After such a crazy Super Bowl, there are so many thoughts swirling in my head that I want to share with the CSR faithful. Most of these are not in-depth enough to make full articles about, and it would take quite a few FanPosts to put everything in black and white, so I decided instead to just make a rambling hodgepodge of random thoughts for your entertainment. Without further ado:
Cam Newton's Post Game Press Conference
Much ado has been made about Cam Newton ditching the media less than an hour after losing the biggest game of his life so far. Newton was solemn, despondent, and terse behind the microphones. Now many people are bashing Cam for ditching the media, but they did no such thing when Peyton Manning refused to shake hands after losing the Super Bowl to the Saints. Here's why: Manning snubbed Brees, Cam snubbed the media. Who writes about the NFL? The media. Where do most casual fans go to get their NFL info? The media. Who has their opinions printed in newspapers and on websites and sent through the radio airwaves? The media. Who thinks (rightfully so) that the NFL would be nowhere near as successful without them writing and talking about it literally 24/7/365? The media. In the eyes of the of the media, Cam bit the hand that feeds him. That's why it's such a big deal. It's not that Cam did anything that should get him crucified per se, he just did it to the people who do crucifixions for a living. For the record, if anyone had interviewed me right after the game ended, I would have been much less civil than Cam was.
I'll say this: Von Miller won the Super Bowl. Without Miller, the Broncos stood no chance. Yes, Demarcus Ware would have had some good plays, yes the rest of the Broncos defense is good (if not great), but Von Miller went full-fledged Lawrence Taylor in that game. And he did it throughout the playoffs to other great quarterbacks. Ask Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger about the impact Miller can have in a game. Had Miller not been so disruptive, neither Bronco touchdown would have happened and Cam might have gotten enough time to find some open receivers down field.
Lost in the brilliance of Miller was a Panthers edge rusher who would have taken home Super Bowl MVP had the Panthers won. Ealy was a luxury pick at the time, but he has turned into one of the best defensive lineman the Panthers have. In limited snaps he was able to wreak havoc all over the field, and watching him try to return that interception had me giddy. With Jared Allen likely out of the picture, Ealy should see more snaps in 2016 which I think will lead to him being the next big Panther edge rusher.
A nickel back, another defensive end, keep Norman and KK by any means necessary, another safety, maybe another Oher-esque tackle. Please get rid of Teddy Williams. Please, for the love of all that is Holy. Another back who can pass block would be nice, too. Fozzy is good in his own right, but man he whiffed on some key blitz pickups last Sunday.
A tackle of the future is the biggest need. I'd also like to see a receiver in the Ted Ginn mold to eventually take over for him on returns and as the pure burner on the outside. A threesome of a player like that plus Kelvin Benjamin on the other side and Devin Funchess in the slot would be a great corps to have grow together. Any home run hitter on offense would be nice, too. A player like Braxton Miller could be a sneaky good pickup as he could learn the position behind Jonathan Stewart for a few years and be the change of pace guy right off the bat. Plus he has great versatility for Shula and Co. to utilize.
I refuse to use the refs as an excuse for why the Panthers lost, but it would be naive to think that they didn't have a much too large impact on the game. The obvious catch by Jerricho Cotchery was somehow upheld as incomplete. The very next play was the strip-sack-six. When Graham Gano (of course) missed a field goal, Aqib Talib was clearly offside which, if called, would have given the Panthers a first down on that 4th-and-4 play. The Broncos secondary also seemed to be quite handsy, moreso than Josh Norman on that late defensive holding penalty in the endzone. The Panthers would have had a hard enough time overcoming their own mistakes; with mistakes by the refs they stood no chance.
Boy, was there ever a game where the Panthers missed Benji more than that one? I don't think so. The Broncos physical secondary combined with Newton's inaccuracy early on would have been a perfect time to lean on KB in the pass game. Benjamin is the type of receiver who can win those contested throws, especially downfield. Cam's main security blanket (Olsen) was triple covered at times. I guarantee if Benjamin was on the field, that would not have been the case.
As a final thought, I have a plea for Peyton. Please retire. Please. I would rather remember you as the five-time MVP who carried the Colts to a couple Super Bowl appearances, not the guy who rivals Trent Dilfer for worst quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Seeing the amount of effort needed on even the shortest of throws began to shatter the aura surrounding one of the best to ever play the position. Don't have a Michael Jordan with the Wizards phase. The sunset is calling, Sheriff, ride off into it.