By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

OK, raise your hand if you picked the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos to be in Super Bowl 50.

Come on. You know you didn’t see this one coming. I mean really, did anyone believe that “old man” Manning—he’s 38 by the way-- would be able to dig deep enough to run over the mighty Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game?

Cam Newton has shown us all season long that he’s Superman in training, but to lead his Carolina Panthers to a flat-out shellacking of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game was beyond impressive.

So now the stage is set for Super Bowl 50. The “Battle by the Bay” match-up between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers kicks off Jan. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California and will be televised at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

This one has all the makings for being one doozy of a Super Bowl. The narrative surrounding the game adds to all the excitement. Manning, a phenomenal athlete and Hall of Famer for sure, has already won a Super Bowl and is considering hanging up his jersey after this year. If this is his last run, will he go out on top?

For Newton, this is his first Super Bowl appearance. The talented and flashy QB, not only brings a mega-watt, dimpled smile to the game, but he has infused it with his personal style of dash and flash. Should Newton win the Super Bowl, he would join the elite company of Doug Williams (Washington Redskins, 1988) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks, 2014) as the only Black quarterbacks to do so.

Fortunately for me, I have no skin in this game. I’m just thrilled my team, The Rams are headed back to Los Angeles. But that’s another feature for another day. However, I admire both Newton and Peyton and hope this Super Bowl will be everything and more.

So, who will win this thing and proudly hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy?
I’m not sure, but I can’t help but root for Newton. He’s headed to one of the biggest stages in the sports world and has a chance to truly shine. It’s perfect too because Newton loves the spotlight and excels when he’s in it. That Newton is an enormously talented and intelligent African-American athlete that gives big time to kids and others in his community is also admirable.

There’s a lot to like about both teams, but the early betting line has the Carolina Panthers favored over the Broncos by six points at least as of this writing. caught up with former NFL New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ken O’Brien to get his thoughts on Super Bowl 50 and what team he believes has the biggest advantage.

Before joining the NFL, O’Brien attended the University of California, Davis and played under the late, Coach Jim Sochor. O’Brien led UCD to a 10-0 regular season mark and to the Division II championship game. O’Brien was selected as the Jets first round draft pick in 1983 and played with them until 1992. He also played one year (1993) with the Philadelphia Eagles.

O'Brien was also the first quarterback to pass for 400 or more yards (431) in a game and earn a perfect NFL 158.3 rating, a feat he accomplished against the Seattle Seahawks in 1986 and would not be matched until 27 years later, by Nick Foles in 2013.

O’Brien believes Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will have to play “mistake free.” “That’s really the key, O’Brien explained to during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. “Peyton has played for like a hundred years now,” added O’Brien. “His body has slowed, but this guy has such great vision and knows how to make things happen at the right time. The big question is can Denver rattle Cam and take him out of his comfort zone. That’s not going to be easy. Then again nobody thought that the Patriots could lose either, but Denver got to Tom Brady. If Denver can do that against Cam, they have a good chance to win this thing.”

O’Brien said he doesn’t have a favorite since he knows current and former players from both teams. “I think it’s going to be a very good game,” he said with a laugh. “Look, this is the biggest stage and everyone is eager to see how well Cam will do under all the pressure and whether Manning’s experience and leadership will prevail once again.”

Just in case the Super Bowl goes south early and is a blow-out or a super bore, there’s always the commercials to look forward to and the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show which will feature the Grammy Award winning group, Coldplay.

Coldplay joins an esteemed line of recent halftime acts including: Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Madonna, The Who, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, U2 and others.

Coldplay is one of the world's most popular musical acts, selling more than 80 million copies of their six No. 1 albums and garnering eight BRITs. The band's most recent world tour, 2011-2012 Mylo Xyloto, was seen by more than three million people in five continents.

The band’s latest album, “A Head Full Of Dreams” was released in December and is available for fans to download on iTunes.

Fans can also visit Pepsi.comfor an exclusive behind the scenes look at how Coldplay is beginning their journey to the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is the most-watched musical event of the year. More than 118.5 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year's show, marking the most-watched halftime show ever.

Editor’s Note: Some information used in this report obtained from Photo: Courtesy of CBS/



By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Oscar winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as NFL legend turned actor O.J. Simpson in the FX network’s explosive, new drama, “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” which airs Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

I’ll be locked in on it much like I was during Simpson’s now famous slow speed freeway chase on June 17, 1994. Most everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when Simpson’s best friend and former teammate Al Cowlings was transporting Simpson in his white Ford Bronco. It was must-see TV, tragic and fascinating.

Simpson was later charged with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman and the biggest murder and television story of the year had begun.

Written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski and directed by Ryan Murphy, the television movie is based on the book, “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin.

The TV docu-drama from executive producers Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski and Brad Falchuk, chronicles the Simpson case from the perspective of the lawyers.

It looks at the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court and tells how a combination of prosecution confidence, defense wiliness, and the LAPD's history with the city's African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.

In addition to Gooding Jr., “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” stars: John Travolta (as Robert Shapiro), Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), , David Schwimmer, (Robert Kardashian), Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran), Nathan Lane (F. Lee Bailey), Kenneth Choi (Judge Lance Ito), Bruce Greenwood (Gil Garcetti), Connie Britton (Faye Resnick), Selma Blair (Kris Jenner), Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Stanley K. Brown (Christopher Darden) among others.

ABOUT CUBA GOODING JR.: Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Academy Award for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” for Jerry Maguire in 1996 and has earned critical acclaim for his work in feature films and television. His feature credits include “As Good as It Gets,” “Men of Honor,” “American Gangster,” “Red Tails” and Lee Daniels' “The Butler.”

ABOUT SARAH PAULSON: Sarah Paulson is currently starring in “American Horror Story: Freak Show” as "Bette Tattler/Dot Tattler." Paulson previously starred in the third installment of the critically acclaimed series “American Horror Story: Coven” for which she received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.”

In the anthology series' second season, Paulson earned a Critics Choice Television Award for “Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries” as well as an Emmy nomination for her work as "Lana Winters."

Paulson was also nominated for an Emmy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award for HBO's 2012 television movie “Game Change” and earned a Golden Globe Award nomination in 2006 for the NBC comedy series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”
On film, Paulson starred in director Steve McQueen's “12 Years a Slave” and has starred in “Carol” opposite Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Editor’s Note: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” airs Feb. 2 on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Some information used in this article obtained from publicity department press releases.