SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A dominating performance by the Denver Broncos’ defense (seven sacks, four turnovers) led them to a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Super Bowl. To read my column on the game on MyAJC.com, click here.
Below are my three “short takes” on the game.
1. Peyton Manning and his legacy are safe: Several of Manning’s former coaches, as well as family members, were in attendance for what almost certainly was Manning’s final game. As I wrote earlier in Super Bowl week — to read the column, click here — anybody who was going to judge Manning’s legacy based on his final game is shortchanging the man and every remarkable accomplishment in his career. The fact he completed only 13 of 23 passes for 141 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception was a byproduct of a broken down body, notably his spine (four neck surgeries) and a torn plantar fascia tendon that limited him to nine starts. But it didn’t affect his leadership or what he means to this team. He deserved this.
2. About Cam and the Panthers: Cam Newton did not have a great game (18 for 41 for 265 yards and zero touchdowns with three turnovers (one interception, two fumbles). But that was about Denver’s defense and the Broncos’ ability to break down Carolina’s offensive line and stuff the run. The Panthers are still the best team in the NFC South and it’s worth noting played all season without their best receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, who might have made a difference in a game like this.
3. Hold on, Mr. Commissioner: Lost in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s news conference Friday — during which he foolishly said in response to a question on head injuries in football, “There’s risk in life. There’s risk in sitting on the couch” — was his suggestion that players should be ejected if they get two personal fouls in a game. We saw one problem with that potential rule in the Super Bowl. Denver cornerback Aqib Talib was called for a “taunting” in the first quarter after a third-and-8 sack on Newton, but it was a pretty weak call by the official. Early in the second quarter, Talib was flagged for a blatant face mask penalty after throwing down Carolina receiver Corey Brown. Under Goodell’s proposed rule, the Broncos would have lost one of their best defenders with 11:28 left in the first half.
Recent ramblings from the Digital Jukebox
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- SUPER BOWL: Torn ACLs, broken arm won’t stop Thomas Davis
- SUPER BOWL: Goodell on head injuries: ‘There’s risk in sitting on couch’ (Huh?)
- SUPER BOWL: Carolina has been dismissive of its lone loss to Falcons
- SUPER BOWL: Dan Quinn is the miracle man of Super Bowl week
- SUPER BOWL: Cam Newton might be at his press conference breaking point
- SUPER BOWL: Ex-Falcons coach Wade Phillips back on top at 68
- SUPER BOWL: Love him or hate him, Cam Newton has gift: winning amid storm
- SUPER BOWL: Carolina gets tip on Super Bowl week — from Eugene Robinson
- SUPER BOWL: Super Bowl Digi-Blog: Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Me vs. Puppet
- SUPER BOWL: There’s no reason for Manning to worry about his legacy
- ‘How They Really Stand’ in Atlanta sports (2016 edition)
- 3 teams, 3 questions: Quinn could be on hook as much as Dimitroff in ’16
- Falcons’ Dimitroff jumps on the grenade (smart guy)
- Falcons hire two former general managers — and that makes five
- Four-point analysis: Falcons are a ways behind Carolina
- Braves’ starting rotation ranked 30th (and it’s hard to dispute)
- SUPER BOWL: About Atlanta’s hate for Cam Newton and the Panthers …
- NFL’s Final Four all have something Falcons don’t
- Mike Smith says he’s ‘recharged,” avoids references to Falcons
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- This comes as no surprise: Braves not spending in free agency
- (Full column) There’s a limit to Braves’ interest in free agents
- Mike Smith joins Dirk Koetter in Tampa; Is Roddy White next?
- St. Louis Rams fans: You will get no sympathy here
- Coppolella wants to know what’s on minds of Braves’ fans (oops)
- What are Georgia’s and Tech’s national title odds? Glad you asked
- Can one upset be start of something for Tech, Gregory?
- OK, that’s enough time: Looking ahead to 2016 college football season
- Hawks finally look like team they need to be