Super Bowl L (50): Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos
Super Bowl 50 was an American football game to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2015 season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champions Denver Broncos defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champions Carolina Panthers, 24–10. The game was played on February 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California (located in the San Francisco Bay Area). As this was the 50th Super Bowl game, the league emphasized the "golden anniversary" with various gold-themed initiatives during the 2015 season, as well as suspending the tradition of naming each Super Bowl game with Roman numerals (under which the game would have been known as "Super Bowl L"), so the logo could prominently feature the Arabic numerals 50.
The Panthers finished the regular season with a 15–1 record, racking up the league's top offense, and quarterback Cam Newton was named the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP). They defeated the Arizona Cardinals 49–15 in the NFC Championship Game and advanced to their second Super Bowl appearance since the franchise began playing in 1995. The Broncos finished the regular season with a 12–4 record, bolstered by having the league's top defense. The Broncos defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots 20–18 in the AFC Championship Game joining the Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, and Pittsburgh Steelers as one of four teams that have made eight appearances in the Super Bowl. This record would later be broken the next season, in 2017, when the Patriots advanced to their ninth Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl LI.
The Broncos took an early lead in Super Bowl 50 and never trailed. Denver recorded seven sacks and forced four turnovers. Carolina likewise kept pace by recording five sacks and forcing two turnovers. Denver linebacker Von Miller was named Super Bowl MVP. This game was also the final game of Peyton Manning's career; the Broncos quarterback, who also won Super Bowl XLI, announced his retirement in March 2016.
CBS' broadcast of the game was the third most-watched program in American television history with an average of 111.9 million viewers. The network charged an average of $5 million for a 30-second commercial during the game. It remains the highest-rated program in the history of CBS. The Super Bowl 50 halftime show was headlined by Coldplay, with special guest performers Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.
For the third straight season, the number one seeds in the NFC and AFC, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, met in the Super Bowl. The game also featured the league's top scoring offense (Panthers) against the league's top defense (Broncos). The Panthers became the 10th team since 1960 to have lost just one game during the regular season, and the sixth team ever to have a 15–1 record. It was their second Super Bowl appearance; the other was Super Bowl XXXVIII. The Broncos became the fourth team to have eight Super Bowl appearances. It was their second appearance in three years, having also reached Super Bowl XLVIII. Coincidentally, John Fox was the head coach of each team in their previous Super Bowl appearance.
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