BBTB Super Bowl 50 Drinking Game

super-bowl-50-fs

Photo Credit: wbtw.com

By Jason Sharpe

Disclaimer: Prior to reading, Bring Back the Buzz encourages you to please drink responsibly.

Let’s face it: You’re going to be drinking during Super Bowl 50, so you might as well make a game of it to do your part for the Panthers off-the-field as the players take care of business on-the-field. All the tackles, touchdowns, commentator banter, and spicy food you will eat while watching Super Bowl 50 are surefire ways to make you thirsty. Without further ado, here are some rules and mentions to abide by during Super Bowl 50 to make the unofficial holiest national holiday even more enjoyable with a drink in your hand.

  1. The Golden Rule: No talking during commercials. If you speak during a commercial, you must chug your beverage for the duration of the following commercial. It’s probably best to keep an “on deck” beer just incase you run out during penance.
  2. Whenever you hear Peyton Manning say “Omaha” in a snap count, take one sip per “Omaha,” per down.
  3. In the original Super Bowl in 1967, the Green Bay Packers were coach to victory by Vince Lombardi. Any time the legendary coach’s name is mentioned (including the championship trophy named for him), take one sip.
  4. Whenever the “Golden Anniversary” of the Super Bowl is mentioned, take one sip.
  5. Whenever “Old” vs. “New” school quarterbacks regarding Peyton Manning and Cam Newton is mentioned, take one sip.
  6. Whenever you are reminded, “This the first Super Bowl where both starting QBs are No. 1 overall draft picks,” take one sip.
  7. Whenever you hear, “Remember: There has to be indisputable video evidence to overturn the call on the field,” take one sip.
  8. Anytime Cam Newton signals a first-down by his signature “point downfield,” take a three-second sip.
  9. If Cam Newton leaves his feat to literally “Superman” into the end zone, finish your drink and then take a shot.
  10. Anytime Cam Newton enters the end zone for six points, finish your drink.
  11. Anytime any Panthers player enacts the routine “Sunday Giveaway” with a football from a recently scored touchdown, take a ten-second sip. Because, the Panthers just scored a touched, and because you wish you were that kid that just received a Super Bowl touchdown football.
  12. Anytime Mike Tolbert does a ridiculous dance, take a five-second sip. If he does this after scoring a touchdown, skip the sip and proceed to taking one shot.
  13. Anytime Kelvin Benjamin’s season-ending injury is mentioned and/or he is shown on the sidelines, take one sip.
  14. Anytime Devin Funchess’ contributions as a rookie to make up for the lack of Kelvin Benjamin’s presence on-the-field is mentioned, take one sip.
  15. If Ted Ginn Jr. catches a touchdown, take one shot.
  16. Anytime Panthers’ offensive tackle Michael Oher is mentioned regarding “The Blind Side” or how his lackluster career turned around with the Panthers, take one sip.
  17. Anytime Panthers’ offensive tackle Michael Oher’s adopted parents are shown, take one sip.
  18. Anytime you see Greg Olsen referenced as “Third Leg Greg” on Twitter, take one sip.
  19. Whenever Luke Kuechly makes a play and the inevitable “Luuuuuuuuuuke” cheer echoes across Levi’s Stadium, drink for the duration of the cheer.
  20. If Luke Kuechly returns an interception for a touchdown, finish your drink.
  21. Whenever you are reminded that Thomas Davis recovered from three ACL tears over the course of his career to get to this point, take one sip.
  22. Whenever you are reminded that Thomas Davis is playing with a broken arm, take one sip.
  23. Whenever Josh Norman’s matchup with Odell Beckham Jr. is mentioned, take one sip.
  24. Anytime a Panthers’ defensive player intercepts Peyton Manning, take a ten-second sip.
  25. Anytime the Panthers’ defense sacks Peyton Manning, take a three-second sip.
  26. If Ted Ginn Jr. returns a kick for a touchdown, take a shot.
  27. Whenever “Ohio State” or “The Buckeyes” are mentioned, take one sip. (Ohio State University is the most represented college in Super Bowl 50, with Bradley Roby suited up for the Broncos and Ted Ginn Jr., Kurt Coleman, Philly Brown and Andrew Norwell suited up for the Panthers).
  28. Whenever Cam Newton’s recent fatherhood is mentioned, take one sip.
  29. Whenever Peyton Manning’s HGH scandal is referenced, take one shot. The figurative shot you take represents the literal shot.
  30. Whenever Von Miller’s previous suspensions are mentioned, take one sip.
  31. Whenever Broncos punter Britton Colquitt steps onto the field, take a four-second sip. (Britton Colquitt comes from a long line of NFL punters. His father Craig won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His uncle Jimmy punted for Seattle. His brother Dustin is the current punter for the Kansas City Chiefs). The four-second sip is one second for each Colquitt punter.
  32. Whenever you see either teams’ mascots, take one sip. (Denver has two mascots: Thunder, a purebred Arabian horse, and Miles, the plush horse, while Carolina has Sir Purr.
    *You must “heehaw” if it is the Broncos’ mascots or “meow” if it is the Panthers’).
  33. “The Dab”
    • Anytime any Panthers’ player dabs, take one sip.
    • If the dabber is Cam Newton, take a three-second sip.
    • If owner Jerry Richardson hits the dab, take a five-second sip
    • If a Broncos’ player dabs, pour a sip out for the haters.
  34. “Take a sip” whenever you hear the following references in regards to Peyton Manning:
    • “Legacy”
    • “Football IQ”
    • “Neck surgery”
    • “Last rodeo”
    • “The Sheriff”
    • Any reference to possible retirement.
  35. “Take a sip” whenever you hear the following references in regards to Cam Newton:
    • “Dabbing”
    • “Controversial or any other synonym”
    • “Plays with a chip on his shoulder”
    • “Fueled by the critics”
    • “Silence the critics”
    • “New face of the league”
    • “Redefining the quarterback position”
  36. “Take a sip” whenever CBS shows footage of:
    • The Golden Gate Bridge
    • Alcatraz
    • “The Painted Ladies” houses
    • Lombard Street, descending Russian Hill
    • Transamerica Pyramid building, including cityscape shots
    • Demaryius Thomas’ mom
    • Archie Manning and Eli Manning in their luxury box
    • Gary Kubiak as a Broncos player
    • Ron Rivera in Super Bowl 20 with the Bears or anytime with the ’85 Bears
    • Panthers owner Jerry Richardson
  37. Take a sip every time you yawn during Coldplay’s halftime performance.
  38. If the Panthers win Super Bowl 50, Bring Back the Buzz encourages you to start playing by your own rules.

High Stakes Offensive Shootout: NFC Championship Preview: Cardinals at Panthers

nfc-championship-game-arizona-cardinals-vs-carolina-panthers

Photo Credit: CalvinAyre.com

By Jason Sharpe

After their nail-bitter NFC Division Round victory – the closest embodiment of the “Cardiac Cats” nickname I’ve ever witnessed – the NFC top-seeded Panthers host the second-seeded NFC Division Round-winning Cardinals on Sunday at 6:40 P.M. with the NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line

CHARLOTTE N.C. – The Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals have not met on the field since the NFC Wildcard Round of the playoffs last season. The Panthers were able to eek out a victory over the Cardinals with a dominant second half, riding a third quarter comeback and a fourth quarter defensive stand to grind out a 27-16 win in and all-around sloppy game by both teams. Thinking back on the game, it was more like watching a preseason game than a postseason game. Yes, both teams played that bad. However, the postseason matchup between the Panthers and the Cardinals is different. The NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl are on the line.

Coming off a nail-bitter victory in the NFC Division Round, the NFC top-seeded Panthers host the second-seeded NFC Division Round-winning Cardinals at The Bank for the NFC Championship. Last week’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks was the most nerve-racking and unprecedented 31-0 lead at halftime football game ever I’ve ever seen. But the “Cardiac Cats” pulled it out, and that’s all that matters. According to Yahoo! Sports writer @jaybusbee, Cam Newton summed up the second half of the game, saying, “There were lots of players with their butts tight. Coaches with their butts tight. Fans with their butts tight. But we kept playing.” One of my good friends from college, @jamberg_,whom I spent many hours talking sports whilst working on the editorial board to churn out two copies of “The Appalachian” per week, offered his own take on Newton’s quote, saying, “My butt could’ve produced diamonds from coal.” Myself, and probably most Panthers fans, can identify with Jake’s commentary.

The “Cardiac Cats” can’t show up to The Bank on Sunday like they did last week. If the offense is held to scoring no second half points, the Cardinals will win the NFC Championship and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. However, I expect things to be a very different this week. Both teams will be running out onto the field with a chip on their shoulder. The Panthers are still trying to prove themselves, as many people still doubt them, including the Cardinals and their fans. It just absolutely baffles me why there is still doubt and disdain among many NFL analysts and fans, given their historic season and their current position in this year’s postseason. The Cardinals will come onto the field with a different chip on their shoulder, looking to avenge their loss and dismissal from last year’s postseason at the hands of the Panthers in the NFC Wildcard Round. This game is important to both teams, for very obvious reasons, and it will be an all-out offensive dogfight through the air.

To sum up what to look for in this matchup, be ready for an offensive shootout. The Panthers and Cardinals are the two top-scoring teams in the NFL this season, and both set franchise scoring records. The difference in this game will come down to matching opponents’ scoring drives and clock management while putting together scoring drives. The key to an NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl for both teams are their quarterbacks – whether or not Newton or Carson Palmer can handle the pressure. Pressure being both when forced out of the pocket – having to read the field while scrambling and make a good decision on the fly – and the pressure of time, remaining cool, calm and collective until the clock hits 0:00 in the fourth quarter.

Keys To The Game

Panthers:
1. Limit turnovers. No turnovers would be nice. Any opportunity gifted to the Cardinals’ offense often ends up with points on the scoreboard.
2. Set the offensive tone early. Mix up offensive play calling from the get-go to establish the ground game. Very simple, the Panthers must be able to pick up yards by grinding it out in the trenches. Look for the Panthers to try and established the run game via read option plays, which has constantly kept opposing defenses guessing, which Jonathan Stewart and company have taken advantage of when Cam Newton lets them keep the ball and find the hole for the medium to long gain on the ground. With the Cardinals’ defense expected to blitz on most plays to put pressure on Newton, the Panthers can take advantage of this via read option plays, keeping the Cardinals’ defense guessing.
3. The Panthers must hand the ball off to Jonathan Stewart often – specifically on the opening offensive drive – to establish his confidence. We saw the result of that after his 59-yard pickup on the first snap of the NFC Division Round last week, as he made the Seahawks’ defense look silly throughout the first half.
4. Pick up the blitz. The Cardinals blitz more than any team in the NFL. They are confident in their man-to-man coverage. I argue they are overconfident. The Cardinals can either live or dye by blitzing on Sunday. If the Panthers’ offensive line can pick up the blitz, they can create opportunities for big plays downfield.
5. The defense must break through the offensive line, on every play. The Panthers’ defense must use their pass-rushing prowess to break through Cardinals’ offensive line, wearing them down over the course of the game, which will lead to less protection and force Palmer to make off-balanced pass attempts.
6. The “X Factor” – force Palmer out of the pocket. Palmer is not a scrambling quarterback. Also, get to Palmer quickly in the pocket. He is surprisingly mobile while under pressure in the pocket, and is good at creating more time for himself. He can be very dangerous if he can find ways to create a few extra seconds to look downfield to find one of many talented receivers the Cardinals possess to come back, adjust to the ball and make the catch. If he has the extra second to step into his throws, the Panthers’ secondary will have their hands full.

Cardinals
1. Generate turnovers. Specifically, force Cam Newton out of the pocket for him to make a split-second decision when throwing on the run. Newton has used better judgment this season when the pocket collapses on pass plays and he is forced to scramble and/or throw on the run. However, there is still the chance that Newton will try to force a big play in a tightly covered area, which has historically led to interceptions.
2. Stop the Panthers on third down, specifically on third and long pass plays when Newton sees nothing down field, and decides to tuck it and run. During these situations, Newton has been a huge factor this season for the Panthers to continue drives in close games.
3. Be able to contain Newton on when the pocket collapses and he makes the decision to tuck and run. The Cardinals must be able to bring Newton down, and at 6’5” and 245 lbs, he is larger than a majority of players on the Cardinals’ roster. The Cardinals’ defense must be able to quickly wrap up and tackle him.
4.Blitz, but be able to quickly sniff out and adjust to the read option plays, and shut them down. Newton and Jonathan Stewart and company have become extremely synchronized in running the read option. When they establish the ground game early through Newton handing the ball of to the running backs in the read option, it normally leads to medium to long yards gained on the ground. A “QB/RB Spy” must be incorporated in most defensive plays to achieve this.
5. Fully utilize Patrick Peterson on special teams and on defense coverage. He is one of the most dangerous kick returners and cornerbacks in the NFL.
6. The “X Factor” – the offensive line must give Palmer time in the pocket to utilize has cannon of an arm. With the many talented receivers the Cardinals’ possess, Palmer must have the time to look down field. Given the Panthers’ injury-plagued secondary, Palmer must have the extra few seconds to find the open receiver or read the defense to create a play through the air for one of the Cardinals’ wide receivers. If the offensive line can achieve this, Palmer will be able to pick apart the Panthers’ secondary all day.

Sharpe Shooter: Bring on the Patriots

 

IMG_2478

original image via Charlotte Observer

Opinion: If the Panthers win the NFC Championship and advance to Super Bowl 50, I want to see the Patriots on the opposite side of the football

CHARLOTTE N.C. – Being the first opinion piece in my column for Bring Back The Buzz, let me breakdown what to expect in this piece, and in future opinion pieces. My column is titled “Sharpe Shooter.” It’s a play on words, referencing my last name. It also alludes to the fact that I have a low tolerance for bullshit…I have a very blunt and straightforward personality. I don’t sugarcoat anything, especially when I have an opinion on something. So without further ado, let me shoot it to you straight: Bring on the Patriots.

With the NFC Championship game on Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals at The Bank, the team and the fans’ primary focus is obviously on the task at hand: Winning the game and securing our second trip to the Super Bowl in franchise history. Without a victory on Sunday, the next step in this historic season isn’t possible. However, diehard Panthers fans can’t help but focus on what is on the backburner: The AFC Championship game, with the winner being our opponent if we advance to the Super Bowl. Myself included, many Panthers fans would like to see the Patriots win the AFC Championship, so if we punch our ticket to Super Bowl 50, we have an instant-classic rematch of Super Bowl 38 – something that still haunts us all 13 years later.

After conducting a Twitter poll, 56 percent of fans that voted wanted to see the Panthers face off against the Patriots. Honestly, I was very surprised at statistic. I predicted a ballpark number around a 70 percent to 30 percent range, in favor of fans wanting the Patriots to be our potential opponent. After the Patriots received a slim percentage of being the favored opponent among fans, I conducted a second Twitter poll. With Patriots vs. Panthers being the matchup that more fans desired, I had to ask the question: Why? Fifty-four percent of voters wanted revenge from Super Bowl 38. Eight percent of voters wanted to dethrone the reigning Super Bowl champions. Thirty-four percent of voters responded to both aforementioned reasons. Personally, I identify with the latter group of voters. I want revenge and to dethrone the reigning champions, as well as to knock the Patriots off the pedestal they’ve been put on since Super Bowl 36. As follower @alexiariggins stated in a reply to the poll, she wants revenge, and argued, “to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.” While I have some strong feelings about the Patriots being “the best,” there is no denying they have been the most successful franchise since the turn of the millennium.

I agree with the voters and the vast majority of Panthers fans: I want revenge. I want to dethrone the reigning Super Bowl champions. Times are changing in the NFL. While a few franchises around the league – including the Panthers – have built a successful, winning platform to ride for the foreseeable future, the Patriots are on the decline. They are doing anything – and everything – to try and keep up (insert references to scandals over the years). Losing Super Bowl 38 to the Patriots still haunts me. The drive down the field leading up to the game-tying touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme to Ricky Proehl with 1:08 left on the clock in the fourth quarter is still one of my favorite on the field moments in franchise history. However, I still feel heartbreak when thinking about the following John Kasay out-of-bounds kickoff, giving the Patriots the perfect field position to set up Adam Vinatieri for the game-winning field goal – which I still hold as the most devastating moment as a fan of any of my sports teams. I still ponder what could’ve happened in overtime.

However, we cannot dwell on Super Bowl 38 forever. We can’t change the past, but we certainly have control over our future. The team is in the driver’s seat to tack the exclamation point onto this historic season. I feel like it is destiny. The team and the fans need to channel our memories and heartbreak from Super Bowl 38 into fuel for a possible matchup versus the Patriots. This is our year. To cap off this historic season, nothing would make a potential Super Bowl victory even sweeter than if it were to be a win over the Patriots. We want the Patriots. I want the Patriots. I have a gut feeling that this is fate, with fate being on our side 13 years later.

 

 

Familiar Fowl Foe: NFC Division Round Preview: Seahawks at Panthers

camvrussell

By Jason Sharpe

After a bye-week of rest and preparation, the NFC top-seeded Panthers host the NFC Wildcard Round-winning Seahawks on Sunday at 1:05 P.M.

CHARLOTTE N.C. – The NFC Division Round matchup for the Carolina Panthers will be one that NFL fans have seen a lot the past few seasons, and one that fans just can’t seem to get enough of. It’s almost like the two teams are fated to clash on the field, specifically in playoff games.

The Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks already faced off on Oct. 18 in Week Six of the regular season in Seattle, where the “Cardiac Cats” grinded out a narrow 27-23 victory. Now the two teams meet again for the second time this year, and for the sixth time in the past four seasons, including last season’s NFC Division Round 31-17 loss in Seattle. Prior to the Week Six victory, the Panthers had not beaten the Seahawks the prior four times they’ve met on the field over the past four seasons.

Fresh off a playoff bye-week, the NFC top-seeded Panthers host the NFC Wildcard Round-winning Seahawks, with a trip to the NFC Championship Round on the line. Both teams will be running out onto the field at Bank of America Stadium with a chip on their shoulder. The Seahawks look to avenge their fourth quarter defensive meltdown during Week Six, while the Panthers look to reverse the outcome of last year’s NFC Division Round 31-17 blowout loss attributed to turnovers, and continue their historic season into the next round of the playoffs.

Headed into the week leading up to Sunday, the “X Factor” of the game was whether or not the Seahawks’ highly touted running back, Marshawn Lynch, would be dressed out and ready to play. Lynch ruled himself out of the NFC Wildcard Round versus the Minnesota Vikings, saying that “he just didn’t feel like he had it” coming off abdominal surgery on Nov. 25 and not having played in a game since. Lynch has been practicing with the Seahawks all week, but it was still up in the air heading into the end of the week whether he would be on the field for Sunday’s game. However, we got our answer shortly after midnight Friday on the east coast. According to ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, who asked Lynch about his status for Sunday’s game, the Seahawks running back replied early Friday morning with two words: “I’m ready.” With Lynch set to suit up on Sunday, the Panthers now have two days to incorporate Lynch’s presence into their defensive approach.

To sum up what to look for in this matchup, be ready for a close, defensive game. The game will come down to the battle for yards on the ground, as well as mistakes leading to a few big plays, which will make the difference in the outcome.

Keys To The Game

Panthers:
1. Limit turnovers. No turnovers would be nice. Any opportunity gifted to the Seahawks’ offense often ends up with points on the scoreboard.
2. Establish the ground game early. Very simple, the Panthers must be able to pick up yards by grinding it out in the trenches. Look for the Panthers to try and established the run game early via read option plays, which has constantly kept opposing defenses guessing, which Jonathan Stewart and company have taken advantage of when Cam Newton lets them keep the ball and find the hole for the medium to long gain on the ground.
3. Pick apart the “Legion of Boom” via quick short to medium completions and by spreading the zone. The Seahawks rely heavily on their secondary, who normally play man-to-man or cover three. The Seahawks tend to be overconfident in their man-to-man coverage, so quick completions for short gains out of the slot will be key to keep the drive alive, and win the game on the clock in regards to time of possession. If the Panthers desire to go deep, they must be strategic in the huddle. They must be able to sell a run or short pass at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line must hold the pocket to give Newton time to throw, and the receivers must coordinate being able to spread the secondary when they drop back into cover three. This will hopefully lead to one or two receivers gaining a step on whoever is covering them once the switch to the zone is made, leading to an opportunity for a big gain through the air.
4. Contain Russell Wilson, inside and outside of the pocket. The Panthers’ defense must break through what has seemingly been a weaker Seahawks’ offensive line this year and force Wilson to throw off-balanced on the run, without giving him the opportunity to scramble for yardage. A “QB Spy” must be incorporated in most defensive plays to achieve this. Look for Luke Kuechly to be the man assigned this job.
5. The “X Factor” – shutdown Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks’ running attack. With the aforementioned weaker Seahawks’ offensive line, the Panthers’ defensive line must be able to quickly shed their blocks and close up the holes for Lynch. The linebackers must be able to quickly recognize the run and rush to whatever hole Lynch tries to rumble through.

Seahawks:
1. Generate turnovers. Specifically, force Cam Newton out of the pocket for him to make a split-second decision when throwing on the run. Newton has used better judgment this season when the pocket collapses on pass plays and he is forced to scramble and/or throw on the run. However, there is still the chance that Newton will try to force a big play in a tightly covered area, which has historically led to interceptions.
2. Third Down. Stop the Panthers on third down, specifically on third and long pass plays when Newton sees nothing down field, and decides to tuck it and run. During these situations, Newton has been a huge factor this season for the Panthers to continue drives in close games.
3. Shutdown Greg Olsen. When the Seahawks faced the Panthers in Week Six, Olsen had a day against the secondary, with seven receptions for 131 yards and one touchdown. Olsen is arguably Newton’s go-to receiver, and the secondary must adjust to cover and shutdown Olsen, as they have had trouble facing opponents’ with receiving tight ends heavily incorporated into their offenses this season.
4. Shutdown the read option plays. Newton and Jonathan Stewart and company have become extremely synchronized in running the read option. When they establish the ground game early through Newton handing the ball of to the running backs in the read option, it normally leads to medium to long yards gained on the ground. This is where the Seahawks’ defensive line comes in. On paper, they outmatch the Panthers’ offensive line, and must be able to immediately recognize when the running back gets the ball on a read option play, adjust, shed the block and make the quick tackle.
5. Wear down the Panthers’ defense. To do this, the Seahawks must mix up their play calling while running a hurry-up offense. Marshawn Lynch must be able to take control of the ground game by running hard up the middle to wear out the defensive line and linebackers trying to stop the run. By running a hurry-up offense and mixing up play calling, the Panthers’ linebackers and secondary will not only grow tired by being forced to switch on the fly to either the run or pass defense, but being constantly kept off guard will wear down the defense mentally.