Panthers, Broncos have spirited final practices before Super Bowl
STANFORD, Calif. - The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers wrapped up preparations for Super Bowl 50 with spirited practices Friday with nearly perfect performances from Peyton Manning and Cam Newton.
Both quarterbacks missed just one pass against their scout teams, Newton's coming on the last play of the Panthers' 90-minute practice in San Jose.
All 53 players on both teams participated in their final practices before Saturday's walkthroughs and team photos at Levi's Stadium.
''It's been a good week,'' Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. ''It's been a good two weeks, really. You see they're ready. They may be a little mentally tired, just a little bit. They need to go rest for a couple of days and get ready to cut it loose Sunday.''
As is their custom, the Broncos took the field at Stanford Stadium about 90 minutes earlier than they did Wednesday and Thursday and ran their full script of plays, a condensed version of what they do on Thursdays.
Manning, 39, was strong again, hitting Demaryius Thomas with a deep pass as Naughty by Nature's ''O.P.P.'' blared on the speakers used to simulate crowd noise. His backup, Brock Osweiler, also threw an impressive TD pass on a rope to wide receiver Cody Latimer.
The Panthers also piped in music to the fields adjacent to Spartan Stadium at San Jose State University, and their stretching session was livened up when Bankroll Fresh's ''Walked In'' blared.
''There's usually one session during the week when they are over the top,'' Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. ''The biggest key was that the last song was their `dab' song.''
The Panthers' spirited personality was on full display throughout the 90-minute, non-contact practice. Their energy level rose during each of the past three days, something Rivera said was typical for his 17-1 team.
''That's the one thing we've seen,'' Rivera said. ''We've seen that build-up. That has been true every week, with the exception of one.''
At the end of practice, Newton assembled the team for another display of Panthers personality - an impromptu team picture.
Rather than saying cheese, it was ''Dab on three!''
''It's who they are,'' Rivera said.
At the end of the Broncos' practice, as has become his Friday custom, Kubiak gathered the team and spoke to them for a minute, then had defensive backs coach Joe Woods talk. ''That's become a good tradition,'' Kubiak said. ''He's a good coach and always has a good message.''
Kubiak has changed a lot of things from two years ago when the Broncos reached the Super Bowl under John Fox and were blown out by Seattle. Fox didn't have the noise turned up at practice and also had his team switch hotels on the eve of the game.
The Broncos are staying put this time instead of heading to a more secluded hotel.
''I've done it both ways, staying at the hotel, and moving the night before,'' Kubiak said.
''We're comfortable where we're at. We know where the meeting rooms are. We know where can hide. Plus, I like guys instead of just being in the rooms and staring at the mirror having the opportunity to see their moms and dads and families.''