Peyton Manning factor makes Super Bowl huge for Carolina Panthers’ Josh Norman
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sunday's Super Bowl showdown with the Denver Broncos is a huge blessing for Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman as he eyes the prospect of trying to shut down his childhood idol, Peyton Manning.Norman, drafted by the Panther...
SAN FRANCISCO - Sunday's Super Bowl showdown with the Denver Broncos is a huge blessing for Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman as he eyes the prospect of trying to shut down his childhood idol, Peyton Manning.
Norman, drafted by the Panthers in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, played college football at Coastal Carolina where he became an ardent fan of the Indianapolis Colts and their then quarterback Manning.
"Ever since 1999, 2000, I've been a Colts fan," Norman, who is considered one of the best cover corners in the league, said while preparing for his first taste of the Super Bowl.
"The guy was just unbelievable at what he did. He had the weapons, (former Colts wide receivers) Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley, (former Colts tight end) Dallas Clark."
Manning, a 39-year-old future Hall of Famer who led the Colts to the NFL title in the 2006 season, is considering retirement after playing in his fourth Super Bowl on Sunday, making the showdown ever more special for Norman.
"Oh man, it's blessings upon blessings," said the 28-year-old Norman, who established a lofty reputation of shutting down top receivers this season to earn his first Pro Bowl selection.
"I couldn't have asked for a better game,” Norman said. “I couldn't have asked for a better opponent. I couldn't have asked for a better player in the biggest game of my life. Playing against a guy like that is - I'm speechless."
Asked about the prospect of getting an interception off Manning, Norman replied: "Man, that would be huge. That would be everything I've worked for.
"Just to get an interception off a guy like that who will go down as an all-time great is just unbelievable. I can't even describe it. I'll just do my best and try to contain myself and not get a personal foul because I'll probably get so excited, I might do something stupid," added Norman, who came away with four interceptions during the 2015 season.
The Panthers, who booked their place in Sunday's Super Bowl with a 49-15 rout of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC title game, are looking to register their first championship in 21 seasons as an NFL franchise.