In order to purge my soul regarding the 2015 AFC Championship Game, it’s time to switch gears in dramatic fashion.
Soon after the Broncos and Patriots finished staging a version of Hunger Games in Denver on Sunday with each team’s quarterback taking turns looking somewhat useless, the Carolina Panthers destroyed the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 to win the NFC Championship.
As a result, the 17-1 Panthers will roll into Santa Clara, California to finish off what would be one of the most spectacular seasons in NFL history.
With the Panthers set to descend into the San Francisco Bay Area next week, it’s time to sit around the table and have a few family discussions about a few issues that may require the kids to leave the dinner table:
- The Carolina Panthers are the third 15-1 team to reach the Super Bowl: Only the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and 1985 Chicago Bears previously reached the Super Bowl with just one loss during the 16-game regular season schedule format started in 1978. Both the ’84 49ers and ’85 Bears won their Super Bowl appearances in emphatic fashion.
- Someone is going to ask about Carolina’s place in history if they win this game: Carolina enters Super Sunday with the NFL’s number one offense, highest scoring offense, and sixth-ranked defense. If they “Seattle” the Broncos, get ready. I’m not saying they would be one of the greatest teams ever with a victory but considering no team with at least 14 wins has won the Super Bowl since the 2003 & 2004 New England Patriots, but some people will.
- Cam Newton could possibly finish off one of the great individual seasons in league history: Newton, who will likely win the AP NFL MVP on February 6, would become the first MVP to win a Super Bowl in the same season since Kurt Warner did it for the Rams back during the ’99 campaign. Peyton never did it. Brady never did. Well, you know Montana did it in 1989.
- Lastly, get ready for some super awkward discussions about Cam Newton and Peyton Manning that might be tip-toeing racial lines: With two weeks before the Super Bowl kicks off, it’s going to be impossible for everyone to avoid the generational clash storyline between the two quarterbacks. Newton is the bombastic, fresh-faced, young black quarterback, who celebrates at the drop of a hat facing off against the classically corny, stoic, borderline emotionless, old, robotic Peyton Manning.
Before you start saying, “HOW CAN YOU PLAY THE RACE CARD, LEAVE IT ALONE”, let me demonstrate a conversation that is likely to happen at some point in the next two weeks…
BILL: HEY JOHNNY, WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR IN THE SUPER BOWL? PANTHERS OR BRONCOS.
JOHNNY: MAN, I’M ROOTING FOR THE BRONCOS.
BILL: WHY’S THAT?
JOHNNY: I CAN’T ROOT FOR CAM NEWTON. HE’S A JERK. HE CELEBRATES ALL OF THE TIME…AFTER EVERY PLAY…STOP SHOWING UP THE OPPONENTS…STOP WEARING A TOWEL OVER YOUR HEAD…STOP IT WITH THAT PHONY SMILE…WHO NAMES THEIR KID CHOSEN?!??!
BILL: WELL, THE BRONCOS SHOWBOAT TOO. VON MILLER GRABS HIS CROTCH SOMETIMES DURING CELEBRATIONS…AND WHAT ABOUT THAT MANNING HGH THING. THAT IS WEIRD….AND NEWTON GIVES THE BALLS TO THOSE KIDS AFTER HE SCORES. THAT’S COOL, RIGHT?
JOHNNY: NEWTON IS A PHONY. I JUST REALLY WANT PEYTON MANNING TO WIN. I WANT HIM TO GO OUT ON TOP. IT WOULD BE REALLY COOL. SEEMS LIKE A REALLY GREAT GUY THAT PLAYS THE GAME THE RIGHT WAY.
BILL: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
JOHNNY: HE TREATS THE GAME WITH RESPECT. NEWTON ACTS LIKE HE IS PLAYING STREET BALL THE WAY HE CARRIES HIMSELF. HE IS SUCH A THUG. THAT DAB THING IS SO STUPID.
BILL: WAIT, WHAT?
(END OF CONVERSATION)
Now, this conversation will continue one of two ways over the next two weeks. Behind the first door, it will evolve into a football discussion.
Then, behind door two is that other discussion. Unfortunately, I think the race issue is going to be inadvertently (or deliberately) brought up at some point. There’s just too many microphones in people’s faces for it to not happen in the next two weeks.
In other words, it’ll be something similar to this:
Let’s be honest. Due to the current state of Denver’s offense and Carolina’s weirdo offense facing Denver’s monster front seven, the game might be a snoozer if the cards fall incorrectly.
However, the build-up and the aftermath should be sensational…especially if Carolina wins.