Super Bowl 50 is finally here after a season filled with exciting NFL action, with the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos set to square off to determine who the 2015 NFL champion will be. And while everyone knows that quarterbacks Cam Newton and Peyton Manning will play a huge role in determining which team will win the NFL’s golden game, there are plenty of other players who will be vital to their team’s success on Sunday. These are the most important players in Super Bowl 50.
1. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware
The leaders of the Denver Broncos pass rush, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware were able to shut Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense down in the AFC Championship Game by getting consistent pressure on the passer and limiting New England’s aerial attack. In this game, they will need to do the same thing against eventual NFL MVP Cam Newton, but that is a much more challenging task than getting pressure on Tom Brady.
First of all, outside of Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton is the first mobile quarterback that the Denver Broncos have faced all season long. This means that the same pass rush that Denver has used all season won’t work as well in Super Bowl 50, as Cam Newton is able to break out of the pocket and make plays with his legs. Instead of simply trying to chase after Newton, the Broncos need to make plans to contain Newton by shutting down his running lanes before they’re able to form. Miller and Ware will be vital in accomplishing this, as they are both agile enough to keep up with Newton.
2. Jonathan Stewart
Everyone knows that Cam Newton is the focal point of the Carolina Panthers, but in Super Bowl 50 the Panthers will need a strong passing and running performance on offense to take the Lombardi Trophy. In order to accomplish the latter, running back Jonathan Stewart will need to put in a solid performance on the ground. Stewart has been excellent throughout the playoffs for the Panthers, and is a huge reason that the NFL’s best offense has been multi-dimensional all season long.
Against a stout Denver Broncos defense, it will be harder than it’s been all season for the Panthers to get Stewart going, so his performance in this game will be indicative of how well Carolina does on offense for the duration.
Brandon McManus and Graham Gano
As we’ve seen with great kickers like Adam Vinatieri, having a kicker who can make pressure kicks in the Super Bowl can be vital to a team’s success. As we’ve seen with kickers like Scott Norwood, having a kicker who cannot make pressure kicks in the Super Bowl can destroy a franchise forever. Both Brandon McManus and Graham Gano have been among the best in the NFL this season at their position, but are in their first Super Bowl in Super Bowl 50, so it will be interesting to see if they are able to rise above the pressures associate with such a big game. If one of them falters, that could spell doom for their team.
By : Jason M. Sanin