The very first football game I ever saw in person was on August 18, 1979 when my Dad took me to old Tampa Stadium on a Saturday night and we watched the Bucs beat the New Orleans Saints in a preseason game that evening, 14-7. The quarterback for the Saints that started that night was Archie Manning. I was two and a half weeks shy of my eighth birthday and loved seeing a game in person for the first time.
Last night, I watched his son Peyton win his second Super Bowl and break the record for most wins by a quarterback at 200 (counting postseason and regular season games) in what will likely be his final game. As a football fan, I guess that would be a “full circle” for me.
As for my pick, yes I picked Carolina, but with the cautionary tale that if I had to bet on the game, I would take the points and pick Denver. Considering what the Broncos could do defensively, I didn’t see how if the Panthers won the game that it wouldn’t be close. It was a worthy “final exam” for the heralded Cam Newton, but now he and the Panthers have become the third team coming into the Super Bowl with no losses or one loss to lose the big game, joining the 1968 Baltimore Colts and the 2007 New England Patriots.
That’s playoff and Super Bowl football for you. It doesn’t matter what you do in the regular season. One loss and you’re forgotten. Congrats to Denver, and I’m sure Peyton Manning will have a job somewhere in the vast landscape of televised sports.