Pigskin Almanac – Super Bowl 50: The Sheriff wins in Santa Clara


If you are reading this you are likely aware Denver upset the favoured Carolina Panthers to claim their third Super Bowl with the Broncos winning in Santa Clara 24-10 on Sunday.

The stadium’s main tenants the San Francisco 49ers were nowhere near the big game this year and the AFC West side made up for a heavy defeat in the 2014 showpiece at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.

Following last year’s ‘It was the Butler in the stadium with the intercept’  piece between myself and Alex Malyon, whose knowledge of Pistol Strong Right Stack Act 6 Y Cross Divide plays is better than anyone I know, I dropped a note to Malyon for his thoughts on the game. With a day to reflect on the contest in California, the second time Denver has won a decider in the Golden State, he gave us a quick wrap and I look at turning points, LVP’s, HGH and half-time shows:

Westy’s words Alex Malyon (@Alex Malyon14)

The Xbox offence, and hence a neutral-fan pleasing score-line of 52-48, was never in the offing if Denver were to win. As outsiders how things transpired was the perfect game for Denver, old school grind it out football back before the NFL went all pass whacky.

Hamish’s hunches

Carolina failing to make inroads in the running game was disappointing. Jonathan Stewart’s 12 rushes for 29 yards was below par. Thomas Davis, who broke his right forearm two weeks ago, played. This was a silly risk but in the end he still came out with the second highest amount of tackles, five, on his team. Now a lot of this is situational but if the player with a broken wing has to do that much work it’s not going to be effective is it?

Someone must be blamed

The reaction to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton’s post-game press conference which was sulky but not terrible was off the hook in some platforms. Lindsay Gibbs wrote about aspects such as the racial coding and Shaun King of the New York Daily News reminded us Denver QB Peyton Manning didn’t shake hands with Drew Brees after the Saints beat the Colts (who Manning then played for) in the 2010 Super Bowl. Newton was rightly upset, but he fulfilled his duties, and after about a minute laid out what he thought went wrong. It’s wasn’t with the eloquence of one of the great orators of our time but he’d just been embarrassed at work, in front of nearly 112 million people in the USA alone. Cut him some slack.

Riding off into the sunset

Probably-retiring Denver quarterback Peyton Manning didn’t pull off any Hail-Mary passes but he did execute a nice little completion for a two-point conversion late in the game for his last scoring playing in the NFL. A rare way to go out for the former Colt’s pilot who, at 39 years of age is expected to hang up the helmet and, hopefully, star in more cheesy commercials. “Chicken parm you taste so good”


Newton and Manning were the headline players coming into the game but Aqib Talib (surely the game’s LVP) was doing his best to stuff it up for the eventual winners. As the cornerback was stumbling his way from penalty to penalty early on and getting smoked in coverage some thought Denver’s day was done.

The Elephant in the Room

Talib was awful early and Denver’s Von Miller ended up the MVP but, and this is something I didn’t find about/remember until after the game, if Miller was an athlete in any other sport he would likely still be out suspended after not only, probably [allegedly – Ed], using performance enhancing drugs in 2013 but trying to get the drug collector to switch the urine sample when he was tested! HGH is HGH as they say (okay so they don’t say that) but it’s a pretty low act. Compared to Newton’s apparent post-game sulking this is much worse.

Commentator’s curse

Oh and before I leave the subject of drugs, last year the CBS broadcasting crew mentioned the ‘Deflate-gate’ saga surrounding Tom Brady as the Patriots leader drove for the eventual win. This year’s drug reference came earlier when Nantz mentioned the HGH investigation surrounding Manning and the parcels reportedly delivered to his wife which was covered by Al Jazeera America. How does this rate in terms of possible commentator’s curses? It’s probably a good thing the Broncos went on to win or the pitch-forks would have been out for Nantz and his broadcast colleague, Super Bowl MVP from 1987 Phil Simms.

Believe love

I know some people have a vociferous hatred of Coldplay but I own a few of their albums so maybe I should just move on to other aspects of the Half-time show. Arguably the best effort of the interval was Beyonce dancing in heels on the dodgy Levi’s Stadium turf as she entered the extravagant performance. Amongst the multi-million dollar production in the billion-dollar stadium those in charge somehow couldn’t arrange for the singer to start on her own stage. Did the money run out?

Super Bowl 51

February 5 2017 will see Houston host the decider next year. The Texans, who play out of NRG Stadium, topped the AFC South division with a 9-7 record this season however that was the equal-worst record of any divisional winner and they were subsequently bounced in the first round of the playoffs 30-0 by Kansas City. New England, Pittsburgh and Seattle have all opened as equal favourites with one Las Vegas bookie to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy next season.


About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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