If you think this Sunday’s Super Bowl rivalry is all about East Coast vs. West Coast, think again. All eyes are on Denver Broncos’ quarterback, Peyton Manning, and Carolina Panthers’ quarterback, Cam Newton, as they square off in Super Bowl 50.
These two offense stars have quite an age difference (think 39 vs. 26 – a 13 year, 48 day gap to be exact). One – a Super Bowl seasoned veteran, the other – a charismatic, Super Bowl first-timer. But it’s their Southern roots and SEC football past that bring these quarterbacks on more common ground.
Southern-born himself, Peyton Manning hails from New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, Archie Manning, was a legend at Ole Miss and a beloved New Orleans Saint, and he could very well be considered Southern royalty. It’s also no secret that Peyton’s childhood home is a pit stop for many tourists. The Archie Manning House is on the map of New Orleans’ Garden District Tour, a must-see for people wanting to catch a glimpse of the home of such a family dynasty.
Going on to play for the Tennessee Volunteers, Peyton proved his own collegiate Southern fame. He was indisputably the core player of the team, and there’s no doubt Tennessee still runs through his blood. During this week’s Super Bowl Media Night, Peyton honored his alma mater.
“It’s been fun to play with a group of guys with the same alma mater. All of us are proud to represent the University. Being a Vol For Life means a great deal.”
If you didn’t know already, Cam’s claim to fame was when he grabbed the National Championship “W” for the Auburn Tigers in 2011. This Atlanta, Georgia native is also this year’s big game newcomer. Renowned for his arsenal of abilities, Cam is by no means subtle when it comes to showing off his Southern style and spirit on the field.
Comparing the Panthers to a pot of collard greens at a post-game conference, Cam detailed how the Panthers made it into Sunday’s match up.
“It was a process. It wasn’t going to be instant grits, quick grits. It was going to be a process like long cooked collard greens. And I think those collard greens are brewing right now. You can smell it from a mile away.”
And his signature touchdown dance? That’s borrowed from an Atlanta rap group, Migos. If you’re ever at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, you’ll see Cam’s charm shine when he hands over his touchdown footballs to eager young Panthers fans in the stands.
So whoever you’re rooting for Sunday night, be sure to remember that these are two quarterbacks with undeniable Southern roots. A North Carolinian myself, I will be dabbing right along with Cam. But I can rest assured that the South sure does raise football superstars, and right now, these two are in the country’s spotlight.