Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) prepares to throw as Denver Broncos' Von Miller (58) reaches in during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Von Miller and the rest of Denver's dominant defense realized the only way to ditch their doubters was to bring home the silver ball from the Golden Gate City.
There's no denying Denver now.
The Lombardi Trophy is headed back to the Mile High City, thanks to a defense that hammered Cam Newton like he'd never been hit and hounded the rest of the Carolina Panthers into bobbles, bumbles and fumbles in a 24-10 beat-down that was both epic and classic.
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The ''Orange Rush'' finished first in the NFL in sacks, yards per play, pass defense and total defense this season. But their detractors dissed them all year, dismissing all that dominance and turning them into the Rodney Dangerfield of defenses.
All anyone seemed to be talking about in the lead-up to Super Bowl 50 was Newton's dances and dabs and the ''Thieves Ave.'' secondary after the Panthers piled up 48 takeaways, including nine in the playoffs.
''I'm telling you, we don't get no respect,'' cornerback Chris Harris Jr. had said 72 hours before the Broncos got the change to change all that.
Cornerback Aqib Talib put it best: ''We got goal boards in our locker room and we see everything that we've done this year. But everything will be forgotten by next season if we don't come home with that trophy.''
They're taking it home, proof they belong right up there with the `85 Bears, the `00 Ravens and the `03 Buccaneers.
Maybe above them all.
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