Years down the road when people remember Super Bowl 50, they will remember the pageantry of the game a whole lot more than the play of the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers—though they are likely to still be speaking on Cam Newton’s post-game press conference, in which the visibly dejected losing quarterback gave curt, at times dismissive responses, before proclaiming “I’m done,” and walking away from the microphone.

It was some February day for football, even by Bay Area standards. Arriving at the stadium grounds around 8:30am, the temperature was perfect—in the mid-60s. Fans travel yearly to attend the Super Bowl. Broncos fans, however, are regarded as one of the best traveling fanbases in the league. Scores of orange could be seen outside of California’s Great America, where folks were waiting to pick up their Super Bowl tickets which they purchased through online ticket resale vendor StubHub.


The football-loving masses at Levi’s Stadium. Photo by David Barclay.

StubHub rented half of the theme park as a thank you; fans picked up their tickets and were treated to vouchers which gained them access to an open bar, full buffet and the park, which had half of its rides open—including the Star Tower, which provided a birds-eye view of the scene at Levi’s Stadium from 250 feet above the ground.


View of Levi’s Stadium from inside Great America. Photo by David Barclay.


Come kickoff, the temperature had risen to a toasty 76 degrees—ideal weather for Lady Gaga’s voice apparently. Her rendition of the National Anthem was easily the best we’ve heard at a Super Bowl in some time. The Blue Angels joined in the fun, providing the traditional flyover for the game, then, it was time to play some football.


It was a beautiful day for football. Photo by David Barclay.

The Broncos’ win was most visibly a triumph of old over young. Catapulted by the league’s top-ranked defense, 39-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning, in what we are all assuming was his swan song game, threw for just 141 yards to capture his second Super Bowl title.

Cam Newton, who has become America’s most polarizing NFL character—as well as its Most Valuable Player—was hit early and often in the game. Linebacker Von Miller forced two fumbles from Newton, including one that was picked up in the endzone for a Broncos touchdown. The duo of Newton and Miller are forever linked as the men who were selected No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the 2011 draft, but with the game on the line, Miller’s 2.5 sacks in Super Bowl 50 saw him come out the better man on Sunday. Newton finished the game 18-for-41, throwing for 265 yards, with one interception.

In the end, Denver put Carolina to sleep with about three minutes remaining on the clock. Miller, haunting Newton as he’d done for the duration of the game, forced his second fumble with the Panthers backed up in their own endzone. Safety T.J. Ward then swooped in to corral the ball for Denver. After the Broncos took over on offense, running back C.J. Anderson punched it in from two yards out.

Following an ensuing two-point conversion, it was 24-10 with 3:08 to play—and Denver never looked back.


John Elway hoists the Lombardi Trophy. Photo by Huntley Paton.

In between one of the ugliest Super Bowls ever played—both teams combined for six turnovers in the game—was the coveted Pepsi Halftime Show, this year’s edition featured a trio of talent; Coldplay, Beyonce, and pop singer-songwriter Bruno Mars.

Coldplay and frontman Chris Martin got things started with a rather colorful rendition of “Viva La Vida,” but it was Knowles who stole the show. Just one day after Beyonce shocked the world with her new song and video, “Formation,” she performed the song live for the first time. Her entrance added some much-needed spice to a slow start of the halftime festivities. Like Beyonce, it was Mars’ second Super Bowl halftime performance, he added energy with “Uptown Funk,” slightly changing up the popular 2015 tune and showcasing his stellar dance moves. Beyonce followed with her all female dancers as she performed “Formation.”

Overall, the halftime show could have used much more Beyonce, and a whole lot less Coldplay.