INDIANAPOLIS – For the second time in three years, the Colts will have played both Super Bowl participants in the regular season.
Today, we throw together a bunch of Super Bowl 50 connections for the Colts.
- Broncos/Colts connections: QB-Peyton Manningwas selected by the Colts with the first overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft. From 1998-2010, Manning led the Colts to eight division championships, two AFC championships and one Super Bowl championship (Super Bowl XLI). Colts CB-Vontae Davisand Broncos TE-Vernon Davisare brothers.
- Panthers/Colts connections: Carolina DT-Kawann Shortis a native of East Chicago, IN and played his collegiate ball at Purdue from 2009-2012. Panthers CB-Teddy Williamsspent part of his rookie season with the Colts in 2012. Carolina DE-Mario Addisonspent time with the Colts in 2011. Rob Chudzinskispent two seasons (2011-12) as the offensive coordinator in Carolina. Panthers Wide Receivers Coach Ricky Proehlplayed 17 seasons in the NFL and finished his playing career as a World Champion with the Colts in 2006, when Indianapolis beat Chicago 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI. Carolina Special Teams Coordinator Russ Purnellspent seven seasons (2002-08) in the same capacity in Indianapolis.
- Cam Newton's offensive coordinator his first two NFL seasons was Rob Chudzinski. Newton still holds Chud in high regard for those early seasons of development. The Charlotte Observer had this story with Chud talking about Newton leading the Panthers to Super Bowl 50: "He's a gamer. You're talking about a rookie quarterback coming in and doing that right away, there was no stage too big for him."
- Last week, Sports Illustrated's Andrew Brandt brought up a great point in how Andrew Luck has shaped the Panthers and Broncos. If Luck had left Stanford in 2011, he very likely would have gone No. 1 overall to Carolina (instead of Newton). Of course that would have impacted Peyton Manning's time in Indianapolis ending the next season. The Broncos took leading sacker Von Miller No. 2 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
- Earlier this year when the Colts and Panthers squared off in Week Eight, Matt Hasselbeck had a great comment on Cam Newton. From observing Newton this year in playing the NFC South, Hasselbeck had extremely high praise for what Newton does for the Panthers offense: "They ask Cam to do more than probably any other quarterback in the league. It's probably one of the more exciting offenses to play scout team for."
- Some great nuggets in this MMQB story on Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson winning an NFL Championship with the Baltimore Colts in 1959. Richardson caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Unitas in the title game. The story explains how Richardson used his Super Bowl bonus money to enter the restaurant business, and eventually buy the Panthers.
- Really enjoyed this New York Post piece with Colts cornerback Darius Butler breaking down Super Bowl 50. Of course, Butler played against both teams this year and had the game-clinching pick against the Broncos. Who is Butler choosing to win Super Bowl 50?
- This from Andrew Mason: the Broncos have won an NFL-record 11 games by seven points or fewer this season. The last time a Super Bowl team had at least nine of those wins was the 2006 Colts.
- Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak is the first head coach to make the Super Bowl in his first season as a team's head coach since Jim Caldwell in 2009.
- Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator when the Colts and Bears squared off in Super Bowl XLI.