Raise your hand if you had the Denver Broncos meeting the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Surely it couldn't have been this way.
The two No. 1 seeds in this year's postseason will battle it out to be called the 50th champion in NFL history. The Broncos are going for their third title, while the Panthers will be going for their first Super Bowl win.
Here's all the information you need to know.
Super Bowl 50 Information
Matchup: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
When: Feb. 7
Where: Levi's Stadium—Santa Clara, California
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Halftime Performers: Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars
The Denver Broncos are heading to the Super Bowl. Not with Brock Osweiler. Not with a high-octane offense.
A banged-up Peyton Manning, who threw two touchdown passes to Owen Daniels in the first half, will get one more chance to win his second ring when his Broncos take on the Panthers, following their 20-18 win at home over the New England Patriots.
It’s going to be the first time in NFL history that two quarterbacks drafted with the first overall pick will square off in the Super Bowl, according to B/R Insights. It took 50 Super Bowls for this to happen, but it’ll be Manning vs. Cam Newton for all the marbles.
NFL on CBS captured this moment of Manning going to his fourth Super Bowl:
The confetti. The trophy. Life is good for Peyton and the Broncos. pic.twitter.com/whVDcsyXbR— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 24, 2016
No story can come close to the storybook season of No. 18 in the Denver jersey. On Nov. 15, Manning looked done. Four interceptions against the Kansas City Chiefs and the future Hall of Famer was benched for Brock Osweiler. Manning was given one more chance, in the second half of Week 17 against the San Diego Chargers, to lead his team.
Since that second half a month ago, the Broncos have only turned the ball over once.
And not only is Manning heading back to the Super Bowl in hopes for his second ring, but he did it by beating his biggest rival once again, per NFL on ESPN:
Peyton Manning is now 3-2 against Tom Brady in the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/jiRlBGb1iZ— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 24, 2016
In the midst of that quarterback conundrum, Denver’s defense has not changed. It’s been the best unit all year long, allowing 18.5 points per game. Not enough credit has been given to Wade Phillips for the work he’s done to make the Broncos defense as elite as it has been.
But the Broncos may have met their match, summed up perfectly by New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.:
Cam. Legend— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) January 25, 2016
The potential league MVP will get the opportunity to do what he was drafted by the Panthers to do: win the franchise's first Super Bowl. Newton threw for 335 yards and scored four total touchdowns in Carolina's 49-15 thrashing of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC title game.
It's been a long road for both Newton and head coach Ron Rivera, who hadn't been farther than the divisional round before this year. NFL.com's Gil Brandt preaches that patience is a virtue with these two:
#Panthers should be example for teams running low on patience with HC and QB.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 25, 2016
Carolina survived a huge scare last week against the Seattle Seahawks, almost giving up a 31-point lead and losing any chance of playing in this game. But Newton continues to prove people wrong by being the league's best quarterback. And if he's not named the MVP after this one, well, Brad Evans from Yahoo Sports has an idea:
If Cam Newton doesn't win MVP unanimously, voters should be tarred and feathered, paraded through the streets.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) January 25, 2016
This is going to be an epic Super Bowl, pitting the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. If there's one guy who can take down Denver's vaunted defense, it may be Newton.