Super Bowl 50: Can Cardinals or Panthers win their first Lombardi?

The AFC teams getting ready to do battle on Championship Sunday (New England and Denver) have paraded several Lombardis down the streets. But both NFC teams (Arizona and Carolina) are looking to capture football's ultimate prize for the first time in the histories of their respective franchises.

Regardless of which teams win this weekend, Super Bowl 50 will feature one of each: a former winner vs. a team the title has eluded. The Patriots are 4-4 in Super Bowl games, the Broncos are 2-5 and the Cardinals and Panthers are both 0-1 in the big game.

With history on the line for all four teams, will a first-time champion win the Super Bowl in February?

I think the Panthers have a great chance to win. They are the most balanced team and have the probable MVP in Cam Newton. In the last 23 games, Carolina has only lost two. When you win that many games, your confidence is sky high. You just believe you're going to win every game no matter who the opponent is. These Panthers will ride that confidence to the top. The Patriots will win the Super Bowl because of Tom Brady. As long as Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski are as healthy as they were in the Divisional Round, that offense can't be stopped by anybody. It doesn't matter how good a defense is -- those guys are playing at such a high level together. I think both NFC teams have the ability to win. They have different styles, but they are both effective. Teams win Super Bowls with their defense and run game, and Carolina and Arizona have had success with both. Also, Arizona's deep pass and aggressive pass defense play great against the Patriots or Broncos. I feel like when the Patriots make it this far, history tells us you can't bet against them. There's a lot of inexperience in the NFC, and there's a lot of experience and wisdom in the AFC. At this time of year in the conference championship games and Super Bowl, it's about guys who've done it, not guys who want to do it. It's likely that the Patriots will win in the AFC Championship Game. I don't think that either NFC team can keep up with New England's weapons when they are going face to face. With Arizona losing Tyrann Mathieu and Carolina losing Charles Tillman, both of those teams would get outscored by Brady and the Patriots. If the Panthers get to the Super Bowl, they will win. If Arizona wins the NFC Championship Game, I think the AFC team will win. Carolina matches up better with the AFC teams than Arizona does. The Panthers' physical defense will help them win the team's first Super Bowl. The NFC has two teams that score a lot of points and pack a defense, and both are playing well right now. I think we need to wait and see which teams will be in the Super Bowl -- to see what the matchups are -- before we decide if there's a good possibility of a first-time winner. When you think you know it all, you still don't know. Who would've thought that Carolina was going to jump on Seattle 31-0 in the first half? Nobody saw that coming. It's hard to predict.

One thing that will factor in is Super Bowl experience. It is one thing winning a playoff game, it's another winning the Super Bowl. A lot of players get caught up in the experience -- and not the game -- when it's their first trip there. The teams that have been in the Super Bowl definitely have the advantage, but either team has a chance.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Purchase single game tickets for the 2022 season