Losing with Class: An Analysis of Cam Newton, the Person

NFL: Super Bowl 50-Carolina Panthers vs Denver BroncosAlright, now that the dust has settled and the smoke has cleared, we have our Super Bowl winners: the Denver Broncos. Congratulations to Peyton Manning and company, and as my colleague @TalkinACCSports said, Manning owes Von Miller and that Broncos defense dinner.

The Broncos defense sacked Cam Newton six times and forced 4 turnovers, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown. The mantra ”Defense wins Championships” loomed huge for the Broncos and it came up in a big way on the biggest stage of them all: Super Bowl 50.

And on the back end of it, the winners said something that really stuck out to me. All of it was about Cam Newton. There was a play in the end where the ball was knocked out of Newton’s hands and went to the ground for a fumble. Newton looked down at the ball and…let’s be honest, he hesitated, you know like he didn’t want to get hurt.

“That’s the way he is. Playing for himself,” Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan said of the play.
“He didn’t want it.” Broncos defensive back Aqib Talib agreed as well.

And that got me thinking. Because then came the interview, where Cam Newton half-heartedly answered at least one question and this was his response:

“They just played better than us. I don’t know what you want me to say. They made more plays than us and that’s what it comes down to. We had our opportunities. We dropped balls, we turned the ball over, gave up sacks, errant passes. That’s it. They scored more points than us.”

So in a nutshell, they got outplayed, from the words of Cam Newton. But other than that, he simply shook his head “No” to other questions. In this moment, the moment to show growth, Newton shrunk himself. When given a chance to show he can lose with a bit of dignity, Newton walked away from it, literally. Yes he said “we”, and he kind of blamed errant passes, but did he take responsibility for the loss himself?

Cam Newton has to take responsibility for his poor Super Bowl performance.

Yes, he’s 26 years old. Yes, there was a terrible interview room setup to the point where Cam Newton could hear the winners bathe and bask and glory. Yes, his offensive line was demolished by Demarcus Ware and Von Miller. But did Tom Brady walk out of his presser last week when he lost? Guess what all the losers had to do while Cam Newton celebrated and “Dabbed on Em”? They had to do the same thing: Answer the questions from the press. I didn’t see many people storming off then. Being the leader that he is, this is a teaching moment for Cam Newton. He’s young and has learning to do. He lost to Peyton Manning after all, who is 13 years older than him. And to be honest, Manning didn’t even play well; he was so drunk by the end of it that he shouted out “Budweiser”.

But that’s why so much focus is on Cam Newton. Because in the moment that he did have to show, “Hey, we lost, I played terribly and they killed us for it,” he left the podium and again left fans wondering: “Is he ready for the big stage or was all that good he was doing passing out footballs to kids after touchdowns for $5,000 fines just a personal pat on the back for Cam Newton?”

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