New Age vs. Old School in Super Bowl 50
January 25, 2016

Forget about your proximity to Denver or Charlotte, or whether your favorite team is in the NFC or AFC, if you throw all of that out the window, chances are the team you root for in this year's Super Bowl will depend on how old you are.

If you are a Milennial (born on or after 1982), Cam Newton has to be your guy. The Carolina Panthers quarterback threw two passes for touchdowns and ran for two more in the 49-15 trouncing of the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. His team was 15-1 during the regular season, dances after touchdowns, says he wants to be remembered for having fun, and will likely be the league's Most Valuable Player, and he's only 26.

If you are a member of any of the previous generations (Gen X, Jones, Baby Boomer, or whatever), without question, your guy is Peyton Manning, and therefore, you will be a Broncos fan on February 7. If you hate players who are selfish, you love Peyton Manning. If you don't mind that players get caught up with themselves and their fortunes, you still love Peyton Manning. Without even realizing it, you've probably hummed the “Nationwide is on your side” jingle to yourself, or, like Peyton does in the commercial, come up with new phrases that fit the tune (even if the words are “I am really sick of this”). You still love him. There's nothing not to love about Peyton Manning. He won a Super Bowl, has been the league MVP five times, has the record for most touchdown passes in NFL history, and even hosted Saturday Night Live.

Let's be honest, though, Manning didn't look that terrific in Denver's 20-18 victory over New England in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. He had two touchdown passes but only threw for 176 yards. He missed some games due to injury earlier this season, and was even the backup when he returned, but there's no question that the Broncos are his team now, even though he played for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons.

The Broncos' win also meant another honor for Manning, if you want to call it that. At 39, he'll be the oldest starting QB in Super Bowl history. The previous honor went to Manning's boss John Elway, now the Denver General Manager. At 38, Elway threw for 336 yards and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII, defeating Atlanta 34-19. Elway promptly retired after that game, going out on top. Manning could likely do the same if Denver wins.

Of course, football is a team game. Both Carolina and Denver have charismatic leaders under center, and although Manning was approaching high school when Newton was born, neither are a stranger to the spotlight. Carolina has their offense and are 4½ point favorites, but Denver has Peyton and the Bronco defense once known as the Orange Crush. Carolina's got the new kid in town, but Denver has the old gunslinger, whose nickname actually is The Sheriff.

This one may be a battle for the ages—young vs. old.

Scratching the Surface?: It had to not only be embarrassing for the computer company, but also for the NFL and maybe even CBS. During the Patriots-Broncos game, New England lost use of their Microsoft Surface tablets for most of the first half. Not only was the brand name reported during the game, but shots of several of the non-working light blue devices were shown with blank screens. They were fixed before halftime, and the commercial for how great they are didn't air until after they were up and running again. The Chicago Tribune reports Microsoft paid the NFL 400 million dollars in a five year marketing deal.

Foot note: It must have been a matter of convenience more than anything else, but do we really need a “kicking expert” in our football telecasts? CBS has hired former NFL place kicker Jay Feely to take us through the mind of a kicker in a crucial moment. While the New York Daily News applauds the network's “untapped area of analysis” for bringing him in, and Feely for the insight he provided when New England's Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point after making over 500 in a row, one has to wonder if another guy with a microphone is really necessary. It's bad enough we have to listen to a so-called 'rules expert' every time a guy makes a catch but then loses the ball on the ground.

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