As Super Bowl 50 nears, a lot of the talk between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos has been about Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and how he is possibly revolutionizing the game for the better.Newton, during the 2015 regular season, threw 35 touchdown passes and rushed for 10 touchdowns as well.
But on Super Bowl Sunday, Newton is going to need a lot of help because the Broncos defense is the best in the business right now. When you have as much press has Newton has gotten in the media, you become even more of a target. But in order for the Panthers to hold the Lombardi trophy, it will certainly take a team effort. And the hero for the Panthers might not be Newton. It could be another star on the Panthers roster.
Here is a list of a few non-Cam Newton players who could be considered for the Super Bowl MVP award:
1.) Linebacker Luke Kuechly
Luke Kuechly: Probably not as "dark horse" as the other players to be listed, Kuechly has a chance to dominate against the Broncos underneath passing game. Broncos tight end Owen Daniels and his Stick-N-Nod routes up the seam should not be tried. With his mental prowess combined with his physical gifts, the stage is set for Kuechly to fly all over the field.
2.) Linebacker Thomas Davis
Thomas Davis: Kuechly's running mate could have an even better shot at winning the award for the simple fact that he presents the better story. Recovering from three ACL tears and playing this game with a protective sleeve on his right arm, Davis is the personification of toughness and perseverance. He brings everything Kuechly brings to the table, though the latter is slightly more fluid in his turn and run. Davis brings more flash however, and better speed. He'll attract plenty of attention, from opposition and fans alike.
3.) Cornerback Josh Norman
Josh Norman: The Panthers best corner will be tasked with shadowing Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. If Norman shuts Demaryius Thomas down and adds clutch plays like a game sealing interception or a fourth down pass breakup, his performance will garner recognition. Norman will have his opportunities, as Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will look to throw short routes to his right side, which is Norman's side in any case.
4.) Defensive tackle Kawann Short
Kawann Short: Short presents the biggest mismatch on this side of the ball going up against Broncos center Matt Paradise. The Broncos scheme also plays into Short's hands as a zone running game is ripe for its gaps to be shot. If the Broncos were to utilize Manning from under center, one could expect Short to have a big game.
However, the fact that he is a defensive tackle works against him. To win Super Bowl MVP honors from a defensive lineman standpoint, you probably have to take over the game on running downs and passing downs. That would be a tall order for Short as Manning still has a quick release throwing the football at 39 years of age.