I once heard a man say, “Be careful how you treat people on your way up the ladder of success. They’re the same people you’ll meet on your way back down.” As the final seconds of Super Bowl 50 dwindled away and the cameras focused on Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, those words could not become more true.
After all, isn’t Cam the same guy who told the critics that no one has ever seen a quarterback like him? Isn’t he the same guy who is more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap defenses in a single bound. Look, up in the sky..it’s the NFL’s MVP of the league. The man with the Mega-watt smile who hands out footballs to kids after every touchdown. The perfecter of the nation’s most popular stunt….THE ‘DAB.
And yet, we saw none of these antics during this year’s Super Bowl.That’s because the Denver Broncos defense shut down and silenced Cam and the Panthers. For some, Cam and the Panther’s slow travel down the ladder of success was bitter sweet. Many of those same people felt Cam should have been much more humble with his success this past season. However, this writer is NOT one of them.
In 1985, the Chicago Bear’s quarterback, Jim McMahon, did much of the same thing. Running around after touchdowns head-butting every lineman he could face, showboating his spikey-haired crew cut to the cameras on the sidelines, and don’t forget the self-logo headbands that mocked the commissioner of the NFL.
If my memory serves me correctly, the only thing the Bears QB received was the title “The Punk-Rock” QB and numerous TV commercial endorsements. True, Cam has received his fair share of endorsements, as I think he should, but why all the criticism? Where is all the hoopla for the antics of Aaron Rodger’s “Discount Double-Check” celebrations? I never hear a word as Tom Brady rants and raves during his games. Instead, we always seem to hear about how much he wants to win as an excuse to justify his actions. Especially when most of the nation feels he and the New England Patriots cheated to get many of their most important wins.
While I feel these actions towards Cam are unfair, I equally feel that Newton’s postgame reaction to the media regarding the Panther’s loss of Super Bowl 50 could only be described as poor sportsmanship. Think about it. The undertone to Cam’s criticism is that he is black while his counterparts are white. Well, let’s take the good with the bad folks. Newton walking off the stage to abruptly end the postgame conference was flat out wrong! You lost. Take it like a man and deal with the hurt. Don’t you think Peyton Manning (the winning quarterback of the game I might add) felt like walking away when the world kept calling him a choker? The same guy who everyone said couldn’t win especially if the game was held outdoors in cold weather. The same man who is obviously a better player than his younger brother but up until now, held fewer Super Bowl rings. Well of course he did. But Peyton has been the epitome of class when it comes to dealing with adversity.
Hey Cam…if you’re going to be a top tier QB in this league, you’ve got to do better than that. You need to learn how to lose as gracefully as you accept winning. Now there’s a gift every kid in America deserves to receive from you. After all, isn’t that worth much more than a football?
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