The Denver Broncos have advanced to Super Bowl 50, following a superb defensive effort against the New England Patriots. The Broncos defeated the Patriots by a final score of 20-18, finishing off a wild fourth quarter. The Broncos will face the winner of the Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers NFC Championship game.
Peyton Manning gets another shot at his second Lombardi Trophy, in what looks to be the twilight of his career. On the other hand, Tom Brady will not get a shot this year at surpassing Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with a fifth Super Bowl. Brady almost brought them back late, connecting with Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown with 12 seconds left. An earlier Stephen Gostkowski extra point miss forced the Patriots to attempt a 2-point conversion, and they came up short.
I do think the Broncos heading to the Super Bowl makes for a potentially more compelling game. Whether Carolina or Arizona comes out of the NFC, they will face a Broncos defense that has been strong most of this season, and put together a great effort against New England. Von Miller was as big a difference-maker as anybody, getting 2.5 sacks, four QB hits, and an interception. Seeing him coming after Cam Newton or Carson Palmer will be fun to watch in the Super Bowl.
Whether Peyton Manning can get enough done in the Super Bowl remains to be seen. The Broncos had a couple great touchdown drives in the first half, but petered out in the second half. If not for the defense, the Broncos are not in the Super Bowl. Two weeks from today will be a fascinating game, regardless of who comes out of the NFC.