Cam Newton messed up on Sunday night.
National Football League’s most valuable player got it wrong on the biggest stage of all.
Was it over-confidence, or did the occasion just get to him? The warning signs were there as early as last Thursday.
When asked about why he wears socks with sandals he shot back with, “Why are you wearing jeans with shoes?”
Yes it was a silly question to ask, but the response was childish. Cam was immediately on the defensive; was the week starting to get to him?
He looked like he’d lost the game during the warm-up on the Levi’s Stadium field.
He stood on the turf launching balls with his headphones on, trying to mask his nerves by singing along to whatever music gets him pumped. He wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t nervous, Peyton Manning looked nervous and he’d been on this stage many times before.
But Cam brings a lot of bravado with him. He’s cocky, but that’s part of his make-up. He didn’t look his confident self during that warm-up and that confidence never entered the field of play.
During the game he held onto the ball too long when handing it off to Jonathan Stewart. On one occasion in the second quarter this caused a fumble. His passing was off. Throws overshot receivers and there was no accuracy in his execution.
Denver came to do a job on defense and they stepped up. They made this superstar quarterback throw the ball. They blitzed him and had the strength in the secondary to cover his receivers. Cam was pressured and simply could not deliver.
His performance wasn’t the worst QB performance in a Super Bowl, but the problem so many people have is with how he conducted himself.
He’s a bad loser, he said so himself. But, if you’re going to boast and dab and rub salt into the wounds of your opponents when you’re winning, then you should show a bit of grace in defeat.
“I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.”
Everyone hates losing. Cam can show the world that he’s hurting, but this is professional sport. He should be a professional and accept defeat. He can moan all he wants away from the public eye, but he has a duty to the league that just labelled him their most valuable player, the team that pays his wages and to the fans that idolise him to show a bit of respect.
This is the guy who told everyone, “I’m a firm believer that if you don’t like me to do it (dab) then don’t let me in”. Denver didn’t let him in. They put him in his place and he didn’t like it. But, if you’re going to talk the talk then you have to walk the walk. Show a bit of respect. Congratulate the other team. Use the rhetoric, tell us that you’re hurting, but Denver played the better game. Don’t just sit there moping with your hood up and walk off stage.
Yes, everything is great when you’re winning. No one dresses sharper than Cam in those post-game press conferences, but for the Super Bowl he chose to wear his team hoodie with the hood up. Someone should have taken Cam to one side before he faced the media and told him to compose himself.
“Winning excuses everything,”
His coach played with one of the league’s most confident, gregarious quarterbacks, Jim McMahon. There were lots of similarities brought up between that 1985 Bears team and the 2015 Panthers team during the build-up to Sunday’s game.
Of all the coaches, you’d expect Ron Rivera to have the experience to pull his QB to one side and remind him of his duties as a professional.
Cam Newton once said, “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.” Therefore, he should have calmed himself down before confronting the press and thought about how he was going to accept defeat. He should have set an example to the young admirers who look up to him as an icon; their superhero. Super Cam.
After all, this is the man who told the world, “I’ve said numerous times that I play to have a stage that people will listen to, and I pray to God that I do right by my influence.” What cuts most with the media is that he failed to follow his convictions. He had the biggest stage in the world on Sunday and he disgraced himself, his team and professional sport.
“Winning excuses everything,” is another Cam quote. Let’s hope he finds a formula that will win everyone over, even in the face of defeat.