SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The history of the NFL has been on full display in the Bay Area for the entirety of Super Bowl week, with Hall of Famers thrilling fans as they walk up and down Radio Row and the annual Hall of Fame election.
And the NFL capitalized on the Super Bowl’s 50th anniversary by bringing back nearly every living Super Bowl MVP to be recognized on the field during pregame ceremonies and then watch the game together.
Five of those MVPs have Louisiana ties: Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, former Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
With Peyton Manning minutes away from making his fourth start in the Super Bowl, the stadium announced the legendary quarterback’s name, then flipped to a live shot of Manning sitting in front of his locker, and the Broncos-heavy crowd in Levi’s Stadium responded with one of the night’s loudest ovations.
But the moment also served as a showcase for the game’s former greats.
“Love seeing my dad get honored for his accomplishments!” Williams’ daughter, Jasmine, tweeted.
In January, Sean Payton said he can’t see himself coaching any team other than the New Orleans Saints.
If he ever decides to hang it up, Payton might have a future in the broadcast studio. Two weeks after serving as a guest analyst on ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown Show, Payton offered his analysis from the sidelines of Levi’s Stadium as part of the CBS pregame coverage.
Payton obviously brings extensive knowledge of the Carolina Panthers, but as he did before the conference championship games, the Saints coach also offered an evaluation counter to most of the pregame talk by focusing on the defenses.
One thing Payton won’t do, though, is make a prediction. New Orleans faces both Carolina and Denver next season, and Payton refrained from making a prediction on the game’s outcome.
“I’m smarter than that,” Payton said.
From the sidelines
Former Tulane cornerbacks Lorenzo Doss and Taurean Nixon entered Super Bowl week knowing they might not get a chance to play.
The Denver rookies have played in a combined six games this season — all by Doss — and the Broncos entered the game with the entire 53-man roster available. Doss and Nixon have treated this season as a learning opportunity behind the Broncos’ deep trio of Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby.
In the end, neither Doss nor Nixon got a shot. Denver made both cornerbacks inactive for Sunday, ensuring that they did not see action.
Issues with the turf forced both Denver and Carolina to change cleats. ... 49ers legend Joe Montana handled the coin flip without incident, taking over normal duties from referee Clete Blakeman, who handled the infamous coin flip in overtime of the Arizona-Green Bay playoff game where the coin did not flip, forcing him to flip the coin again. ... Reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry, who grew up in Charlotte as a rabid Panthers fan and frequently wears a No. 30 Carolina jersey with his own last name on it, earned the pregame honors of banging the Panthers’ “Keep Pounding” drum.