Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos beat Carolina Panthers

By James GheerbrantBBC Sport
Highlights: Broncos win Super Bowl 50

The Denver Broncos produced a defensive masterclass to upset the Carolina Panthers 24-10 and win Super Bowl 50.

Carolina were heavy favourites, having lost only once all season and with the league's Most Valuable Playerexternal-link of the season Cam Newton at quarterback.

But Newton was smothered by the Broncos defence and gave up three turnovers, including one that led to a touchdown.

That helped Denver, quarterbacked by veteran Peyton Manning, open a 10-0 lead early on and they never lost it.

It had been rumoured the game would be 39-year-old Manning's last, but he said afterwards he would "take time to reflect".

"It's been an emotional week and it's an emotional night," he added.

Newton did not have a good game, but he was not helped by an awful display by Carolina's receivers, with Jerricho Cotchery guilty of two crucial drops.

It's a third Super Bowl title for the Broncos - after wins in 1997 and 1998 - while the Panthers are still waiting for their first.

Key points

Malik Jackson scores a touchdown
Malik Jackson (right) scored the game's first touchdown after Von Miller (second left) sacked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton
  • Broncos win first Super Bowl since 1998 season
  • Second Super Bowl victory for Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning
  • Malik Jackson scores early defensive touchdown for Denver
  • CJ Anderson touchdown clinches victory for Broncos in fourth quarter
  • Jonathan Stewart scores second-quarter touchdown for Carolina
  • Carolina quarterback Cam Newton gives up three turnovers
  • The Broncos' 194 total yards were the fewest ever for a Super Bowl winner
  • Denver's defence forced a Super Bowl record-tying seven sacks

Broncos reaction

"It's very special," said Manning. "This game was much like this season has been. It tested our toughness, resilience our unselfishness."

Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware gave a lot of credit to Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

"He came in and figured out how to utilise the guys, utilise the talents," he said. "He changed everything up to where we could be more aggressive and get to the passer, but also create a lot of havoc."

Panthers reaction

Cam Newton's tense post-game interview

"They just played better than us," said Newton, a first round draft pick in 2011. "I don't know what you want me to say.

"They made more plays than us and that's what it came down to. We turned the ball over, gave up sacks, threw errant passes. That's it."

Defensive end Keony Ealy said the team would learn from the defeat.

"It sucks, but I can't dwell on it," said Ealy, who tied the Super Bowl record with three sacks and became the first player to record multiple sacks and an interception in a Super Bowl.

"The better team won. They showed up, they played. They didn't make mistakes, we did make mistakes. We can't do that."

Most Valuable Player

Von Miller
Von Miller is a four-time selection for the Pro Bowl, the NFL's all-star game

Broncos linebacker Von Miller was named the game's Most Valuable Player after completing five tackles, two and a half sacks and two forced fumbles.

"I'm so proud of my guys," said Miller. "It's been every last one of you guys in the locker room that has gotten me to this moment right here."

He becomes only the 10th defensive player to win the award and only the fourth linebacker.

Miller, 26, was the number two pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, in which Newton was drafted first by the Panthers.

Manning's the man

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning, who turns 40 in March, made his NFL debut in 1998 after being drafted as the first overall pick by Indianapolis

For Manning, the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown passes, this win will strengthen his case to be seen as the greatest quarterback of all time.

He has now won two and lost two of his four Super Bowl appearances - his first win coming with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 - and improved his post-season record to 14-13.

It was not a vintage performance from the quarterback, who was sacked five times and did not throw for a touchdown.

But simply playing on the winning team represented a remarkable turnaround after a difficult season during which Manning was ignominiously benched for deputy Brock Osweilerexternal-link after throwing four interceptions in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in November.

Coldplay and Beyonce star in half-time show

Super Bowl 50: Half-time show featuring Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars impresses BBC pundits

British group Coldplay were the main performers at the half-time and they were joined by Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson.

Coldplay opened the show by singing 'Yellow' and 'Viva La Vida' as children carrying multi-coloured umbrellas and violins streamed onto the pitch.

Beyonce, Chris Martin and Bruno Mars
Beyonce and Bruno Mars were both performing in their second Super Bowl half-time show, but it was Chris Martin's first

Mars and Ronson performed their hit 'Uptown Funk', before Beyonce sang her new song 'Formation'.

The artists closed the show by performing a mash-up of Coldplay's hit 'Fix You' and Beyonce's 'Crazy In Love'.

Mark Ronson tweet
Mark Ronson enjoyed himself
Ellen de Generes tweet
American comedienne Ellen de Generes declared it the best half-time show ever
Piers Morgan tweet snip
But Piers Morgan wasn't such a fan
Joey Barton tweet snip
Footballer Joey Barton doesn't expect to see that sort of spectacle at Wembley any time soon

Best of social media

Don Cheadle tweet snip
Hollywood actor and diehard Broncos fan Don Cheadle was delighted...
Brooklyn Decker tweet snip
...But there was disappointment for Panthers-supporting supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker
Donald Trump tweet snip
Donald Trump was not impressed by the standard of Super Bowl 50
Buzzfeed tweet snip
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was in the stands to watch his older brother win a second Super Bowl - but his less-than-overjoyed expression did not go unnoticed by social media
Cloyd Rivers tweet snip
One user felt the denouement to the game was typically American

Super stats

  • The game was watched by an estimated 120m viewers in the USA, and 160m worldwide.
  • Advertisers shelled out an estimated $5m (£3.45m) for 30-second commercials during the Super Bowl.
  • The day of the Super Bowl is the second largest day for consumption of food and drink for Americans, behind Thanksgiving Day - with an estimated 1.25bn chicken wings and 325m gallons of beer guzzled.
  • The Broncos players pick up $97,000 (£67,000) each in prize money, while Peyton Manning reportedly pockets a $2m (£1.4m) win bonus.
  • Panthers tackle Daryl Williams and Broncos guard Louis Vasquez were the heaviest players on show, at 24st (152kg) apiece.
Peyton Manning holds the Vince Lombardi trophy
Peyton Manning becomes the first player to win the Super Bowl as starting quarterback for two different teams
Cam Newton walks off dejected
Cam Newton is the fifth regular-season NFL MVP to lose in the Super Bowl since 2001. The last NFL MVP to win a Super Bowl was St Louis Rams' Kurt Warner in 2000
Santa Clara stadium
The game was watched by 71,088 people at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California