The NFL originally wanted the halftime show to include artists who could represent everything over the years in music for the 50th Super Bowl Anniversary. It turns out, however, that the quarterbacks of the two teams may capture the legacy vein in the music's stead. On an anniversary where everything is outlined in gold for Super Bowl 50, the match-up at quarterback for this historic mark in football is just as golden.
Peyton Manning will perhaps take the field for one last time, bringing one of, if not the greatest quarterback careers in NFL history to an end. The Sheriff will be looking to finish off his iconic legacy on top with a second ring. Cam Newton will start writing his own legacy as one of the newest icons in the NFL, in his first career Super Bowl. Manning, known for his humble, respectful, and old-school properness, contrasts with Newton's new-school culture of having fun, dancing, and celebrating with teammates and fans. Newton's personality and play has sparked some controversy, and with this seeming passing of the NFL torch.... Hello Super Bowl 50.
Newton is the favorite to win the NFL's MVP award. Peyton Manning is no stranger to this award, winning five MVP awards himself (back to back twice: 03 and 04, 08 and 09). Newton's 45 total touchdowns (35 passing, 10 running) with only 10 interceptions and a 15 game regular season win streak to boot, he does certainly seem deserving. Also, Manning was presented his first MVP in his sixth season. This is Cam's fifth season in the NFL. Cam also has the most total yards by a quarterback in his first five seasons, surpassing Manning.
Brady vs Manning has been the legendary quarterback match-up for the last 15 years. Both have been the prototypical pocket quarterback, representing perhaps the best versions of what that can be. The last few seasons, however have suggested that these two Titans are in the process of passing the torch. Russell Wilson's rise to the top with Seattle two seasons ago, and their devastating defeat of Manning leading the league's best offense, signaled that Manning particularly couldn't carry the torch for much longer.
The Wilson vs Newton match-up has gained a lot more attention these past two seasons as Seattle and Carolina have consecutive seasons in the playoffs, capping seven meetings in the five seasons. Wilson at 5'9" thought too small to play quarterback. Newton at 6'5" 250lbs, certainly thought to have the size, but not the accuracy or mental prowess needed for the NFL claimed by many (most) scouts. Now playoff caliber, dual threat quarterbacks with great defenses makes for great TV. It certainly appears that if both continue their success, the torch for a battle of iconic NFL quarterbacks between Brady and Manning could certainly be passed to Newton and Wilson for years to comes. If Cam Newton and the Panthers are able to finish the job and win Super Bowl 50, it would make this passing more than symbolic, but a reality.
By Tripp Morgan
Follow on Twitter @TrippMorgan6