Green: The grunts steal the show in Super Bowl 50
Jerry Green is one of two journalists — Jerry Izenberg of Newark, N.J., is the other — to cover every Super Bowl.
Santa Clara, Calif. — The glamor game is designed to be dominated by the most glamorous athletes. That has been the pattern since pro football started peddling its Super Bowls.
At the beginning, it was Bart Starr, then Joe Namath, Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw. They were followed by Joe Montana and Troy Aikman, Tom Brady and Eli Manning.
The script for Super Bowl 50 Sunday had Peyton Manning and Cam Newton written into the feature roles. It was to be old vs. young, flatfoot against perpetual motion — a skirmish of styles.
If this Super Bowl 50 had been scripted by Hollywood, the entire game would have wound up on the cutting room floor.
The stars played defense.
The leading men were linebackers. And the co-stars were defensive linemen. And defensive backs.
Bows and five-star reviews for Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware and Luke Kuechly.
It was Miller who creatively won this Super Bowl 50 for the Broncos over the supposedly potent and powerful Panthers. Denver won by a final score of 24-10.
Miller was responsible for both of the Broncos’ touchdowns, smashing Newton — once in the facemask and once on his passing right arm. Newton fumbled the ball away on both hits.
There could be no other choice for the most valuable player award than Von Miller.
“It’s a college atmosphere,” Miller told the media postgame about the new champions.
“Peyton and DeMarcus . . . and all the guys. I put my neck on the line for those guys.”
This was projected as a supposedly historic Super Bowl 50. But after a run of tightly contested Super Bowls, this was one of the resounding duds.
Manning, in his likely swansong, squared his record in Super Bowls at 2-2. But he won’t brag about this one when he’s inducted into the Pro Football of Hall of Fame. He was intercepted once, fumbled away the football once — and frankly looked like a 39-year-old who once was an over-publicized star.
Newton had been heralded as the new phenom among pro quarterbacks. Saturday night in a gala televised presentation he was announced as the 2015 most valuable player in all of pro football.
The poor kid — he never somersaulted over the goal line. He never had the chance to preen or dance.
He grimaced a lot.
Such as the first time Miller roared in and caused Newton to cough up the football. It rolled into the end zone. Malik Jackson, a defensive lineman, fell on it for the Broncos touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, Miller thumped Newton again — on the passing arm. The ball fell free and strong safety T.J Ward recovered it for the Broncos at the Panthers 6. Manning’s offense actually scored the resultant touchdown. And Peyton threw his scoring pass for the day — a two-point conversion.
The two heralded quarterbacks spent an awful lot of time on this grass in this Super Bowl 50. Newton was sacked six times, mostly on clutch plays. Manning went down five times.
Time with his Buds
The Panthers had entered this Super Bowl as favorites — with a high-scoring offense. They won 15 of their 16 games during the season, romped in two playoff games to the NFC championship. They averaged 31 points per game. They fizzled to less than one-third of that average.
MVP Miller was credited with 2-1/2 sacks of Newton. He totaled six tackles.
Kuechly, meanwhile, figured in 10 tackles for the Panthers. They played tremendous defense, also.
Manning, of whom retirement has been speculated, sort of wobbled on the fence when he was given the microphone to talk to the crowd after the victory.
“I’ll take some time to reflect,” he said.
He spoke of family matters are priorities and then:
“I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight.”
Budweiser? I guess that’s Peyton. I always believed champagne was the favored beverage of champions.
Jerry Green is a retired News sports writer.