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Sports Columnists | Kiszla: Hey, Cam: It’s really a rematch of Super Bowl 50 in Broncos Country

The short answer to how the Broncos upset Carolina and won the NFL championship:

Von Miller kicked Cam Newton’s awesome six ways to Super Bowl Sunday.

Faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, the Vonster was so amazing, it blew Superman’s mind. From the first time Newton was strip-sacked by Miller during Super Bowl 50, the Carolina quarterback came to the harsh, unnerving realization that maybe he wasn’t the best athlete on the football field.

The Broncos have been laughing at Carolina, dissed by Denver safety T.J. Ward as more interested in being rappers and backup dancers than becoming champions, ever since the decisive 24-10 Super Bowl victory. Miller laughed the loudest. He appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and explained the discovery of gravitational waves first postulated by Albert Einstein by boasting to national television audience : “These waves are everywhere in the universe, just like I’m everywhere when Cam Newton closes his eyes.”

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Feel the burn, Cam?

With a flair for the dramatic, the NFL picks up where it left off, as the Broncos face Carolina in the opener of the 2016 season.

“A lot of people want to make it a rematch. It’s not a rematch,” Newton has insisted to anybody willing to listen this past week.

Newton can call it anything he wants. He can call it a school field trip to the Denver Mint, for all I care. But it’s definitely a rematch, and much more. This is a must-win for Carolina, which makes the challenge in the season opener even tougher for the Broncos, as if trying to beat a quality opponent with Trevor Siemian making his first NFL start at quarterback wasn’t a difficult enough task already.

There is always talk of a Super Bowl hangover, although I must admit that during recent months in Colorado, I heard more conversation along these lines: What the heck was Broncos front-office guru John Elway thinking when he thought Mark Sanchez might be the answer at quarterback?

But I do think the Super Bowl hangover is real. My theory? The hangover is far tougher to shake for the team that loses the game. Just as Miller reduced Newton from an invincible super-hero to a pouting child during the course of Super Bowl 50, the Broncos poked the Panthers’ collective ego with holes of self-doubt.

Hey, it can happen to anybody. After Denver got crushed 55-10 by San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIV, the Broncos muddled through to a 5-11 record in 1990. The Oakland Raiders have not enjoyed a winning season since their pride and poise got flushed by Tampa Bay during the championship game in January 2003. Our old buddy John Fox took the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII, then stumbled and bumbled during a 7-9 season the next year.

What I want to see in the season opener: Did the havoc that Miller wreaked on the Panthers in the Super Bowl leave a permanent scare? Or will Newton, whose athletic gifts are undeniable, exert his will this time against Denver, rather than look shaken and scared?

Miller thinks Newton is the best player in the NFL: “He’s definitely in a league of his own. He’s Super Cam.”

The Broncos have 99 problems, but a Super Bowl hangover ain’t one. Three serious issues to watch from the get-go: 1) Is Siemian the real deal, or was he named the starting QB to absorb the losses while rookie Paxton Lynch gets up to NFL speed? 2) Can C.J. Anderson, who has never averaged more than 12 carries per game with the Broncos or at the University of California, really be trusted as a bell-cow tailback? 3) On an offensive line that’s definitely a work in progress, will left tackle Russell Okung prove to be a steal of a free-agency signing by Elway or as mystifying a pick-up as Sanchez was?

The Panthers, established as three-point favorites on the road, need this game more than Denver does, because Newton needs to get his mojo back. Carolina will take the field with redemption in mind and a chip on its shoulder.

“You could have a Dorito on your shoulder for all we care,” Ward said, “but you still have to come in here and beat us.”

The Broncos can — and will — beat Carolina at the head games. But if the game is strictly football, Newton vs. Siemian is no contest.

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