That was the final score of Super Bowl 50. The Denver Broncos dominated the then 17-1 Carolina Panthers and shut down NFL MVP quarterback Cam Newton. Von Miller won Super Bowl MVP, and Peyton Manning got his John Elway moment and can now walk off into the sunset after winning his second Super Bowl title.
But the conversation the next day wasn’t about Peyton Manning and his Hall of Fame legacy. It wasn’t about Von Miller’s dominance and how he’s likely going to become the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. And it wasn’t about the Denver defense as a whole, putting on a season that was one of the most dominant in recent memory.
Instead of all that, the thing nobody could stop talking about was a press conference. A damn press conference.
Cam Newton, visibly and understandably upset about losing the biggest game of his life, walked off the post-game podium after two and a half minutes worth of talking. By that time, he’d already given the answer most do after a tough loss. (You can read the full transcript here)
“We dropped the ball.”
“I threw errant passes.”
“We got outplayed.”
That’s all you really need from Cam Newton if you’re going to write a story. There are 48 other Panthers players you could take quotes from. There are 49 Broncos players you could take quotes from. Plus, how many questions can you really ask when it comes to Cam being disappointed in the loss. You didn’t need a quote from that, you could see it in his body language. Not to mention you could audibly hear Broncos CB Chris Harris talking about how they shut down Cam the whole game in the background.
So lets take this story for what I think it’s really about. Why it’s getting as much media attention as it is. He walked off on the media.
He congratulated Peyton Manning after the game, face to face. He has the support of his coaches and his teammates, which you could see in his Tuesday interview. And if he congratulated his opponents on the field, and still has the support of his organization, isn’t that all that really matters? To me, it is.
Instead, you’ve seen most members of the media throwing a hissy fit about Cam Newton for abruptly leaving his press conference. They throw out words like “class”, and “dignity”. To me, he was pretty damn classy after the game congratulating Manning. He didn’t call out his teammates, he didn’t demean his opponents, he just left a press conference.
We as fans, and people in the media, want it both ways. We want these athletes to be real, to be themselves, but we have a problem when they don’t give answers that we want, or put out a facade or an act. This Sunday, and more importantly the interview he gave Tuesday, showed who Cam is. He’s a guy that simple and plain, just wants to win. He hates losing more than he loves winning. And isn’t that what we want from athletes? Isn’t that what we want from team leaders?
“Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser” – Cam Newton
After these last few days, this is exactly what I want if I’m a fan of the Carolina Panthers. You can tell that this man, Cam Newton, will stop at nothing to achieve greatness. He’ll use the naysayers that have come out post-SB to his advantage, and use them as motivation to come back even stronger next year. Good things are still ahead for this Panthers team.
As for Cam Newton? He still has my support as a fan of the game. I like the way he celebrates on the field. I like how he shows how much fun he’s having. I like how he’s not a robot on the field, and can be his own man. And I respect how bad he wants to win and be great. While this game wasn’t his best, and this wasn’t the best image he put forward, he’ll be better because of it.
Article by Thomas Mooney