As kickoff of Super Bowl 50 draws near, the anticipation is building for the Denver Broncos to face off against the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
For the Carolina Panthers, they will make their second appearance in the Super Bowl. They are led by quarterback Cam Newton. Newton is the only player in National Football League history with 30+ passing touchdowns (35) & 10+ rushing TDs (10) in a season. He accounted for 45 TDs in the 2015 regular season which was the most in the NFL. Newton passed for 3,837 yards & rushed for 636 yards in the regular season. Cam is only player in NFL history with 3,000+ passing yards & 500+ rushing yards in 5 seasons. Finally, the Auburn alumnus has 31 career regular-season games with a passing & rushing TD, tied for most in NFL history with Hall-of-Fame quarterback Steve Young.
Countering the Panthers dynamic Cam Newton is the legendary Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning is the first QB in NFL history to lead multiple teams to multiple Super Bowls (Indianapolis Colts in 2006 and 2009). Peyton has 13 career postseason wins & needs 1 tie to Hall-of-Famers Terry Bradshaw (14) & John Elway (14) for 3rd-most of any starting QB in NFL playoff history. Manning has 860 career passing yards in 3 Super Bowls and needs 140 to join Tom Brady (1,605), Kurt Warner (1,156), Joe Montana (1,142) & Elway (1,128) as only players to reach 1,000 in a Super Bowl career. Manning has 9 career 300-yard games in the postseason & needs one more performance to tie Brady (10) for most ever.
Monday night, the NFL strayed from tradition. They wanted to bring the cavalcade of worldwide media to the SAP Center in San Jose, California for the traditional media day ceremonies (which normally takes place Tuesday afternoon of game week); however it was broadcast in primetime by ESPN and NFL Network. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “I thought it was fantastic. I thought it gave our fans a glimpse into what media day is all about, brought it into primetime. We have more fans that had an opportunity to see it. I thought it was a fantastic night for our players and for our game.”
Tuesday the NFL announced Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem. Gaga joins an illustrious and accomplished group of vocalists with this distinct honor. Alicia Keys, Beyonce Knowles, Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera, Luther Vandross, Vanessa L. Williams and Whitney Houston were among those given the responsibility to sing the Star-Spangled Banner in the past 25 years.
Wednesday, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and running back Mike Tolbert fully participated in practice while defensive end Jared Allen participated in practice on a limited basis with a foot injury. Meanwhile, Broncos safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart were limited in practice with ankle and knee injuries respectively; while guard Louis Vasquez was limited in practice with a knee injury.
Friday, Commissioner Goodell will give his annual State of the League address and after his speech he will answer questions from assembled media. Also, the coaches final press conference will take place.
Saturday the 5th annual NFL Honors will take place at 9pm eastern time and will be broadcast on CBS. Conan O’Brien will host the event as the league honors its best players from the 2015 regular season.
Finally, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce who has been selected to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio. To be chosen, each finalist must receive 80% of the vote from the Pro Football Writers Association of America. The finalists are (listed in alphabetical order) Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Tony Dungy, Alan Faneca, Brett Favre, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison, Joe Jacoby, Edgerrin James, John Lynch, Terrell Owens, Orlando Pace and Kurt Warner. The list of enshrined players will be announced during the NFL Honors ceremony Saturday Night between 9pm-11pm eastern on CBS.