The stage is set for Super Bowl glory as The Newsroom reviews the NFL Conference Championships
Denver Broncos win the AFC Conference Championship
In front of a packed stadium in Colorado, the Denver Broncos managed to outlast the New England Patriots 20-18 to earn their eighth Super Bowl spot. At half-time Denver were in the box seat, 17-9. Star quarterback Tom Brady found his groove after copping a pounding in the first half. Brady threw a touchdown for Rob Gronkowski to get the Patriots within two points (20-18) with only 1:30 remaining. On the next play Brady went for the three-point conversion to win but was cut short by the Broncos’ defence. That was the key for the Broncos, who constantly harassed Brady to prevent completion. It worked: Brady completed only 26 passes off 56 attempts for 310 yards. At 39 years, 40 in March, his opposite number and nemesis Peyton Manning made the the difference for Denver, throwing two touchdowns for tight-end Owen Daniels and completing 17 passes off 32 for 176 yards.
Carolina Panthers win the NFC Conference Championship
In front a packed Carolina stadium, the Panthers convincingly demolished the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 to cement their spot at Super Bowl 50. This match was one-way traffic: 24-7 by half-time, leaving the Cardinals a mountain to climb. But they went scoreless in the third quarter as the Panthers added an 10 points going into the fourth (34-7). The Cardinals managed to scramble eight points in the last but the Panthers added 15 more, rubbing salt into the wounds. The Panthers have won 17 games this season and lost only once. Cam Newton’s performance was instrumental: 19 completed passes off 28 attempts for 335 yards.
Super Bowl 50 takes place at Levi Stadium in San Francisco, on February 7 (the live broadcast will be seen in Australia on February 8). The half-time show at what will inevitably be a sell-out features British band Coldplay. – Jesse Mullens
Montage of Cam Newton and Peyton Manning from the NFL Twitter feed.