The Denver Broncos have won the Super Bowl after a grinding 25-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. It was a tumultuous season for Denver, one in which few could have imagined they could rebound from early struggles and a seemingly washed up Peyton Manning to capture a Super Bowl. But nonetheless, the Broncos proved all the doubters wrong, and they are without a doubt, the best team in football. Let’s examine four key takeaways that are crucial to understand this game.
1. In the NFL, Talent is King
Let me get this out of the way, the Panthers are a great football team… But not because of their talent. The Panthers are a great team because of phenomenal coaching and outstanding team chemistry. Kudos to Ron Rivera for doing an unworldly job coaxing an elite run out of this group. What is important to understand about this super bowl is that the reason the Broncos won is simply because of a massive discrepancy in roster talent. Quick, name a star player on Carolina outside of Cam Newton, Josh Norman, and Greg Olsen! Can’t think of one? Don’t worry, no one else can either. Meanwhile if I ask you to name a star on the Broncos an entire laundry list pops up? Peyton Manning, DeMaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Chris Harris Jr., Vonn Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Brandon Marshall, Aqib Talib. This super bowl is a flawless reminder that damn good coaching can only take you so far, in the end you need a great roster to win it all. The Panthers were a great team, but not because of David Gettleman’s roster moves. They lacked any competent wide receiver, a true threat in the backfield, help on the offensive line, depth across the board, and a partridge in a pear tree. The Broncos meanwhile hardly had the head coaching expertise Carolina had yet still won on the heels of a more talented and well rounded roster. At the end of the day, the more talented team wins nine times out of ten.
2. Defense Wins Championships
Old school, old man, dirty nasty defense that bullies opponents into submission… That is what wins titles. I will always be an offensive guy, and so will most of the country simply because offense is more entertaining. But defense is what wins big. Just look at the last four super bowl winners: New England, Seattle, Baltimore, New York Giants. These are teams with big, physical defenses. The Broncos tried to win a few years ago with a high flying offense with an average defense, and it simply didn’t work, they tried again with a killer defense and stagnant offense and it worked wonders. I hate to say it, but general managers take note, defense wins championships.
3. Peyton and Elway Get the Win They Needed
Even if you’re a Carolina fan, you have to appreciate Peyton finally getting another ring. While I can discuss ad nausea the beauty of Manning riding off into the sunset while dispelling his super bowl choker reputation, the real underlying storyline is John Elway and the Broncos organization as a whole finally winning a super bowl. Yes, they’ve won before, but Denver had been trying desperately for several years in the Manning tenure to get a ring. They pulled out all the stops with star studded free agent hauls and balls to the wall coaching changes to win the big one, and in the end, they got it done. I’m glad Elway, the Bronco organization, and Peyton got a ring. If anybody deserves one, it’s them.
4. Do not give Gary Kubiak any credit for this.
The reason the Broncos won was a supremely talented roster and a mastermind defensive coordinator in Wade Philips. They did not win because of Gary Kubiak, and they still would have won with John Fox. Kubiak’s offense was an albatross all season long, and he does not deserve credit for this super bowl win. Mark my words, a few years down the road the Broncos will experience some struggles, and many will call for Kubiak’s head, the Broncos won’t give in however as they will be hesitant to fire a super bowl winning coach… And it will set the organization back. The Broncos were a phenomenal team and worthy super bowl victors, but don’t credit Kubiak and don’t give him a free pass in the future.
It really was one hell of an NFL season ended by one hell of a super bowl. Stay tuned for fascinating analysis and updates throughout the offseason.