Manning to face Newton in Super Bowl
Carolina Panthers, led by quarterback Cam Newton and a defence that forced seven turnovers, mauled the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 to set up a Super Bowl 50 showdown against Denver Broncos.
Newton ran for two scores and threw for two more to set off a party in Charlotte as the Panthers reached the showpiece event, to be held in Santa Clara on February 7.
Denver, with veteran Peyton Manning to the fore, edged out defending champions New England Patriots 20-18 for the AFC title.
Manning, who at 39 will replace Broncos legend John Elway as the oldest quarterback to play in a Super Bowl, will now go head to head with 26-year-old Newton in a battle of the old versus the new generations.
"Oh, wow, playing 'The Sheriff'," Newton said of the prospect. "We came out here and fought our tails off, and we did what a lot of people said we couldn't do."
Carolina scored the first three times they touched the ball in racing to a 17-0 lead and led 24-7 at half-time. Three more interceptions of beleaguered quarterback Carson Palmer and cool execution by Newton turned the NFC title game into a rout.
Denver's victory was not settled until Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby picked off Tom Brady's pass on a two-point attempt that would have tied the game with 12 seconds left. The Broncos recovered New England's ensuing onside kick and the celebrations began.