Super Bowl 50: An Interview with Neil Reynolds

1st February 2016

With Super Bowl 50 fast approaching, we were fortunate to speak to Sky Sports NFL’s Neil Reynolds, who took time out of his busy schedule to speak to us, for a quick Q&A.

Q: What is your key to the game, what could be the difference maker?
A: The key to this Super Bowl is going to be how effectively Denver can get to Cam Newton and how well he is protected by Carolina’s offensive line. The Broncos got to Tom Brady time and again in the AFC Championship Game and he gets the ball out much faster than Newton, who takes more five and seven-step drops behind maximum protection up front. If the Panthers invest seven blockers in protecting Cam and still get beaten up front, it could have a massive outcome on this Super Bowl.

Q: How do you see both defences, would you say Denver’s is on par with Seattle a few years ago?
A: I would say that Denver have one of the most dominant defences in recent NFL history but would still give that Seattle unit from a couple of years ago the edge. But this is a special Denver defence that is very good at all three levels. And they are masterfully overseen by Wade Phillips. It is going to take quite a game plan to thwart and control Cam Newton but if anyone can pull it off, Wade would be that guy.

Carolina’s defence is also elite and their ability to take the football away has been key all season long but that skill is magnified in the post-season. That pressure right up the gut from Kawann Short must have Peyton feeling slightly nervous. The Panthers are banged up on that side of the ball and will have some of the shine taken off the defence if Thomas Davis cannot perform at his usual level due to his broken arm.

Q: What do Denver need to do to win this game?
A: Peyton and the offense need to avoid turnovers as they have done in the past two playoff games and the running game simply has to be better than it has been for much of the season. Defensively, the Broncos need another dominant display and if they can get home with four, they have that ability to drop lots of defenders into coverage and even to spy Cam and negate his threat as a runner. There are quite a few ‘ifs’ when it comes to Denver winning this Super Bowl but it was the same in the AFC title game and they got the job done.

Q: If this is Peyton Manning’s last game, should Denver stick with Brock next season, or do you think they should possibly draft a QB for insurance?
A: I think this will be and should be Peyton’s last game. I really don’t mean that disrespectfully and I took a lot of heat from Broncos fans in the playoffs when I said he should be benched for the AFC Championship Game. No one respects the history of this game more than me and I recognise what a special player Peyton has been. But I think he is a declining physical force and the only reason you would start him over Brock Osweiler is for his ability to recognise defences at the line of scrimmage.

If I took the name and number off the back of his shirt, you would watch film of Peyton and most likely not be that impressed. So I do indeed think this is Peyton’s “last rodeo” and I think that is the right move from him and for the Broncos.

And yes, I would give Osweiler a shot and I think he did okay in relief of Manning. In fact, he was hard done by to lose his job in Week 17 because a lot of those turnovers against San Diego were not his fault. I think he has a promising future and would like to see him with a full season of action under his belt.

Q: What do you think is the most important thing for the NFL in the UK now? Would more games possibly around Europe be a good option to help? Ireland Germany perhaps?

A: For now, I think the NFL is building momentum in the UK and has several world class stadium options in London. So any additional games coming to these shores are likely to be played in London. If and when a game is added to Germany, that would not be at the expense of London – that would be an addition to the international calendar. The NFL is building historic momentum in London and the UK and will want to concentrate on fan growth in that area in the coming years, in my opinion.

A big thanks to Neil for answering our questions. Enjoy Super Bowl week!

Interview by

Michael McQuaid



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