The MVP candidate threw for 335 yards with two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 49–15 rout of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. The dominant performance earned Carolina a ticket to face the top–ranked Denver defense in the Super Bowl, the Panthers’ first chance at an NFL title since losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots in 2003.
In this cover story, SI’s Austin Murphy discusses how Newton inspired a team of misfits to become the odds-on Super Bowl favorites. In the story for the second national cover, SI’s Greg Bishop writes how Denver’s defense propelled Peyton Manning to his chance at a second championship ring.
Also in this issue is Steve Rushin’s imaginative opus on Super Bowl 100, which he predicts will be a technology-enhanced, international contest held in Las Vegas with U.S. President Rob Gronkowski in attendance.
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