So much to say about Sunday’s big game. I better just jump right in.
I certainly hope this was Peyton Manning’s last game. If you are a weekly reader, then you know I predicted the end for Manning when he went down with his foot injury back in November.
Well, he certainly proved me wrong.
However, in watching him play, I think my earlier read was spot on. The guy is not very good any more. He has zero arm strength and, seeing as he was never particularly mobile in the first place, that negates most of his quarterbacking skills. Yes, he still has his brain, but going on his performance Sunday against the Panthers, it seems that his lack of other skills might be betraying him there too.
Despite the fact he got most of the attention, Manning was not the reason Denver won. In fact, I feel like they won despite him. That said, he has had a wonderful career and this is the ultimate way for any athlete to go out – on top. So, I hope he is done. I certainly don’t want to see another season with the ghost of Peyton Manning under center for some team.
Speaking of Manning, a lot was made about his brother Eli’s reaction, or lack of reaction, to his brother winning the Super Bowl. This is awfully silly and nothing more than an attempt by certain media outlets to create a story out of nothing. Did Eli look excited when Denver won? No. Does that mean he doesn’t care about his brother winning? Of course not.
The other big postgame story had to do with Panther quarterback Cam Newton skipping out on his press conference early. I understand there is a certain degree of responsibility players must accept after a game. Just as they speak when they win, they must talk when they lose, especially when they are the quarterback.
However, I also get why Newton didn’t want to be in that interview room. I have spent a lot of time talking to coaches and players following losses and it is never a fun thing to do. Most of the time those guys just want to be left alone and I am sure that was the case with Newton. So he was not effusive in his responses, what’s the big deal? At least he showed up in the first place.
Finally, a mention must be given to the Broncos’ defense which was certainly the one positive thing in what was, honestly, a pretty boring game. By winning the Super Bowl with an old, broken down quarterback and a suspect running game, Denver did what so many NFL teams try and do every year because of the dearth of talent at the quarterback position in the NFL. They won with their defense.
It is certainly not an easy thing to do and all the credit in the world has to go to the Denver defense as well as their coordinator Wade Phillips. Led by Von Miller, the Broncos dominated a pretty good Carolina offense and shut down the league’s offensive MVP. Not since the Baltimore Ravens 15 years before them has a defense led a team to the championship. It will be interesting to see where Denver goes from here.
Brock Osweiler seems to be their quarterback of the future and, at this point, I feel like he is an upgrade over Manning. But there aren’t many teams who have built a dynasty on a good defense. The Steelers of the 1970’s come to mind, but they also had a darn good quarterback in Terry Bradshaw and a very good running back in Franco Harris. No, most of the time teams that are led by their defense are lucky to win it all once and then fade back into the pack. Just ask the 1985 Chicago Bears or that Ravens team of 2001. I am guessing the same will happen to the Broncos.
They will remain a good team for years to come as long as they keep their defense in tact, but I think we will ultimately look back on 2016 as the outlier and not as the beginning of a new dynasty.