Two alternate storylines emerged immediately after Super Bowl 50. On the one hand, we have Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who was able to lead his team to one final win and (presumably) ride off into the sunset a champion. A fairy tale ending.
On the other hand, we have Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The talk all week was about Newton. There really wasn’t much about the rest of the offense. Apparently it was all Newton. Debates arose on the topic of his celebrations. Is he too cocky, or does he just know what he’s capable of? Is he ruining the game?
The general consensus, at least on social media, was that Newton is the new face of the league and that he plays with passion and that’s a great thing. He had sure come a long way from the immature child who used to hang his head under a towel during a loss.
And then he lost the big game, utterly unable to penetrate Denver’s No. 1 overall defense—and back came the child.
Newton shook hands with Manning after the game, which is actually considered going above and beyond for a Super Bowl. The press conference afterwards, however, was embarrassing, to say the least.
Under his hoodie, Newton gave short, pouty answers to every question. I don’t care what defense you have for him; that’s not how the face of a franchise—never mind the reigning NFL MVP and “face of the league”—acts after a big loss. As Deion Sanders said, you cannot be so flamboyant in victory and petulant in defeat.
Newton’s appearance didn’t last long. It featured a “No” or two, a couple “Got outplayed”s, and then this rant:
“They just played better than us. I don’t know what you want me to say,” huffed Newton. “They made more plays than us, and that’s what it comes down to. We had our opportunities. It wasn’t nothing special that they did. We dropped balls, we turned the ball over, gave up sacks, threw errant passes. That’s it. They scored more points than us.”
Then, of course, an “I’m done, man,” and a steamed exit.
C’mon, Cam. Josh Norman may have cried on the sideline, but at least he spoke. No one expects you to be cheery, but you need to be respectful.
You can’t be a braggadocious winner and a sore loser.