31. Super Bowl L, 2016 : Denver 24—Carolina 10
Last year’s matchup saw the five and a half point favorite Panthers succumb to the Broncos’ suffocating defense as a demonstrably broken version of Peyton Manning did just enough on offense to drag his team across the finish line. Like the Broncos’ General Manager John Elway, Manning was able to finish his career with a Super Bowl victory.
Competitiveness: 6 out of 10. Both teams struggled to move the ball against top caliber defenses. The Broncos jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never trailed, but the game wasn’t properly settled until a very late Broncos touchdown made the margin two scores.
Star Power: 8 out of 10. Plenty to go around, with Manning and league MVP Cam Newton, as well as Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Josh Norman, Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly.
Controversy/Intrigue: 7 out of 10. Manning is a truly legendary figure and watching him will his broken body to one last victory is a sight that will resonate in history. Cam Newton raised hackles for appearing less than gracious in post-game interviews, although that seemed like a real tempest in a teapot.
Aftermath: 4 out of 10. Both teams suffered post Super Bowl letdowns in 2017, with neither team making the playoffs. Following a series of health scares, Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak was forced to retire at the end of the season.
Aggregate Score: 25 out of 40.Back to top