The ‘smart money’ was on the Carolina Panthers and their astounding Quarterback, Cam Newton, to best the ‘old-time’ Denver Broncos and their fading leader, Peyton Manning. Manning was, after all, the oldest QB to play in a super bowl.
(Score Photo Source: http://www.nfl.com/scores
While Denver had a good defense, the Panthers were touted as an all around better team. After all, they had a 16/1 record and had won a number of games in blow-outs during the season, while Denver had some real squeakers to make it to the Super Bowl. Their young and mobile QB was 6’5” and weighed in at 245 pounds – bigger than ‘normal quarterbacks. (See: http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/111444/sizing-up-cam-newton)
A key military principle is that the advantage goes to the defender. Does this mean that a good defense will counter a great offense? Perhaps, but not by itself.
In the case of the Super Bowl we had kinetic PSYACTs. QB sacks and forced fumbles combined to rattle the seemingly always-confident Newton. Perhaps it was because Carolina had not faced such a good defense all season, or perhaps Newton is too young and inexperienced in the NFL to deal with setbacks or perhaps the Super Duper Super Bowl stage was too big.
Here’s a shot of Cam Newton during the Star Spangled Banner (source: http://thebiglead.com/2016/01/13/panthers-fan-writes-letter-to-editor-to-instruct-panthers-on-proper-national-anthem-etiquette/)
Here he is walking off the field. Clearly a general who has been defeated, perhaps by himself. His counterpart, Peyton Manning was not much of a star, but he was the general of the winning ream. (Source: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/02/07/cam-newton-exits-post-game-press-conference/)
PSYOP can work in many settings – even in sports!