It’s Superman v Super old man. Cam Newton v Peyton Manning. Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos.
Peyton Manning is the quarterback for the Broncos. At 39, this will most likely be his farewell game and what a way to go out. He is one of the greatest players to ever throw a pigskin and he deserves to go out a champion and claim his second Super Bowl ring.
The Panthers however will be favourites for this clash and they deserve to be. They have only dropped one game all year and look almost unstoppable in offense while stopping everyone in defense.
Manning isn’t throwing the ball like he used to. Can you blame him? Would you be throwing the ball well with your 40th birthday on the horizon? However he makes up for his throwing with his smarts and astute knowledge of the game.
I was in New York when he last started a Super Bowl and he had a horrible night. If Peyton catches the first snap this year, it will at least be a better start.
Denver’s defense is stunning and if they can hold the Panthers to field goals, it will make a victory very imminent.
The AFC team gets to choose what colour jersey they wear in even numbered years, for the Super Bowl. If I was Denver I would have chosen, their prominent 'orange' colour. They didn’t. Carolina will be wearing a strip they have never ever won a post season game in!
The Broncos are in white and the Panthers are in black. Michael Jackson once sang “It don’t matter if you’re black or white”, but in this case it certainly does!
As a Charger fan I really can’t go for a division rival, but I’m making an exception. I want Peyton Manning to go out a winner and I think the Broncos will win…in extra time 27-21, in a thriller!
A lot of Australians leant a little about NFL during Haynemania, but in case you haven’t got the rules down pat yet, here they are in an easy to understand way.
TIMING: Games are divided into four, 15 minute quarters. At the end of the first and third quarters, the team with the ball retains possession heading into the following quarter. That is not the case before halftime. The second half starts with a kickoff in the same way as Rugby League or Union.
HOW IT WORKS: Each team essentially has 4 tackles (downs) to try and make 10 yards (just over 9m). If a team manages 10 yards (or longer) they are then given the opportunity to try and make another 10 yards within 4 downs.
If a team is 2nd and 8, this means that the offensive team is on its 2nd down and they still need to make a further 8 yards to receive their next set of 4 downs.
On the 4th down, if the offensive team is too far away to kick a field goal, they will punt the ball for field position, like in League on the 5th tackle.
The main difference between Australian codes of football and NFL is, that after the ball is kicked, the kicking team isn’t allowed to re-gather the ball.
Play begins at what is called the line of scrimmage. The offensive team is allowed to only throw the ball forward, once per down. However each team may pass the ball backwards as many times as they like (which is termed ‘a lateral’).
THE TACKLE: A player is tackled when one or both of his knees touch the ground. The play is then over (even if the ball comes loose).
SCORING: A touchdown (which is comparable to a try) is worth 6 points. To score a touchdown as a player carrying the ball, the ball simply needs to cross the plane of the goal line (it doesn’t have to be grounded over the goal line). If someone is catching the ball in the ‘end zone’ (in goal area), the person catching the ball needs to have two feet in bounds at some point in time.
After a touchdown is scored, the offensive team tries to convert the touchdown for one point. This kicking conversion attempt is taken from the 15 yard line directly in front of the goal posts.
Teams can also attempt a 2 point conversion, which is where they will try and score another touchdown from the opponent’s 2 yard line.
Like in Rugby, field goals are worth 3 points and can be attempted from any position on the field.
OVERTIME: In order to win the game, the team who wins the coin toss must score a touchdown on their first possession. If they only score a field goal, the opposing team then gets a chance to score. If they kick a field goal, the game continues. If they score a touchdown, the game ends. If the game is tied after both teams have had a possession, then the next score wins.