When the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos take the field for Super Bowl 50, the age difference between the starting quarterbacks will be the largest in the history of the big game. While Peyton Manning is 39 years old, Cameron Newton is 26 years old. There’s a full 13 years between the superstar quarterbacks, and that equates to an entire football career for some NFL players.
In his fifth season as a starter for the Panthers, Newton has earned his first trip to the Super Bowl. The Panthers are (17-1), and a favorite to win the championship. Newton has the rare chance to win the NFL MVP, Super Bowl championship, adding to the collection of his Heisman Trophy award, and college football title in 2010. According to CBS Sports, the only football player to complete these feats is Marcus Allen. Meanwhile, Manning has five NFL MVP’s.
Despite his young age, Newton must take advantage of his opportunities immediately. There’s growing speculation the Panthers are on the verge of becoming dynasty. Well, let’s cut that thought off right there. Here’s why.
In 2011, Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to a thrilling Super Bowl run. In fact, Rodgers and the Packers were a year ahead of schedule. Their dynastic run was coming through fruition. The following season, the Packers dropped the hammer on the league. They were (15-1), and a heavy favorite to earn back to back Super Bowl titles. Instead, they lost to the New York Giants in the divisional round. The Packers have never been back to the Super Bowl. To make matters worse, 4 of their 5 postseason losses have come on the last play of the game.
More recently, the Seattle Seahawks were a dynasty in the making. After their 43-8 demolition of the Broncos in 2014, the Seahawks had a chance to repeat last season. Unfortunately, Russell Wilson’s last pass was intercepted at the goal line, giving the New England Patriots another Super Bowl victory.
Less than a year later, the Seahawks were down 31-0 to the Panthers in the divisional round. Just like that, the Seahawks were no longer the team to beat in the NFC. Newton and the Panthers followed up their rousing victory with a complete annihilation of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship.
If Newton can learn anything from previous outcomes, it shows that winning Super Bowls are not promised. Only three active quarterbacks have won multiple Super Bowls. Tom Brady leads the way with four. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have two apiece. As for Newton’s opponent, Manning has gone (1-2) during his career in the Super Bowl. Despite the age difference, this game can be a defining moment for both of their careers.
On one hand, Newton has the chance to defeat a legendary quarterback for his first Super Bowl title. It might be the Panthers’ best chance to ever win. It also might be the first of many.
When it comes to Manning, Super Bowl 50 could be the curtain call only John Elway could love. However, if Newton has his way, he’ll continue to “Dab” on the league straight to a Super Bowl win.