Peyton Manning can thank Von Miller and the Broncos' swarming, big-play defense for his second NFL championship.
Adding that ring to his five MVP awards, Manning certainly can be satisfied and comfortable in retirement should Sunday's 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers be his finale. He wasn't the star — game MVP Miller seemingly was everywhere on every Carolina play — but Manning really hasn't been the headliner in this injury-shortened football season.
Emulating his Broncos boss, John Elway, the 39-year-old Manning can ride off with the Lombardi Trophy after leading Denver to its third NFL title, first since 1999 — when Elway was the quarterback.
Denver's suffocating defense kept Cam Newton jittery all day. Despite wearing gold shoes in the golden Super Bowl played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, in heart of Silicon Valley. Newton couldn't finish off a dynamic season in which he was the league's MVP. Miller twice stripped him, once for a touchdown, the second time setting up a clinching TD. Denver's top-ranked defense, the one that ran roughshod over Tom Brady in the NFC championship, simply wouldn't let Newton get comfortable.
Newton was sacked six times — receiver Ted Ginn Jr., went down once on an aborted trick play — and if Miller wasn't hounding him, DeMarcus Ware was. Ware had two of the seven sacks, the most ever by one team in the Super Bowl.
Carolina's potent offense that led the league with 500 points was held to its fewest points of the year, and Denver set an ignominious mark with 194 yards gained, the fewest for a Super Bowl winner.
So what: The Broncos (15-4) are champions and Manning is the first quarterback to win Super Bowls with two franchises, Indianapolis in 2007 was the other.
Manning finished 13 for 23 for 141 yards against a strong Carolina (17-2) defense that just couldn't match Miller and company.
The half-time show, which featured Coldplay with two veterans of the spectacle — Bruno Mars and Beyonce — almost seemed like a tease for her latest tour, which she announced in a commercial after she performed “Formation”, a song she released on Saturday.
Of course, no Super Bowl would be complete without an extravagance of ads. The goal for advertisers: to stand out and win over the 114 million-plus people watching the big game on Super Bowl Sunday. With ads costing a record $5 million for 30 seconds this year, the stakes were high to stand out from the 40-plus advertisers and be remembered.
Offbeat humor reigned with a creature called "Puppymonkeybaby" — pretty much exactly what it sounds like — in an ad for Mountain Dew's Kickstart. The ad sought to show that three great things go together, since Kickstart combines Mountain Dew, juice and caffeine.
"It's on my list of the weirdest ad of the night, but it's very catchy and people will be talking about it," said Kelly O'Keefe, a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Heartfelt messages were in abundance too. SunTrust's ad urged people to take a breath and feel better about their financial health. BMW's Mini urged people to "defy labels."
For the second year in a row, an NFL-sponsored Super Bowl ad has focused on ending domestic violence. The NFL donated airtime for the spot from No More, an advocacy group that works to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.
On Friday, Dallas police said they're launching a criminal investigation into a domestic-violence assault complaint filed against Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Last year's ad followed the NFL's suspension (later overturned) of running back Ray Rice for knocking his now-wife Janay Palmer unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator.
That ad featured a woman pretending to order a pizza while calling the police with her attacker still in the house.
The Associated Press