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Super Bowl 50: a tale of two quarterbacks

Well, football fans, the matchup for this year’s landmark 50th Super Bowl is set–and it’s a classic matchup of youth versus experience. The Carolina Panthers have five players on the roster who have previously played on Super Sunday; the Denver Broncos have a whopping 16. And then there’s the most obvious experience differential: the one between the two opposing quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. It’s the first time ever, if you can believe it, that a Super Bowl will have two number one draft picks facing each other; but Manning and Newton were drafted in decidedly different eras and have made their marks in different ways.

Cam Newton is looking to make history in Super Bowl 50.

Manning reinvented the pocket passer, bringing in an audible-driven style that made him essentially an on-field offensive coordinator. He heralded a new age, in which pre-snap reads would come to be an essential part of the position. He’s quite possibly about to go under center for the last time in the NFL, and he’s obliterated records while establishing himself as arguably the best quarterback of all time. He’s almost certainly the best regular season quarterback of all time, and another Super Bowl could send him off to the Hall of Fame as possibly the best of all time, period. He’s already the first quarterback to take multiple teams–the Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts–to the Super Bowl multiple times. He’s also tied with Brett Favre for the all-time lead in victories, with 199, and a win next sunday would be number 200. There’s also a middling chance that, win or lose, this is his “last rodeo,” as he suggested was a possibility in a brief postgame chat last week with Bill Belichick.

Newton, along with Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, headlines a new wave of dual-threat quarterbacks who are both legitimate pocket-passers and game-changing run threats. Until this season, Luck and especially Wilson were considered the cream of this new crop of signal-callers; but this year, Cam has taken the football world by storm. Though he set the NFL record for rookie passing yards, there were many lingering questions about his overall game–until this season. This season, Cam ran threw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions; he also ran for 636 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns. He’s on everyone’s short list for MVP, and he’s consistently shown his growth as a pocket passer–as evidenced by his spectacular hot-read touchdown during last weekend’s beatdown of the formidable Arizona Cardinals. If Cam wins Super Bowl 50, he’ll be the third quarterback (along with Joe Montana and Joe Namath) to win the NCAA National Championship and the Super Bowl as a starter. He’ll also be the first ever to win the National Championship, the Super Bowl and the Heisman Trophy.

Peyton Manning is looking to add to his legacy.

There are other storylines in the big game, for sure, but the primary one will be the tale of two quarterbacks. The Panthers and Broncos have two of the toughest defenses in all of football this year, with line-crumbling pass rushes and elite crews of linebackers; both quarterbacks will have their work cut out for them. Will Peyton ride off into a Hall of Fame-bound sunset with a Super Bowl win and victory number 200? Or will Cam become the first to win the Triple Crown of quarterbacking, and answer his critics once and for all? Hit us up @Brackethead on Twitter and tell us what you think. You can also sound off on our Facebook page, make predictions and show the world how you’re planning to celebrate Super Sunday. Oh yeah–if you want to win prizes while you root for your team, head to gofancheer.com and download the FanCheer app so you can Play, Shout and Win!

May the brackets always bust in your favor!

The folks at FanCheer

NFL Thanksgiving recap: Favre returns home

In the first game of the day, the Detroit Lions had themselves a great day in their dome. The Lions thoroughly manhandled Mark Sanchez and the Philadelphia Eagles, to the tune of a 45-14 beatdown. Matt Stafford threw for five touchdowns after a somewhat slow beginning, and Calvin “Megatron” Johnson went off, with 93 receiving yards and three touchdown grabs. Looks like he’s healthy again, and the Lions have won three in a row.

Brett Favre returned home to Lambeau to have no. 4 retired.

Under the dome in Dallas, the second game of the day was a blowout as well. The Carolina Panthers defense got off to a quick start, pulling off two pick-sixes against the CowboysTony Romo. Then Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense got settled in, and the Dallas defense had no answer for them. The final score was 33-14, and it was more decisive than that. The Panthers’ win was their 15th regular season win in a row, a streak which is tied for the longest by an NFC team since the merger. Meanwhile, the Cowboys lost more than a game: they lost quarterback Tony Romo again, this time for the season. Romo was sacked on the last play of the third quarter, and he landed on the same collarbone he broke earlier this season. He reportedly thought it might be broken as soon as he landed, and it seems the Cowboys just don’t have much luck this year.

The nightcap was the only close game of the night, and it came down to the wire. In a surprise turn of events, Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears came back against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, in a downpour that was at times torrential. An Eddie Lacy fumble turned the tide in the Bears’ favor, and the Bears’ defense hung on for a fourth-and-goal stop with mere seconds to go for a 17-13 win. Packers fans had a brief scare in the second half, as Rodgers took a helmet to his non-throwing elbow and was checked out by team doctors. But he returned to the game, leading his team nearly the length of the field on their last drive before coming up just short. But the real story of the night at Lambeau took place at halftime. With Packers legend Bart Starr in attendance, the Packers brought in legend Brett Favre and retired his famous number 4. The fans were manic with excitement, and the excitement hit a crescendo when Favre and Star shared a few words along with an embrace. For years to come, Packers fans will tell of where they were when Favre’s name and jersey number were officially enshrined in the original home of the Lombardi Trophy.

What are your thoughts and feelings on the legendary Brett Favre? Will the Carolina Panthers actually run the table this season? Can the New England Patriots hold serve and remain undefeated along with the Panthers? Hit us up @Brackethead on Twitter and tell us what you think. If you really want to show your stuff and win stuff while you support your team, head to www.gofancheer.com and download the app to Play, Shout and Win!

May the brackets always bust in your favor,

Brackethead & the folks at FanCheer