The broadcast featured an impressive performance from Denver’s front seven, an unlikely dabbing performance and commercials involving babies (kind of).
Here’s what we noticed from the couch:
1. The story of the game was the Broncos’ front -- and specifically Von Miller -- dominating. Miller had six tackles, 2.5 sacks, two QB hits and a pair of forced fumbles. In the conference championship game and Super Bowl, he totaled five sacks, six QB hits, two forced fumbles and an interception. That’s an MVP performance.
2. Panthers QB Cam Newton not diving on the ground for that fumble in the fourth quarter brought out the worst of Twitter outrage. Newton took six sacks and 13 hits on the night. He runs around from large, violent men for a living and was just named the regular-season MVP. Maybe we can let him offer an explanation before questioning his toughness as we sit in front of our TVs? Newton did not play well (18-for-41 for 265 yards), but he’s 26 years old. He’ll be back.
3. On a lighter note, I have never been in an advertising meeting. But I would like to know what happens in that room when someone comes up with an idea as brilliant as the “Puppy, Monkey, Baby” bit. Does everyone immediately shut their laptops and go home for the day? Do they open the in-office liquor cabinet and toast one another in celebration? America needs answers to important questions like this.
4. Other commercial notes: It was nice to see Randy Johnson again. I yearn for a time when a man could sports a mullet, a mustache and be nicknamed “The Big Unit” without others judging him. ... I’m all-in on Seal, but found the Super Bowl babies campaign a bit creepy. ... Were there an inordinate amount of commercials dealing with digestive issues? I’m guessing that created a lot of households where viewers looked down and stared awkwardly at their phones.
5. In a day and age where we can recover from ACL injuries faster than ever and have found a way to stuff garlic knots into pizza crusts, how is the NFL still relying on a manual toss of a red handkerchief to challenge plays? It’s time to advance to 2016 technology.
6. The game of football receives plenty of justified criticism -- player safety, off-field issues, etc. But what other brand of entertainment could give us Betty White dabbing. Look no further for proof of why football -- and this country -- are great.
— Betty White (@BettyMWhite) February 7, 2016
7. As we told you Saturday, the best prop bet was Steph Curry’s jersey choice. Hope you listened and were able to collect.
And Lady Gaga’s national anthem -- which was great -- hit the under.
One prop bet just added: How many Budweisers will Manning consume in celebration? The over/under is 11.5.
8. If the halftime show would have just changed the order around, it might have worked. Beyonce should have been the headliner. Bruno Mars could have still come on second. And Coldplay could have made a cameo at the end. Lesson for the future: When in doubt, add more Bey.
9. Miller will get most of the credit for the Broncos, but don’t forget about defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. He put together brilliant game plans against two of the game’s most dangerous quarterbacks. Newton had been sacked twice and hit three times in the previous two playoff games. He was sacked six times and hit on 13 occasions versus Denver. The Broncos took out Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Newton on their way to a title. Not bad.
10. Leftovers: Go ahead and pretend like “Whatta Man” won’t be in your head all week, but you’re only lying to yourself. ... Early on, it seemed like Newton had opportunities. He missed on a couple of throws and the Panthers had a couple of drops. Later though, the Broncos’ defense took over. ... The Doritos commercial with the baby in the hospital room was the one that left me speechless. It takes a truly tortured genius to come up with something like that. ... When did Aqib Talib get a pep talk from Vontaze Burfict? Was it right before the game or earlier in the week? He had three penalties, including two personal fouls in the first half.