Rematch: Noun “a second match or game between two teams or players.”

Let’s get this out of the way. Purely by definition Denver and Carolina will play a rematch Thursday night.

It’ll be the second game between the Broncos and Panthers in the last seven months. More than half the players who played in Super Bowl 50 will be in the building at Bankruptcy Field at Mile High (h/t Nate Kreckman) tomorrow evening.

But just like LL Cool J said “don’t call it a comeback” in his famous song Mama Said Knock You Out, don’t call this a rematch.

At least not according to Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak or Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

“We let all of that go. This is a new team, new year, new season. We’re studying from what they’ve done this year, I’m sure they’re doing the same thing,” Kubiak said after practice Sunday. “We have to stay focused on this time around. We don’t talk about that at all, to be honest with you.”

Kubes is refreshingly honest, especially after dealing with John Fox and his bumbling clichés for four years, but I’m calling balderdash on this one.

Although the Broncos leader isn’t alone.

More than 1,500 miles away in Charlotte, Newton met with reporters on Sunday and had a similar sentiment.

“A lot of people want to make it a rematch. It’s not a rematch,” Newton told reporters. “It’s just our next opponent.”

Kubiak has his shiny Super Bowl ring and every right to play off this matchup as a “new team, new season,” even if he may not be 100 percent truthful in that assessment.

But for Newton, with how poorly he played in the Super Bowl and then his antics in the postgame press conference, pretending this is “just [the] next opponent” is flat out silly.

Not-So-Superman-Cam was terrible in Santa Clara last February. He came out over-juiced, sailing multiple open receivers, then getting strip sacked by Von Miller for an early Broncos touchdown. All those errors would have been forgivable, until Newton blatantly decided not to dive for Miller’s second strip sack, apparently out of fear of diving into a pile with big DeMarcus Ware in the middle.

It’s the highlight of Super Bowl 50 you see over and over again, usually in GIF form, when folks bag on Newton or write about that game. It was inconceivable the NFL’s MVP could pull such a puzzling stunt.

For Newton, how could this not be a rematch?

His dream season ended in a nightmarish fashion, due almost entirely to how poorly he played. But he gets a once in a lifetime opportunity (seriously, these things never happen) to redeem himself a little more than half a year later against the team that kicked his butt.

While Newton doesn’t owe the media anything other than what he gave it, this is a huge game for him.

If he finds a way to come into Denver, after the pomp and circumstance of what’s sure to be an epic pregame celebration, and beat the Broncos, he’ll immediately be considered an MVP favorite and prove to the world the Super Bowl was a fluke.

But if Miller, Ware, Shane Ray and the rest of the Broncos defense eat his lunch again – and he handles it poorly afterward for the second time in a row – whispers might turn into full-fledged conversations about whether or not Newton is ready to take the next, big, championship step in his career.

For Denver and Kubiak, it might not be a rematch. They’ve already been there, done that, and beaten these guys. But for Newton and the Panthers, a helluva lot is on the line for a Week 1 game.

These teams could very well meet again in Houston for Super Bowl LI, and you have to wonder if that would be considered a rematch.

For now, though, everyone can continue to ignore the definition.

Thursday night’s a rematch, but it means a lot more to Cryin’ Cam and the Panthers than it does the Broncos.

It’s good to be king.