Super Bowl 50 – Defense! Defense!

Von Miller of the Denver Broncos, Super Bowl 50 MVP. Photograph by Jeffrey Beall.

Von Miller of the Denver Broncos, Super Bowl 50 MVP. Photograph by Jeffrey Beall.

Good pitching, baseball fans always say, stops good hitting. A good defense stops a good offense.

And so the Denver Broncos’ vaunted defense stopped Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers’ electric running game, 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.

It was perhaps the last hurrah for Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning, who at 39 became the oldest quarterback to pilot a Super Bowl team and may join his boss John Elway as the only quarterback to retire after winning a Super Bowl.

For Manning, it’s got to be a terrific vindication after the Broncos were humiliated by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl two years ago.

For Cam Newton – who was straitjacketed at every turn by a Broncos’ D-line led by SB MVP Von Miller – it was an important lesson at a young age that no one has everything in life and nothing lasts forever. The Panthers were a juggernaut during the regular season and the playoffs, and the momentum just ran out. No doubt they’ll have other moments. – something their gracious coach Ron Rivera alluded to in his postgame interview. Just not Super Bowl 50.

Because it was a defensive game, it had the feel of a car engine that kept stalling. The commercials and the halftime show took their sputtering cue from the game.

I’m not a great fan of Coldplay and sports entertainment spectacle. The best halftime shows – Tom Petty comes to mind in Super Bowl XLII, in which the New York Giants defeated the “perfect” New England Patriots, still the best SB I ever saw – are also the most straightforward. A great band performs greatly. Period. We don’t need Olympic-y symbolism. And while we didn’t get quite that, the show was still a little too busy for my taste.

As for the much-discussed commercials, I just hated the Mountain Dew spot with the hybrid human baby/animal. And don’t tell me that all that matters is that a commercial is memorable, bad, good or indifferent. It was just terrible while the getaway Prius was an amusing idea, and Helen Mirren’s straight talk and tough love on drunk driving for Budweiser was delivered as only the woman who has played Queen Elizabeth I and II can.

“Imposing” might be a word to describe Dame Helen. “Intimidating” might be another.

Put it yet another way: I don’t think the Broncos’ D-line would faze her.