SANTA CLARA – Cortland Finnegan enjoyed the ride, but didn't like the ending.
The Panthers cornerback, who played his first six NFL seasons with the Titans, came up one win short of winning a Super Bowl ring here on Sunday. Denver beat the Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.
"The whole experience, it's what you dream of as a kid. It was everything I thought and more, minus we didn't get a victory,'' Finnegan said. "But I literally lived the dream, and that is a blessing. We didn't get a chance to win, and I hate it for everyone, including myself. But it was a great ride and I loved every minute of it."
Finnegan joined the Panthers in the second half of the season, and played a key role in the secondary down the stretch. In Sunday's Super Bowl, he was credited with four tackles, and he also was involved on a key pass break-up on a third down play that ended a Denver drive.
The Panthers held their own on defense, holding Denver to just 194 yards in the game, the fewest total ever for a victorious team in a Super Bowl. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning completed just 13-of-23 passes for 141 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
"This day, it was already planned by God,'' Finnegan said. "There will be bigger problems when you step outside of this locker room than football. It's hard, we gave ourselves a chance, but we didn't get it done."
In addition to Finnegan, former Titans offensive linemen Fernando Velasco and Michael Oher also saw their Super Bowl dreams turn sour in the end.
"We just didn't make plays. As a defense we held them well, but they did a better job of executing. Kudos to the Broncos,'' Velasco said.
"We have to keep things in perspective and know we had a good season getting here, but you want to finish with a win. We reached where we wanted to get, but we didn't close the door at the end. It wasn't good enough."
Oher, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2012, credited Denver.
"We were hoping to win it all, but we just didn't play well enough,'' Oher said. "They played great. Give them credit."
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