]The eyes of the nation will be on Super Bowl 50 tomorrow afternoon. The Carolina Panthers & Denver Broncos kick off at 5:30pm CST at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Here are 5 players/storylines we can’t wait to see on Sunday, including a couple of guys on the Broncos with ties to the Cowboys:
#1 DEMARCUS WARE: will the former Dallas Cowboy earn his first Super Bowl ring?
Ware is the Cowboys’ all-time sacks leader, but now he plays outside linebacker for the Broncos. He teams-up with fellow Bronco linebacker Von Miller to form arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL. The Broncos did a great job of harassing Patriots QB Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game, but Sunday’s challenge is Panthers QB Cam Newton who is much more mobile than Brady. Ware is in his 11th season and there are plenty of Ware’s old friends back in Dallas who would love to see him win a ring.
#2 WADE PHILLIPS: the former Cowboys head coach is the Broncos defensive coordinator and he has to stop the highest scoring offense in the NFL.
Phillips is a terrific coordinator and his Broncos led the league in total defense this season. Phillips game plan and play calling was masterful in the Broncos’ win over the Patriots two weeks ago, but how will he choose to defend the Panthers who are the top-scoring offense in the NFL? Game planning/play calling in the NFL is like playing chess and the players are the chess pieces. Will Phillips win the chess match on Sunday and earn his first Super Bowl ring in his 39 years as an NFL coach?
#3 PEYTON MANNING, BRONCOS QB
Will the 39 year old Manning ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl victory in what may be, in his words, his “last rodeo”? Many long-time fans of Manning hope his career ends in the same manner of another legendary Broncos QB – John Elway – who retired a champion after winning MVP honors in Super Bowl XXXIII following the 1998 season. Elway, by the way, is the current general manager/executive V.P. of the Broncos. Elway is responsible for bringing Manning to the Broncos in 2012 after Manning was released by the Colts.
#4 CAM NEWTON, PANTHERS QB
Newton’s M.V.P. caliber season has vaulted him into the NFL stratosphere. He’s entering his prime. Newton accounted for 45 touchdowns this year, 10 on the ground and 35 through the air. He’s a multi-dimensional threat. It’s not fair to Peyton Manning, but one of the storylines of this Super Bowl is that one QB represents a great past (Manning) while the other represents the future (Newton).
#5 MICHAEL OHER, PANTHERS LT
Did you see the Sandra Bullock movie The Blind Side about the high school football player who is adopted by a family, then goes on to star at Ole Miss? Well, the subject of that movie is Michael Oher and he’s the starting left tackle for the Panthers. Oher is the guy who protects the ‘blind side’ of Cam Newton. This is Oher’s first season with the Panthers after he signed with them in free agency. He previously played for the Titans and Ravens.