SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco 49er legend and four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana sees this year’s Super Bowl match-up as a game of contrasts — Carolina’s running game versus the Denver Broncos defense and a showdown between a wily veteran in Payton Manning and a brash young quarterback in Cam Newton.

Montana talked to KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell about the teams facing off at Super Bowl 50 during the station’s ‘Countdown To Gold’ special Monday.

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With the 39-year-old Manning leading the Broncos against 26-year-old upstart Cam Newton and the Panthers, you couldn’t have more contrasting teams.

“When you look at their statistics, Carolina is a running team,” explained Montana. “And it’s not just Cam running. They put the ground a lot, and that’s a little bit different than what the rest of the teams in the NFL are doing.”

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The Panthers run the ball 47 percent of their plays from scrimmage, more than any other team in the NFL.

O’Donnell also asked Montana about his memories from 1982 as a third-year player taking on 10-year veteran Ken Anderson and the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI and how he thought Newton would withstand the pressure.

Montana went 4-0 in Super Bowls, winning in the title at the end of the 1981, ’84, ’88 and ’89 seasons.

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“The hardest part isn’t really stepping onto the field. It’s the four or five days leading up to the game when everybody shows up in town. Thank God for Jennifer!” Joe laughed, giving a nod to his wife of 30 years who was with him for the 1984, 1988 and 1989 games. “She took all the pressure off of me. She really let me study and practice throughout the week.”

“Once he [Newton] gets to the game, he will be fine,” Montana continued. “It’s just all the distractions that lead up to it that really get the guys who are going there for the first time. But the way they look, they’re a pretty loose team. I don’t think they’ll have an issue.”

As far as Manning being able to lead the Broncos despite an arm that has weakened as he approaches 40, Montana said he would need to provide Denver’s tenacious defense with a bit more support.

“I think one of the things that he has to do is they’re going to have to score a few more points,” said Montana. “I know they’ve got a great defense. But one of the things I saw with Peyton is — and he appears to be healthy – but where I saw the lack of strength this time was in his throws along the sidelines. More so on go routes down the sidelines. Most of the balls were a little under thrown.”

However, when pressed to pick which team he thought would win Super Bowl 50, Montana was a little hesitant before he committed.

“If this is Peyton’s last game, it would be nice to see him win going out,” said Montana. “But I think Carolina is on one of those rolls right now where it is just going to be tough to beat them.”


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