before we go: Tom Brady was hit by the Broncos defense 20 times in this game, although some websites are counting it as 23 or 25. Whatever it is, it’s higher than 20, which means Brady took more hits than any other quarterback this season, in the playoffs or the regular season, which explains why he threw two interceptions and at some point made so many bad throws, missing wide open receivers.