On Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, four teams fought for their division championships, and most importantly, an advancement into the biggest game of the year. The Carolina Panthers will play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. The Super Bowl is scheduled to be played on Feb. 7, 2016.
NFC Division Championship
Carolina hosted the Arizona Cardinals at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. in this year’s NFC Championship game. The Panthers, who have been a growing NFL fan favorite, defeated the Cardinals with a final score of 49-15. Overall, the Cardinals’ offense was no match for Carolina’s defense. The Cardinals had seven turnovers and even allowed an 86-yard catch from Carolina’s quarterback, Cam Newton, to Corey Brown. Arizona was also scoreless in the first quarter of the game. Carson Palmer, Arizona’s quarterback, fumbled the football twice and had four interceptions. Palmer was able to finish with 235 passing yards.
Newton, Carolina’s quarterback also known as “Super Cam,” has been a rising quarterback all season as he led the Panthers to an almost-perfect record of 17-1. Newton finished with a total of 334 passing yards and 47 rushing yards. Jonathan Stewart, the 28-year-old running back, rushed for 83 yards on 19 carries and had two catches for a total of five yards. Greg Olsen, the Panthers’ tight end, contributed to the game by catching six out of eight passes and had a total of 113 passing yards. This will be the first time in 12 years that Carolina will appear in a Super Bowl and this will be Newton’s first time in his NFL career.
AFC Division Championship
Denver hosted the New England Patriots at the Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colo. for the AFC Championship game. While many NFL fans looked forward to the quarterback rivalry between Tom Brady (NE) and Peyton Manning (DEN), it just added to the intensity of the game itself. Denver won the game 20-18. The final touchdown was scored by New England with 0:12 left on the clock. The Patriots failed to complete the two-point-conversion, which would have taken the game into overtime. Instead, the Broncos intercepted the ball and won the AFC Championship Title. The Broncos were led by running back C. J. Anderson, who rushed for 72 yards with 16 carries. Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver for the Broncos, led in receiving yards with a total of 62 yards and five receptions.
Super Bowl 50
The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will play in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. CST. Both teams will travel to Santa Clara, Calif. and will play at Levi’s Stadium, which is the home of the San Francisco 49ers. This is the newest renovated stadium in the NFL. The half-time performers will be Coldplay and Beyoncé.
The Carolina Panthers, whose strong defense assisted in winning the NFC Championship, will have to prepare even more as they will play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. The Broncos will be led by one of the league’s best quarterbacks in NFL history. Newton, who is a younger quarterback, will have a lot to work to do as this may be Manning’s final season in the NFL. Both quarterbacks have their own reasons to win this game. The NFC Championship game was a rivalry match between two veteran quarterbacks. However, Super Bowl 50 will be a match between Manning, an NFL, history-making veteran, and Newton, who is a young, rising quarterback making a name for himself in the league.
By Tricia Manalansan
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne
CNN: Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers advance to Super Bowl 50
ESPN: Panthers open as clear favorites over Broncos to win Super Bowl
CBS Sports: Newton, Panthers rout Cardinals, 49-15 for NFC title
Image Courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License