It’s ‘Smashmouth’, it’s ‘Hail Mary’, it’s the height of gridiron pigskin – Super Bowl 50 is almost upon us and the time has come to look like you know what you’re talking about.
Luckily for those far more familiar with the sport the rest of the universe refers to as football, news.bwin have compared several of the big match’s leading protagonists with the best the beautiful game has to offer to enhance your understanding:
The legacy-sullying last-chance legends – Peyton Manning = Iker Casillas
Remember when the world-class stopper suddenly went irredeemably off the boil, getting demoted to cup/continental keeper at Real Madrid by first Jose Mourinho, then Carlo Ancelotti, yet somehow ended up lifting the 2013/14 Champions League?
The once-great Manning, the 34th (dead last) rated quarterback in the league on passer rating this season, is doing something pretty similar right now.
Well past his best, he has been largely carried to this point by his teammates, a shadow of the player voted into the NFL team of the decade for the 2000s.
The ultimate guile-athleticism hybrid – Cam Newton = Cristiano Ronaldo
Traditionally the sport’s most celebratedly-cerebral position, quarterbacks aren’t supposed to come this big, fast and adept at running in touchdowns themselves.
The Panthers QB is at the vanguard of the position’s changing face, but his self-regarding personality means he remains a divisive character despite his brilliance.
Remind you of a supremely fast, fit and strong Portugeezer that changed the goalscoring expectations placed on wide forwards forever?
The enemy-snuffing tag teams – Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware = Gabi and Tiago
The Broncos’ ultra-stringent defence is the reason they’ve been able to carry the increasingly innocuous Manning to what may well be his last hurrah.
Outside linebackers Miller and Ware are pillars of their rearguard at the snap, smashing New England Patriots QB Tom Brady seven times (three sacks and four other hits) in their conference final last time out.
The leaders by example – Luke Kuechly = Paul Pogba
Anyone doubting this linebacker’s commitment to the Carolina cause is advised to revisit the incident during the NFC Championship game, when teammate Roman Harper was attempting to bring down an onrushing Arizona Cardinal.
Fellow defenceman Kuechly took exception to the extra yardage being gained in the clinch and charged in to help, rupturing his teammate’s cornea in the process.
Harper forgave him of course, because Kuechly is Mister Panthers, beloved by every man mountain on the roster including the injured party, who described him as “the nicest guy I’ve ever met”.
Like all-action Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, praised as a born leader by no less than World Cup-winning Italy coach Marcello Lippi, he sets the example for his teammates to follow.
The free kick go-to guys – Brandon McManus = Willian
The place punting expertise of Broncos kicker McManus has been instrumental in supplementing the returns of a benign attack en route to the Santa Clara showpiece.
In that respect, his importance to his side is very similar to free-kick/long-range howitzer expert Willian’s contribution to saving his Chelsea teammates even greater embarrassment in what has been a grind of a campaign.