SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco 49er legend and four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana talked to KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell about the teams facing off at Super Bowl 50 during our ‘Countdown To Gold’ special Monday.
With 39-year-old veteran quarterback Peyton Manning leading the Denver Broncos against 26-year-old upstart Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, you couldn’t have more contrasting teams.
“When you look at their statistics, Carolina is a running team,” explained Joe. “And it’s not just Cam running. They put the ground a lot, and that’s a little bit different than what the rest of the teams in the NFL are doing.”
The Panthers run the ball 47 percent of their plays from scrimmage, more than any other team in the NFL.
O’Donnell also asked Joe about his memories from 1982 as a third-year player taking on 10 year veteran Ken Anderson and the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI and how he thought Newton would withstand the pressure.
“The hardest part isn’t really stepping onto the field. It’s the four or five days leading up to the game when everybody shows up in town. Thank God for Jennifer!” Joe laughed, giving a nod to his wife of 30 years. “She took all the pressure off of me. She really let me study and practice throughout the week.”
“Once he [Newton] gets to the game, he will be fine,” Joe continued. “It’s just all the distractions that lead up to it that really get the guys who are going there for the first time. But the way they look, they’re a pretty loose team. I don’t think they’ll have an issue.”
As far as Manning being able to lead the Broncos despite an arm that has weakened as he approaches 40, Joe said he would need to provide Denver’s tenacious defense with a bit more support.
“I think one of the things that he has to do is they’re going to have to score a few more points,” said Joe. “I know they’ve got a great defense. But one of the things I saw with Peyton is — and he appears to be healthy – but where I saw the lack of strength this time was in his throws along the sidelines. More so on go routes down the sidelines. Most of the balls were a little under thrown.”
However, when pressed to pick which team he thought would win Super Bowl 50, Joe was a little hesitant before he committed.
“If this is Peyton’s last game, it would be nice to see him win going out,” said Joe. “But I think Carolina is on one of those rolls right now where it is just going to be tough to beat them.”