The Real Winners and Losers of Super Bowl 50

Another Super Bowl has come and gone. Though Super Bowl 50 was an enjoyable game, it was certainly not one of the best performances for the Panthers or the Broncos. Neither team performed at championship levels. The highlight for which it’s remembered may be that it was Peyton Manning’s last NFL game.


As happens with most major sporting events, there were many winners and losers in Super Bowl 50. From the players and teams to the advertisers, Las Vegas, and even Wall Street, there are multiple levels of active and side line participants who are affected by the final score.


Winner: Among the winners was Peyton Manning himself. Manning did not have a particularly stellar year. Many fans felt he was done. Five weeks into the season in a game against Kansas City, Manning threw four interceptions, had a passing rating of 0, and was replaced by Brook Osweiler, Denver’s backup quarterback. Though Osweiler was doing reasonably well with a 5-2 record, in the Bronco’s final regular season game, he threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball. He was replaced in the third quarter by Manning. That made it possible for Manning to reclaim Denver’s starting quarterback spot and he didn’t disappoint. He took the team through the playoffs, including a nail-biter win over arch rival New England Patriots, to win the Super Bowl. Manning currently holds or is tied for more records than any other quarterback in NFL history including:


  • Most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards: 14 (1999–2004, 2006–2010, 2012–2014)
  • Only QB with at least 4, 5, and 6 touchdown passes in three games
  • Most passing yards in a season: 5,477 (2013)
  • First quarterback in history to win the Super Bowl playing for two different teams
  • Most games with at least 400 yards passing and no interceptions: 6
  • Most touchdown passes in a season: 55 (2013)
  • Only QB with at least 6 touchdown passes and no interceptions in three games
  • Most career wins by a quarterback: 200

If Manning retires now, he goes out on top, a champion who holds close to 200 collegiate, NFL, Indianapolis Colt, and Denver Bronco records. The NFL Hall of Fame is probably already holding a spot for him.


Loser: Cam Newton, a University of Florida standout, was drafted by Carolina after winning the Heisman and Maxwell trophies. No slacker himself, Newton has already set or tied 38 NFL records in his first five years as an NFL player. Normally flamboyant and extremely outgoing, he lost more than just the Super Bowl. At a press conference after the game, Newton looked totally dejected and refused to answer any questions. After sitting silently for several minutes, he stood up and walked away, without uttering a word. Needless to say, the sports media was quite unhappy with young Mr. Newton. Hopefully, as he matures, Newton will be able to face a devastating loss like this with a bit more maturity.


Winner: Von Miller was drafted second overall by the Broncos in 2011, the same year as Newton. Miller has had some memorable moments in his relatively short career. In 2015, he became the third fastest player ever to reach 50 sacks in the NFL. In the Broncos AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, Miller was credited with 2.5 sacks against Tom Brady, setting a Broncos playoff record. In Super Bowl 50, Miller earned the Most Valuable Player award for his six tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two quarterback hurries. In addition, he forced Cam Newton to fumble in the fourth quarter which was instrumental in helping Denver win the game. His MVP award was well deserved.


Additional Von Miller winners:  Many gamblers in Las Vegas were winners in part due to Von Miller’s performance. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, the odds of Miller winning the MVP were as high as 60 to 1. At game time, the odds had dropped to 15 to 1 which was still enough to cause a couple casino owners a bit of heart burn. It was the first year Las Vegas sport books could accept wagers for MVP and, as MGM VP Jay Rood, exclaimed it would take ten years for the casino to see a return on its investment as a result of offering that bet.


There were also many additional winners and losers off the field for Super Bowl 50:


Winner: The line in Las Vegas was for the Panthers to win by six points. Though the total is unofficial, gambling officials in the resort estimate that between $120 million and $130 million was bet in the casino sports books of the gambling mecca. The split in betting was 51% for Carolina and 49% in favor of Denver. Because the betting was so close, the payout was not as big as it could have been, but Las Vegas still came out the winner. Independent betting house, William Hill/Las Vegas, won on a single bet of over $623,000 wagered on the Panthers and the Flamingo Hotel Casino made $300,000 on a single losing bet placed on the Panthers.


Loser (Potential): The Denver Broncos victory could have a losing effect on Wall Street this year. The American Football League (AFL) was started in 1960 and consisted of eight franchises including the Denver Broncos. The AFL merged with the National Football League in 1969, two years after the first Super Bowl. In the early 70’s, a Wall Street broker, Robert Stovall, developed a theory that whenever an original AFL team won the Super Bowl, the stock market tumbled that year.  As wacky as his idea seemed to be, time has proven him right. In the last 49 years, his theory on market movement has been correct 40 times for an 82% accuracy rating. And between 2009 and 2014, it has been 100% on target.


Winners and losers: Super Bowl advertisers paid $5 million for 30-second spots this year. For some companies that’s pocket change and for others it’s their ad budget for the next ten years. So it would seem companies spending that kind of money would not be too happy with one advertiser getting free advertising during the broadcast. But that’s exactly what happened. After winning the game, Peyton was shown giving a kiss to a very recognizable John Schnatter, founder, CEO, and spokesman for Papa John’s Pizza. In addition to doing commercials for Papa John’s, Manning owns 20+ franchises in the Denver area. While being interviewed postgame, Manning was asked what his plans were for later that evening. His answer was, among other things, having a couple Budweisers. Later in the interview, he repeated the same mantra. Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser’s parent company, stated they were delighted though they had no part in Manning’s comments. On the other hand, Manning owns an interest in two Anheuser-Busch distributors. The two comments by Manning are perceived to be worth over $3 million to Budweiser. The advertising winners were Budweiser and Papa John’s. The losers were every other company that paid $5 million for a 30-second spot and was not mentioned by Manning. Active NFL players are not permitted to endorse any alcoholic product so maybe this is an indication that Manning is going to retire. And maybe become a spokesman for Budweiser.


With Super Bowl 51, or LI if they go back to Roman numerals, already less than a year away, it won’t take long before speculation begins about what teams will battle in that face off. My thoughts are that Peyton Manning will not be on the field regardless of whether Denver repeats its run or not. But, I do think Manning’s face will be seen during the broadcast, hustling for Papa John’s, Nationwide Insurance, Buick, or even Budweiser. Whether playing football or not, Peyton Manning will always be viewed as a winner.