Our top two potential Super Bowl 50 rematches were wiped out when the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks lost in the Divisional Playoffs, but one particularly intriguing Super Bowl rematch remains in the running. Here’s how we rank the four potential Super Bowl games.
4. Denver Broncos vs. Arizona Cardinals
A fun old-man quarterback matchup, as two 36-or-older pivots try to salvage legacies, and there’s a good chance this would be a highly-competitive game. If we’re looking at what might be Peyton Manning’s last game, we’ve got a potential classic on our hands. That’s why it’s so hard to place this last, but it’s a hell of a final four, with three games that would still be better.
3. Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers
I mean, it shouldn’t get much better than a battle between the top two seeds, right? Denver’s got the best defense in the league and Carolina’s offense led the NFL in scoring. Plus you’ve got that whole torch-passing thing with the 39-year-old Manning and 26-year-old soon-to-be-MVP Cam Newton.
This also gives us our most interesting Super Bowl week, simply because the Broncos are more entertaining than the tight-lipped Pats, Manning is always fun and the Panthers have a ton of swagger. The only major risk is the potential for a blowout exists — one that reminds us of Seattle-Denver from 2013.
2. New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona isn’t quite as intriguing as Carolina, but you’ve still got a stud pocket passer in Carson Palmer and a much more intriguing receiving corps. Frankly, Newton’s got a lot of success ahead of him but this might be one of Palmer’s last shots. Makes for another hell of an old-man matchup. If Arizona makes it to the Santa Clara, no matter who they play, the game would be the oldest quarterback matchup in the history of the Super Bowl.
Plus, for what it’s worth, Bruce Arians probably moves the needle more than Ron Rivera.
Ultimately, though, this is about Brady, who will be chasing an unprecedented fifth Super Bowl in the home of the team he worshiped growing up, breaking a record that right now belongs to him, Terry Bradshaw and Brady’s boyhood idol, Joe Montana.
1. New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers
The Pats would be looking to put the icing on the cake with a fifth Super Bowl win in the Brady/Belichick era. New England always plays close, exciting Super Bowls and a matchup with the league’s best team from the regular season is ideal.
This would also feel like a bit of a torch-passing opportunity with Tom Brady going up against the likely MVP in Newton, who appears to be the future at the quarterback position.
Plus, it’s a rematch of Super Bowl Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was an absolute thriller and the only Super Bowl Carolina has ever participated in. Maybe we’ll have another wardrobe malfunction.