The 50th landmark!
The Super Bowl sees the winners of the NFL's two conferences, the AFC (American Football Conference) and the NFC (National Football Conference) go head to head. The winners are also awarded the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy.
The showcase was first played out on January 15, 1967, and has continued to conclude the NFL season every year since. The match is considered by many as the greatest sporting event on earth in the greatest sporting league on earth.
2016 presents the landmark 50th Super Bowl. It will be played between the exciting, dynamic Carolina Panthers led by superstar quarterback Cam Newton and Peyton Manning's tough, savvy Denver Broncos. The Big Game will take place at Levi's stadium in Santa Clara, California.
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Last year's event, Super Bowl XLIX, was a thrilling 28-24 victory for the New England Patriots over the Seattle Seahawks, and has been classed by some as one of the greatest NFL end-of-season showcase of all time. Super Bowl 50 has all the makings of another classic, so what better time to get involved.
Peyton Manning - the last hurrah?
Irrespective of the result, Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning will be heralded as one of the greatest to ever play the game. The quarterback will appear in his fourth Super Bowl during an illustrious career that some would say has been marred by statistically his poorest season to date.
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It is clear that 14-time Pro Bowler Manning would love nothing more than to silence his critics and walk away with a second Vince Lombardi trophy. It would be his first with Denver, having won it previously with the Indianapolis Colts.
At 39 years old, he is set to become the oldest Super Bowl quarterback of all time. His age, however, has shown more so than ever this season as the former number one overall draft pick struggled with arm strength and physicality; traits that are essential for players in his position.
A regular season involving 17 interceptions resulted in Manning descending the Broncos' ladder to second string behind the highly rated youngster Brock Osweiler. Osweiler's ineffectiveness near the end of the season, however, has led to Manning being reinstated as the starter.
This uncertainty has led to more questions over what the holds future for Manning, who is expected by many to retire at the end of last season. Even if he were to play on, it is difficult to see him reaching another Super Bowl as a starter, meaning this could be the final opportunity to see one of the best strutting his stuff on the grandest stage of them all.
On the other side of the ball, the teams involved in this year's match boast two of the NFL's strongest defences. Denver are the league leaders when it comes to sacks (52), yards per rush allowed (3.8 yards) and passing yards allowed.
It is difficult to spot a weakness in the Broncos' secondary and they harbour some of the most fearsome linebackers in the league. The defensive duo of Demarcus Ware and Von Miller have tormented opposition quarterbacks, including Tom Brady and his Patriots in the AFC championship game.
The Carolina Panthers, on the other hand, are equally daunting a concept for opposing offences. Linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis lead the team in interceptions, with the former in red-hot postseason form returning two interceptions for touchdowns.
This is no surprise given that head coach, Ron Rivera, won the Super Bowl in 1985 playing that very position for the Chicago Bears. However, All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman has stolen the show. He has shut down some of the league's most notorious and challenging receivers.
Andrew Siciliano of NFL media reported that over the first 14 weeks of the season, Norman held DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, TY Hilton, Dez Bryant and Julio Jones to a combined nine receptions for 89 yards.
For those who are a fan of tactical sporting duels, the proficiency of these two defences should be an irresistible prospect to watch
The Carolina Panthers have never won a Super Bowl. This year, however, all the signs point towards that unflattering record changing. In 2015, the Panthers have recorded 15 wins and just one defeat, all orchestrated by their superstar quarterback Cam Newton.
The 6 foot 5, 245 lb Pro Bowler is a physical specimen of a football player who is just as comfortable scrambling as he is in the passing game. His ability, conjoined with his unflappable confidence makes for one of the most entertaining characters in all of the sport.
Newton, another number one overall draft pick, has had an unforgettable season. He has recorded 3,837 passing yards, 45 touchdowns (35 passing and 10 scrambling) and added an additional 636 rushing yards from scrimmage.
This has led the winner of the 2010 Heisman trophy to be a prime candidate for the league's Most Valuable Player award. At 26-years-old, Newton has a potentially monumental future ahead of him as a franchise quarterback. For those who have never watched this fantastic sport and are looking for an individual to invest emotionally in for the long term, Cam could be just the man
The world famous half-time show
The four largest events in American TV history are all Super Bowls, this one is scheduled to be no different. Denver and Carolina are both franchises with passionate and committed fans, both will be eager to ensure that this game is one for the ages.
The 50th AFC vs NFC showdown is expected to be the most watched and largest grossing sporting event of all time. Fans of live music will be thrilled to hear that Coldplay playing the half time show. Chris Martin's band are expected to be joined by Bruno Mars and it is rumoured that Beyoncé will make an appearance.
If the excitement of the competition alone isn't enough for you, this showcase has plenty more in the locker to ensure that rookie eyes remain glued to the television screen.
Fancy having lunch with an NFL player? A trip to LA to the set of NFL Network? A year’s supply of Five Guys or the weight of the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Doritos? In celebration of Super Bowl 50, the NFL are giving 50 lucky fans the chance to win any one of 50 incredible prizes during Super Bowl week (2nd Feb – 7th Feb 2016). 50 Golden Tickets, 50 incredible prizes, 50 chances to win. Enter now www.NFL50GoldenTickets.com
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