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Mitch's Sports Report: Sour Grapes Over Orange Crush

Matt York
Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning holding the Super Bowl 50 trophy after the Broncos 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Well, I guess if you like defense, Super Bowl 50 was a thrill ride. If you happen to like Denver's defense, it was spellbinding entertainment, and if you're everyone else, the Broncos 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers had, let's face it, all the drama of a week 7 game between two teams with mediocre records.

Full disclosure, of course, I'm still annoyed that the New England Patriots were not representing the AFC in this one. I still believe if Bill Belichick and company hadn't decided to see how far their phantom running game could go by treating the Miami Dolphins as a science experiment in the final week of the season in an effort to "stay healthy" going into the playoffs, they'd have hosted Peyton Manning at Foxboro for the AFC Title game and THAT would have been Manning's final game instead of last night's contest that lets him ride off into the sunset (we assume) tied with Brett Favre as the winningest quarterback of all time, an even 200 victories notched into his belt. What would have been the value of having one future Hall-of-Famer in Brady playing last night instead of another in Manning?

Well, just like Super Bowl 50 itself, it wouldn't have been about the quarterbacks. It would have been a more exciting game, though, because while the Patriots defense is good, it's not Von Miller good.

The MVP of Super Bowl 50 proved that the Broncos really did deserve to be there, my protestations notwithstanding, by once again being the same unstoppable force that harassed and pounded Tom Brady into the turf in the AFC championship, doing the same to a far more nimble and mobile quarterback in Cam Newton who - despite his running prowess - had no chance against the vaunted Denver defensive line.

That's true especially of Miller, who didn't just sack the league's MVP twice, but stripped the ball from his grasp in the process, resulting in a touchdown early in the game, and setting up a "this one's over" TD late in the fourth quarter when it was still a one-score game (albeit one that felt like it had been over since around the time Beyoncé out-danced Bruno during the half time show).

Newton tasted turf six times in this game. Ted Ginn Jr. was sacked once as well when the Panthers tried a trick play because nothing else was working, and the seven Denver sacks ties a Super Bowl record. The Broncos get their third franchise championship, coach Gary Kubiak his first. So all I'm saying is that if the Pats had been the opponent, this one would have been closer.

Maybe it would have come down to a field goal try by one team or the other to decide it, or a patented Tom Brady 2-minute warning drive to try for the win. Instead, we got a game that lacked for offense on either side, and great as Peyton Manning has been in his career, let's be honest, back-up Brock Osweiler could have been the one taking snaps last night - maybe even the lead singer from Coldplay - and Von Miller and DaMarcus Ware still would have been the reasons Denver won.

So, yes, I'm spewing some sour grapes this morning about it, but even if you're not a Patriots fan like yours truly, even if you have the kind of seething dislike for Tom Brady most people reserve for waiting in line at the DMV, I ask you to join me in an alternate universe for a moment in which you had a chance to root against TB-12 and the Hoodie Wizard last night, wanting desperately to keep them from claiming a record fifth Super Bowl ring, and watching what probably would have been a closer and more competitive game.

Wouldn't it have generated more chatter this morning about the game itself than why a #puppybabymonkey was advertising soda? I'd like to think so.

One result from mens' college basketball yesterday, the Middlebury Panthers went on a 7-0 run with about 2 1/2 minutes to go to break a 67-all tie and go on to beat Bowdoin 78-69 at Pepin Gym ... Matt St. Amour led the Panthers with 26 points, and the win improves Middlebury to 14-8 overall and 6-2 in NESCAC play, and also into a second-place tie with Amherst in the conference.

And finally, some ski news: UVM took second place to Dartmouth College at the UVM Carvnival held at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center on Sunday. The Big Green captured the carnival win with 972 points. Vermont finished in second, with 912, and New Hampshire came in third with 723.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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