Super Bowl 50 was not pretty.

The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in the final match of the season, but the fact the nation's two best teams were on show wasn't exactly reflected in the standard of the on-field action.

And while the play might have been ugly, there was something even more gruesome you didn't see during the four quarters.

HIDDEN SUPER BOWL SACRIFICE

Thomas Davis knows a thing or two about pain.

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In 2011 he tore his third ACL in three years - on the same knee. Somehow, he made it back to the NFL.

So it probably shouldn't come as a shock to find out that Davis managed to play the Super Bowl despite still bearing the scars of a horrific injury.

The Carolina Panthers linebacker broke his arm in the NFC Championship game on January 24 and was told it was highly unlikely he'd be able to suit up for the season-ending showpiece.

But suit up he did, and only afterwards did we find out just how bad his injury was when he posted a picture of his arm - which had been surgically repaired - on his Instagram account.

It just shows to go how big a sacrifice Davis made to ensure he was out there on the field with his teammates.

He played the whole game with a cast on his right arm, but still managed to record seven tackles.

SORE LOSER

CAM Newton was supposed to be the man who could bring championship glory to Carolina.

The 2016 MVP had a stellar season but faltered when it mattered most. He completed just 18/41 passes and threw an interception - a performance that was always going to make it nearly impossible for the Panthers to puncture Denver's famous defence.

So you can understand why he was far from thrilled in the match's aftermath. Normally so jovial with the media, this time the 26-year-old was in no mood for jokes - or full sentences, for that matter.

He gave a series of one-word answers in his post-match presser before walking about, which led to some accusing him of being a sore loser.

ESPN's David Newton tweeted that the Carolina quarterback wasn't exactly rushing to congratulate Denver on their triumph or accept they were the better team.

"Only line I could hear from Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was, 'It was nothing special they did.' The player that smiled all week was sulking," Newton tweeted.

"After saying little Panthers quarterback Cam Newton walks away from reporters. Showed the side of him that hates losing. Wasn't a good side."

CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wasn't impressed with Newton's behaviour after the devastating loss, calling his media showing a "mopefest".

49ers beat reporter Cam Inman called Newton's presser a "disaster".

STAR'S EMBARRASING FAIL

Aqib Talib was a happy man after receiving a championship ring, and it looks he may have got stuck into the Budweisers right away judging by his appearance on the NFL Network's post-match show.

Either that or he was so excited he momentarily forgot how to stand up. We'll let you decide.

US REACTION TO 'HIDEOUS' SUPER BOWL

FOR the Win's Nate Scott was one of many to articulate just how much of a shambles the contest was, saying the match was "absolutely hideous".

"It was all there in a Super Bowl which had its most memorable moment before the opening kickoff, when Lady Gaga sang a particularly rousing version of the national anthem," wrote Scott.

"It was all downhill from there.

"Nothing but a lot of falling down and turning the ball over, mixed with some inexplicable decisions from the officials.

"A bad field, tough defenses, buckets of turnovers and Panthers receivers dropping everything thrown at them was the perfect recipe for an ugly Super Bowl."

Writing for USA Today, Steven Ruiz said a Peyton Manning interception was "dumb" and "deserved ridicule".

David Newton of ESPN said the Panthers' performance in particular was "marred by imperfection".

"The team that scored more points than any during the regular season and postseason imploded with turnovers, penalties, sacks and mistakes," Newton wrote.

"When the Panthers had the chance to dab and show the world just how good they were, they flubbed."

PROOF HOW BAD THE MATCH WAS

IF YOU were left in any doubt as to how average the football was, take a minute to think about these numbers.

Denver racked up just 11 first downs and made only 194 yards on offence - the lowest number of yards made by a winning team in Super Bowl history.

To be fair, the Broncos' defence is what got them to this point in the season, and once again they played to their strengths.

Their defence was impeccable - led by MVP linebacker Von Miller with 2.5 sacks - as they managed to subdue Cam Newton and snuff out any hopes Carolina had of winning.

-- news.com.au