Inside Super Bowl 50

Written by :
Published on : February 14, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Sunday, February 7th 2016
11:37 am

Today, the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl will feature the Denver Broncos taking on the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. And I’m on my way there.

 

 

12:45pm lobby call

Police escorts ride on motorcycles between cars, shutting off the flow of traffic so that we can get to the stadium in good time. We’ve been rehearsing on the field all week but security is super tight. Our badges can be held up to a scanner that lets you on to the field and other secured areas. Walking in past the first security checkpoint presents a crazy landscape of people: Paparazzi with huge cameras, Military personnel with AK-47s and ticketless fans with lawn chairs for the sidewalk.

 

Heading back towards my dressing room, the scenery settles. So much so that right outside the Queen’s dressing room, Jay-Z sits on a cement picnic table bobbing his head to the Fugees… “One time… Two times..”

 

I’m doing the Super Bowl. Again.

 

 

1:30pm

I am currently standing on the field. Seats are pretty empty, we’re still two hours ahead of kick off. I call my mom. “Turn on CBS. Can you see me? I can see their studio but it’s pretty far from me.”

 

This is my second Pepsi halftime show and is already a lot different. For one thing, it’s 75 and sunny. Far from the brisk 50 degrees we were thankful to get two years ago (earlier that week, New Jersey was only offering 12 degrees to rehearse in.) I’ve got my backpack, with a football and a sharpie at all times. Never know who you’re gonna run into. It’s a good thing I bought my ball days ago, this line at the NFL shop is crazy and they are out of footballs. We have an NFL escort that gets us in and out quick, much to the disdain of a Panthers fan.

 

It’s 2:01, kick off is 3:30 and I’m trying to get a few things done: football signed, see some of the game without a ticket and get some better pictures of the field. Gaga’s coming down the hall. I smile, she smiles. Saw someone I knew walking to the field to watch Lady Gaga sing – perfect. Jumped on the bandwagon and with the help of an escort, now I’m back on the field. There’s Olivia Munn, which means that… Yep, Aaron Rodgers right behind her.

 

They’re announcing MVPs from every Super Bowl. Of course everyone loves Joe Montana here. Brady walks out and the whole stadium boos. It’s 3:15.  There goes Jerry Rice.

 

The teams come running out. Panthers first then Broncos. Didn’t dawn on me that I’m on the sideline, now right behind the Panthers bench. Behind me is James Harden and Trevor Ariza, in seats.
The crowd seems to be mostly orange with splotches of neon blue. They are chanting something intelligible but stop for a great arrangement of “America the Beautiful.”

 


 

Oh right, Gaga. She’s great, and the navy flies right over my head. As soon as that’s over, the sideline starts to scurry. I know I’m about to get kicked out. Rather than get kicked out of the stadium, I decide to quit while I’m ahead. Get to the tunnel and find a pocket to hide in, long enough to see the kickoff of Super Bowl 50. Security says I can’t stand there, so I watch the first Broncos play walking backward. Scan out.

 

I head back out of the stadium to my dressing room tent, cops are on watch and listening to the game on radios. I can hear cheering, something good must be happening. 3:45, or an hour ’til showtime.

 

I shuffle through Beyonce’s dance army as they rehearse and into our dressing room. I watch the game on a TV while getting dressed for the show: Versace leather shirt. Versace leather pants. Versace chains. Versace sunglasses. Tall black socks. Nike shoes. Broncos up 3-0, that must’ve been what I heard when I was walking. I had cut it close standing on the field and now I’m dressed just in time to head into stadium. Gotta be close to the end of the first quarter.

 

Miles and me.
Miles and me.

 

Walking through these halls in all leather commands a little bit of attention. In the stadium dressing room now, monitor engineer Ramone puts my “ears” on me (molded in ear headphones) and my head set mic. Add that to this black leather and I’m feeling pretty ’90s right about now. There’s a tv in the hallway. 10-0, Broncos. 4:48 in the first. Miles the Bronco and I snap a quick pic. Beyoncé rides up on a chariot golf cart to applause from her dancers. Now, we wait. Game’s on, stand around, practice dance moves. The hallway smells. I check my watch. It’s 4:20.

 

My main view of the game.
My main view of the game.

 

4:35pm

Everybody comes out for a group prayer.

Wait more.

Wait more. Time is slowing down.

 

4:42pm

No nerves in the tunnel.  10 minutes to showtime.
No nerves in the tunnel. 10 minutes to showtime.

 

Walk to the tunnel.

Wait in the tunnel. So much waiting.

 

Halftime

This is the third time out on the field. Stage has been pushed together. We keep getting shuffled around because crowd is coming in and ground dancers are getting set. At this event, even the audience on the ground is cast, and everyone stands in the same spot every time.  Which means I’ve been smiling at the same strangers in the same spot everyday at rehearsal.  Coldplay and kids kick off the show and I have about 7 minutes to stand and take in the half time show. Pyro. Screaming. All I can do is look up at the stage, out to the 70,000 (?) people and in all directions to try and take in as much of this as I can. It’s a careful balance because I don’t want the only thought I remember to be “remember this moment.” I hand my cell phone to Andy (my friend and guitar tech) who offers to take pictures while we’re on stage.

 

IMG_4521

 

IMG_4554

 

Coldplay’s halfway through their 3rd song. Time to get set. I walk up onto the stage and it’s time for the muscle memory to take over. Just about anyone I can think of is more than likely looking at a TV screen right now. Mark Ronson scratches us in. This feels slow, that’s how you know your adrenaline is high. The rest of the performance is a flash and it’s over before you know it.

 

Doing these kind of events is like your birthday – you hear from everyone. Facebook is booming, Instagram is jamming, texts keep coming and Hi-Fives are flying. “How was it? Has anyone found a video yet?”

 

The hard work is over and seems to have paid off. Let’s check back into the checklist:

Get on the field for a little of the game – Check.

Get signatures from everyone we played with. Right… Sharpie in my pocket, everybody’s in the dressing room and I’m good to go. Two years ago when we did this the first time, I had the idea to buy a football and ask everyone I performed with to sign it. This year is the same, but lots of signatures to get. Managed to get just about everyone. Cool. This will go along with the football from 2014 and guitars from both performances in a home memorabilia installation from the heavens.

 

Not my football, but one I had access to in the meantime.
Not my football, but one I had access to in the meantime.

 

I head back to the hotel. My fiancé and I catch up on all of these stories and we head out to an after party. I got to meet and work with so many great people over the last few weeks and it is great to finally be able to just hang out and talk or share a drink. Hope everyone enjoyed the game and performances, this is another year I’ve had to watch them through replay and with good reason. Scan out.

 

 


How John Elway Revamped the Broncos and Built a Champion

Written by :
Published on : February 12, 2016

 

 

 

The two Broncos teams that appeared in Super Bowl 50 and Super Bowl XLVIII may have had many of the same players, but they were very different teams. Two years ago Peyton Manning and the offense had one of the most prolific units in recent memory, and they got demolished in the Super Bowl, by a score of 43-8. The Seahawks team that put such a hurting on them boasted a stifling defense that brought down the hammer on the NFL’s most high-flying offense. It was a battle of number one vs number one, and defense won in a big way.

 

The Broncos’ executive vice president and general manager seemingly took note of that Seahawks defense because just two years later, they used a nasty, attacking defense to put a hurt on the Carolina Panthers. Super Bowl 50 was once again the battle of a top offense and a top defense and the result was the same. In football, as in life, you must always be adapting in order to survive. In just two years, John Elway transformed the entire identity of his franchise, from head coach down, in order to not only survive but thrive, and win the greatest prize in all of sports. Here’s how it went down….

 

Shoring up the Defense

 Ward and Ware were two monster free agent pick ups.

 

After that crushing Super Bowl XLVIII defeat at the hands of the Seahawks defense, John Elway made it a point to fix the defense the following offseason. He added not one, but three, lynchpin type players to the Broncos defensive unit during free agency, in pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib, and safety TJ Ward. He also added first round cornerback Bradley Roby in the draft that year.

 

With an almost completely overhauled secondary and a potential hall of famer rushing opposing QBs along with a still improving but not-as-yet-godlike Von Miller, the Broncos had almost completely remade that part of their team. John Elway saw what the best teams in the league were doing in order to reach the next level and successfully emulated that. He should be given a ton of credit for the work he did in building that defense, but he wasn’t quite yet done with his overhaul of the team.

 

A New Coaching Regime

 Gary Kubiak did it!

 

Following the Broncos 24-13 divisional round playoff loss to the Colts last year, John Elway and former head coach John Fox decided that it would be best for coach Fox and the Broncos to mutually part ways. Elway was clearly not pleased by another year without advancing past the divisional round (in three of four years in Denver they had lost in that round), and felt that he find someone else to take them over the top. What a ballsy move that was. John Fox had 46-18 record in his four seasons in Denver and had taken them to the playoffs every year, including a Super Bowl appearance! I, for one, thought that the move to fire John Fox was bat shit crazy, but I was wrong.

 

John Elway brought in his old pal from back in the day, Gary Kubiak. This was another move that left me scratching my head. I never really thought of Gary Kubiak as a bad coach, but I certainly didn’t see him as a Super Bowl winning head coach. He had a 61-64 regular season record and 2-2 playoff record in his previous NFL stint with the Texans, and never seemed to me to be someone who was able to get the most out of the talent on his team. I was wrong about that, my bad. With the help of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips they turned this Denver Broncos team into a defensive powerhouse that took the pressure off of the offense and controlled games all season long.

 

A Change in Offensive Philosophy

 By focusing on the run game, the Broncos minimized mistakes and let the defense take control.

 

It became clear in 2014 that the world would never get the Peyton Manning that they knew and loved back. The Peyton we were left with was a shadow of his former self. Years of injuries and normal wear and tear had left his arm strength severely inhibited, and that was not only obvious to opposing defenses but also to the untrained eyes of fans all over the world. In 2015 we watched Peyton Manning fall apart before us. He was still dealing with injuries as always but it was becoming obvious that he couldn’t play through it like a younger version of himself could. It was his worst statistical season since his rookie year and it seemed as though he was still trying to do too much with the limited physical abilities that years in the league had left him with.

 

In the third quarter of the Broncos week 10 loss the Chiefs, Manning was replaced by Brock Osweiler. He didn’t see the field again until he replaced Osweiler in the third quarter of the Broncos week 17 matchup. Peyton came in and led the team to a 27-20 victory against the Chargers, helping secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. But this was not the same Peyton Manning. He had bought into the system and was no longer trying to do too much. By allowing the run game to become the focal point of the offense, Manning minimized the mistakes that had plagued him earlier in the season. As a result the defense became the standard bearer of the Broncos Super Bowl run and everything came together perfectly.

 

The Von Miller Effect

 The MVP.

 

Every champion needs an x-factor and for the AFC Championship and Super Bowl the Broncos had Von Miller. Through those two games, he destroyed the opposition and was unblockable. Against New England and Carolina he racked up 11 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, an interception and 2 forced fumbles. The fumble he forced against Cam Newton in the Super Bowl was recovered for a touchdown and helped the Broncos grab momentum early on. He was the most versatile player on the field; he rushed the passer, played the run and covered tight ends and receivers in the pass game. There was no other player as deserving of winning the Super Bowl MVP Award and now the Broncos better pay him his due this offseason.

 

 

It only took the Broncos two years to return to the Super Bowl but when they did they were a totally different team. John Elway had a vision for the team he wanted to build and deserves a lot of credit, along with the player and coaches, for executing that vision and creating a champion.

 

 


5 Things To Do Now that Football is Over

Written by :
Published on : February 11, 2016

 

 

The Super Bowl has come and gone. All we have left is half a bag of Doritos and a hangover that won’t go away. So now what? It’s months ’till the draft and you got to spend your time doing something. Here is a little help for those of us who need to fill a void in our lives. These are the top 5 things to do now that football is over for the season.

 

1. Catch up on your social calendar

brunch

 

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t worked a shift or had a non-football related meal or hangout for the last 20 Sundays. Now that the weekends are open, I can finally meet up since there is suddenly free time. First order of business is take the girlfriend out for some brunch. Maybe see that new movie or actually visit that buddy you always ditch. If you are feeling extra charitable, go see that pal’s improv show or band. The main point here is you need to stockpile brownie points now before football starts up again. This is an important part of the offseason. You need to put in some work on these relationships or risk losing them all together. I suggest going to the events that serve drinks. Makes it a lot easier.

 

2. Get into the NBA

GSW
The Golden State Crew

 

The league is in a pretty good spot right now. You have big stars like Kobe on their farewell tour before retirement, LeBron’s quest to win Cleveland a championship as well as the Golden State Warriors, who are chasing down history for the best single season record ever. Pair that with tons of young talent all over the place and it is easy to see why most games have something fun to offer, even if it isn’t a marquee matchup. This is a great chance to jump into the game, as we are past the half way point of the NBA year and the action is really starting to ramp up.

 

3. Do your taxes

Taxes

 

Your employer should have sent your W-2 out. If not, please contact management. Collect all the necessary papers and get ready to file your return.  I used to do my own taxes using one of those sites, that was fine for super simple situations but I recently switched and started going to a legit CPA. Way worth it. What you pay the accountant is nothing compared to how much they can help you get back. There are tons of little tips and tricks that only the pros are privy to. Be smart, go to someone who knows what’s up. And I don’t mean one of those pop-up strip mall locations either.

 

4. Get into the NHL

 

Not a hockey fan? Why not? It’s fast and violent just like football but with harder names to pronounce. And like basketball, this is an excellent time to get involved. The playoff race is pretty tight coming out of the All-Star break. Currently, 24 of 30 teams are over .500, so almost anyone can get in. Find a squad and start cheering. Oh yeah, they still allow fighting.

 

5. Get back into Pogs

 

They are back. Stop trying to resist the invasion. If you are still in the dark then go back and follow the link to my old article. If you know and are still on the fence then I say stop being such a coward and let’s do this thing. Get your Slammer and meet me at the park. I’ll bring the Mountain Dew.

 

I hope this helps your NFL withdrawal. You want to come down easy and not crash. If you crash, that is when people get really hurt.

 

Pogs.

 

 


I Didn’t See That Coming: A Recap of Super Bowl 50

Written by :
Published on : February 9, 2016

 

Well damn, I was way off. I had the Carolina Panthers winning by 14 points in my picks but it was the Denver Broncos who came out two touchdowns ahead in Super Bowl 50. It wasn’t a barn burner but we got to see the best defenses in the league do their thing. Not one touchdown pass, but sacks, picks and turnovers became the new cheering points. It was actually kind of refreshing to watch old, bruising football, the traditional way. Here are some quick thoughts on the big game.

 

Cam Newton is still the man

 

There are a lot of haters out there and they pick apart everything the guy does. Cam didn’t have much to say to the press after the loss but I can understand. He was upset. He really wanted to win and he doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions about it. Newton shook hands with other players after the game because he respects his opponents and that’s what I think is more important. This dude is a stud and he will be back in the Super Bowl soon and he will probably win it the next time. So don’t feel bad for him.

 

The Halftime Show

 

Some folks favorite part. Bruno Mars came in and rocked the place. That’s SBS writer Phred in the top right playing guitar. Yup, ScoreBoredSports reppin at the Super Bowl. I dig the outfits too. Can’t argue with black and gold. Then Beyonce arrived. Wow. B killed it. And she wore the hell out of that Michael Jackson looking number.

 

 

Oh yeah, Cold Play was there too. But let’s skip ahead to the second half action.

 

Peyton Manning gets his second ring

 

Peyton did just enough to help the team win. Mostly handing the ball to C.J. Anderson and throwing for a massive 141 yards. He did connect with Emmanuel Sanders six times for 83 critical yards. He now has as many rings as little brother Eli. And with that, balance is restored to the Manning household. Daddy Archie may even let Peyton carve the turkey this next Thanksgiving. All jokes aside, Peyton has had a great career. I’m sure the whole Manning squad will be enjoying this one for a long while. Free Papa Johns for everyone!

 

Von Miller and the defense

 

The MVP was all over the field and all over quarterback Cam Newton. His speed off the line is unstoppable. Miller made Brady’s life hell last game and he did the same thing here. There doesn’t seem to be a offensive tackle that can keep up. Von leads a brutal unit that has carried the Broncos all year. I was rooting for Carolina but it’s hard to be mad at guys like Miller and Ware. They really earned it. Hats off.

 

It was a good game, a we had an excellent party and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. The only sad part is now football is over. But hey, only 79 days till the NFL Draft. April 28th can’t come soon enough.

 

 

Happy Football Christmas everyone!

 

 


Super Bowl: The Greatest American Holiday

Written by :
Published on : February 7, 2016

 

The moment we have waited a year for is finally upon us. Today is Super Bowl 50, featuring the Caroline Panthers and Denver Broncos, and that means that we get to celebrate my favorite holiday. That’s right, I consider the Super Bowl my favorite holiday. Some people like Christmas, or Halloween or even Thanksgiving, but for me the Super Bowl has always been more fun and than all of those put together. You get food, excitement, surprises and sports, all in one commercially saturated, corporate sponsored package!

 

I’m especially excited for today’s game because of some of the great storylines we are going to get to see unfold before our eyes. First off, these are two of the top defenses in the league which means that this game should be a competitive one. The Panthers have annihilated the competition in these playoffs so far with stellar performances by their offense, defense and special teams. I have to believe that they are definitely the more well-rounded team, but one thing that the Broncos have on their side is that defensive line. They are straight up nasty and if Von Miller can explode off of the line like he did against the Patriots then I think he could have the single biggest impact of any player in the game.

 

 Von Miller was all over Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game.

 

Another great storyline of today’s Super Bowl 50 matchup is the battle of these two quarterbacks. The are both highly skilled players but they couldn’t come off any more different. On one side you have Cam Newton, who ended the regular season putting up some ridiculous stats and hasn’t slowed down in the playoffs. He was also awarded the NFL MVP Award yesterday, which really has to irk all those closet racists out there who call him a “thug” and a showoff for his celebrations and in-game swagger. That stuff really pisses me off because it’s kind of a double standard, especially when you consider that no one bats an eye at Aaron Rodgers’ dumb ass “discount double check” garbage, but all those people will have to eat crow if Cam pulls this one off.

 

 Cam dab’d his was to Super Bowl 50.

 

Opposite the newly anointed MVP, is someone who represents the old guard in the NFL, future hall of famer, Peyton Manning. The former MVP, is a shadow of his former self these days, as he has lost considerable arm strength due to neck surgeries and injuries and was even benched for performance reasons earlier this season. It’s seem like during these playoffs has has really bought into coach Kubiak’s system though. He is no longer trying to play like his old self, but has accepted his limitations and because of that, the offense led by the running game has excelled. Although it is not yet official, it looks like this will be Peyton’s “last rodeo” and that makes him all the more dangerous, despite what his body has to say about it.

 

 After the AFC Championship, Peyton Manning was overheard telling Bill Belichick that this might be his last rodeo.

 

This has the makings of an all time Super Bowl classic and these teams are about to put it all on the line as they battle each other in the biggest game in all of sports. So make sure you don’t blackout by halftime because this really is the best holiday and you don’t want to miss a second of it. Would you pass out before opening your presents on Christmas or before eating the turkey on Thanksgiving? Maybe if you were an idiot, but you’re not. So go get another plate of BBQ or a few more chicken wings and strap in, ‘cuz this year’s Super Bowl is about to be one wild ride.

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Super Bowl

Written by :
Published on : February 4, 2016

 

 

 

Super Bowl 50 is nearly upon us. All I can see in my head is Ace Ventura whispering those magic words that the game is almost here. I love it all: the food, the commercials, the half time show. And sometimes the game is even fun. Not two years ago though. Seattle killed Denver from the first snap. That was one the most lopsided contests I’ve seen in a while. Well maybe the Panthers ripping the Cardinals in the NFC Championship was close a second. Never send a bird to do a cat’s job. Back to the main event. What time is it Ace?

 

 

 

We have the epic showdown of the Denver Broncos versus the Carolina Panthers. A clash of new and old. Cam Newton versus Peyton Manning. The Panthers look solid and seem poised to bring a trophy back to Charlotte. And I like how the Panthers decided to let South Carolina also have a NFL team by cutting the word “North” from their name. That was sweet of them to include their weird little brother. One the other side, we have Peyton. Most would say the greater Manning even if he has less rings than his weird little brother, Eli. That can all change February 7th, 2016.

 

Going into the the big game, we have a three way tie with in the picks with Ryan, Treasure and yours truly. To ensure we don’t end tied, we have each writer also guess the final score. If we are still even, then closest score without going over will be named champ. Standard Price is Right rules. I have the Panthers winning big. I think Cam and the boys will be able to run and that will open up chunk plays through the air or scrambling when the pocket breaks down. Denver’s defense looked great against a one dimensional Patriots offense but that won’t be the same case against Carolina. If I win the playoff picks, I promise to take my girlfriend out to a fancy dinner. Doesn’t that sound nice. Go me!

 

Here is ScoreBoredSports staff picks for the Super Bowl:

 

Super Bowl

 

Wow, everyone has the Panthers winning. I didn’t see that coming. I hope they win so we don’t all look like fools. More importantly, I hope they win by 14 points. Also, no one tell Peyton. It might crush him to find out that no one at SBS thinks he can win even with that killer defense.

 

Conference Championships

Divisional Round

Wild Card

 

And don’t forget about our party we are hosting here in Los Angeles.

 

SB50Flyer

 

 

 


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