Even Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning thinks Cam Newton deserves the NFL’s MVP recognition this year.
That’s what he said Monday as Super Bowl week kicked off with Media Night, a frenzy of thousands of journalists questioning Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers players and coaches about Sunday’s game and off-the-field topics.
“He’s played awesome football,” Manning said of quarterback Newton. It’s not easy to lead a team to 17 wins in a season, he added.
This year the media event was moved from Tuesday afternoon to Monday night. About 7,500 fans crammed into the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., to witness the circus that airs on the NFL Network. Tickets, which went for $29.50, sold out, according to the NFL.
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Screams from the crowd drowned out many of the responses from players and coaches throughout the evening.
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak echoed Manning’s sentiment about Newton, calling him a “big-time weapon.” His team has needed the extra time to practice for Carolina since “they’re a tough team to prepare for” and have a “very different type of offense.”
“The bottom line is, they’ve been the best football team, the most consistent football team in football this year,” Kubiak said.
Other oddities of the Broncos’ portion of the night included one reporter asking Manning about Donald Trump (Manning said he’s played a round of golf with Trump), a reporter using a puppet to ask questions, and linebacker Von Miller saying he likes Cam Newton’s flashy Versace pants.
The Panthers make their second-ever Super Bowl appearance Sunday in a matchup against the Broncos at 6:30 EST at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.