Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: With all due respect to Gary Kubiak, the Broncos' biggest coaching addition last offseason was Wade Phillips. The defensive coordinator's unit was brilliant in shutting down Cam Newton and company. The Panthers, who seemingly had a major case of stage fright, provided plenty of help and were awful. The game was awful. But take nothing away from the Broncos. It was a dominant performance.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: They say that defense wins championships, and it's hard to argue with that after the way the Broncos defense discombobulated Cam Newton and the Panthers. Denver's speed rush was just too much, and Carolina simply wilted once its aura of invincibility was punctured in the first quarter. Too many turnovers. Too few big plays by Newton and the winningest team in the NFL. Good luck and bon voyage, Peyton Manning, who will be one of the biggest postgame headlines but wasn't really the story of this game.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: What's the saying? Oh, yeah: "Defense wins championships." The Broncos offense did nothing, but Denver's defense was dominant. Wade Phillips devised a brilliant scheme, and his players executed it to perfection.
Jon Meoli, reporter: Everyone who picked Denver did so because they already had beaten way better teams with their defense during this Super Bowl run. They ended up being right. Sunday's victory was a mirror image of their win over the New England Patriots, and ends one of the oddest season in NFL history.
Mike Preston, columnist: I used to subscribe to the theory that defense win championships, but I fooled myself into thinking Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and his Carolina teammates had too much offense for Denver.
I was wrong.
I am going back to old school, back to the philosophy of the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 2000 Ravens.
I won't put Denver's defense in that class, but the Broncos brought the heat with outside linebacker Von Miller and defensive end DeMarcus Ware. The secondary coverage was pretty outstanding with cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward.
And the Broncos won without a quarterback. Please, Peyton Manning, retire. It's great that he walks off with a Super Bowl ring, but it's sad to see him perform so poorly.
As for Carolina, I really don't understand Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula. Despite the pressure, he didn't roll or sprint Newton out of the pocket. He had no draws or slant-ins ready to slow Denver's pass rush.
The Panthers looked like a team that never had been in the Super Bowl. They played tight the entire game and dropped passes. But the play I won't forget is Newton not diving for that fumble late in the game. He was a wimp. That's unforgivable. He can wear all the Superman clothes he wants, but that play spoke volumes. Truly unbelievable.
But it's over now. It was another terrible Super Bowl to watch, but at least I'm back to sound thinking again: Defense rules. I should have known better.