1) Even though I picked the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 and even though I was clearly rooting for them as well, I found myself happy that Peyton Manning was going to snag himself another ring. I've always enjoyed watching Manning play the game of football, so it was neat watching him seemingly put every ounce of effort into each throw in what should be is final game. He had just enough juice left in his 39 year old arm to get the job done and to help his team win, even though some will argue that all he had to do was not screw up with Denver's awesome defense controlling the game.
Through the years his clichéd soundbites and Madison Avenue appeal have turned some fans off, but that kind of thing has never bothered me. So what that he's careful with the press? Who cares that he has maximized his celebrity into endorsement deals?
Some also soured on him because he "couldn't win the big one," but then after he won the big one, some wondered why he couldn't win it again. Manning unfortunately ran up against one of the greatest Dynasties in the NFL, the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have won 6 AFC Championships in their 16 years together. Manning also had to deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that made the playoffs 9 of the last 15 years. He played in an era of real good AFC football and he won two rings. Not too shabby.
Last week we talked about Manning's legacy in my Ten Thoughts, but I think his place in history is set. Calling someone the greatest of all time is always going to be subjective, but he belongs in that discussion.
2) Here are a few odd Manning things though.
What's up with the Papa John kiss?
I had to look it up, and it turns out Manning actually owns some Papa John's franchises, 21 to be exact.
Manning sure was ready top drink some Budweiser after the game, mentioning it twice in post game interviews. For the record, Manning does not have an endorsement deal with Bud, nor did they throw some cash his way for the plug.
They did capitalize of the free publicity however.
But it turns out that Manning does own stake in two Budweiser distributors in Louisiana. Cha-Ching!
And did you realize that Manning had a defective Super Bowl hat?
3) I knew there was no way Manning was going to address the retirement speculation after the game. He's too classy of a guy to shift the spotlight even further from his team after they just won the Super Bowl. He'll avoid the question for a few more weeks, but I think his mind is already made up. Going out on top is the best way to go.
Plus with a cap hit of $21,500,000 waiting in 2016, there's no way the Broncos could justify keeping him around one more year. Denver is moving on one way or another, and I think Manning is ready to move on as well.
4) Speaking of retirements, this is a fitting way for Seattle's Marshawn Lynch to hang em up.
Lynch ends his nine career with 9,112 rushing yards, 5 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl ring. The Seahawks seem to have the running back position in good hands with Thomas Rawls, who averaged 5.6 yards per carry as a rookie last year.
Check out this clip from the Seahawks.
5) But back to the Super Bowl...
Von Miller is ridiculous. He was more than worthy of his MVP trophy with 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles and a pass defended.
I think the Broncos will make him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
6) Carolina QB Cam Newton didn't have the best of games, but that had more to do with what Denver did defensively than it had to do with Newton not living up to the moment. Newton never seemed to get settled it to the game, and most of his throws were all arm. The constant pressure from the Broncos had Cam short arming throws, he wasn't stepping into his throws, even where he had a clean pocket his mechanics were off.
7) Some players, media members and fans are angered by Cam's "showboating" after he scores, makes a big play or gets a first down and his response is always something around the line of, 'If you don't like me celebrating, then stop me.'
Well, the Broncos stopped him.
Newton then went out and had a train-wreck of a post game press conference. I understand his frustration. I understand his hurt and his anger, but he has to understand a professional has a responsibility. Doing the hood up, pouty thing was a bad look for him.
Yeah I get that there was a more celebratory presser taking place within earshot of him, and yes, the "questions" he was being asked were awful, but as the face of the Panther franchise and as a burgeoning face of the NFL, he has to buck-up and live up to the responsibility that comes with that.
He met the media earlier today and he defended his actions.
"I'm on record as being a sore loser," he said, via the Charlotte Observer. "I hate losing. You show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser."
No one is asking him to be a good loser, but he should understand how to lose with class.
And bonus points for those of you that know where Cam Newton got that quote from...
He should learn from this mistake.
7a) This happened right after the game however.
8) There is such a thing as winning with class too.
Some of the Denver players immediately started to rub it in after the game.
And then there's this bit of fantasy.
Let's just settle down there fellas... Settle down.
9) Have you seen all the memes that were made around this latest Eli Manning face from the Super Bowl?
He wasn't sad that he'd no longer be the favorite Manning brother and he didn't just realize he would no longer be the Manning with the most championship rings, he had a more Xs & Os reason for his look.
From TMZ via SB Nation;
Manning: "I was just focused on whether they were going for two, and knew the defense had to step up and make some stops ... "
Cameraman: "I got you. Did you see the memes? Did you think they were funny?"
Manning: (smiling) "Uh, yeah. It's all good stuff."
The Manning's have always had a good sense of humor.
Where are the Bears you ask?
Why they're here: The Bears got better in 2015, but there is concern among panelists that Jay Cutler could regress in 2016 without Adam Gase guiding him, and the defense is a combination of young and in need of even more work, which doesn't make voters bullish.
What could change: Chicago has money to sped. They need to lock up Alshon Jeffrey, but have over $50 million in cap space to find upgrades elsewhere (linebacker would be a wise place to look). And don't forget No. 7 overall pick Kevin White will return, so the Bears will have money and essentially two first-round picks. In 14 seasons as a head coach, John Fox has never had a losing record in two consecutive seasons.
It's hard to argue with this ranking until we see how the team drafts and works free agency, but even with home-runs aplenty this offseason, this team still has a long way to go.
11) I had to get in an 11th Thought this week to talk about the 30 for 30 documentary about the 1985 Chicago Bears. If you haven't seen it, go right now and find it.
It's that good.