Jeffri Chadiha at nfl.com does a really nice job of evaluating the problems with the way Cam Newton handled Sunday’s loss in the Super Bowl.
“We all know it’s painful for players to lose Super Bowls. But Newton’s postgame press conference was hard to watch even with a compassionate lens. He trudged in with a black hoodie pulled over his head, then sat dejectedly for a few moments as reporters asked him questions that he clearly didn’t want to answer. Newton mostly gave responses that amounted to two or three words, as if he had no reason to explain his role in the Panthers’ second loss this season.”
“This is where Newton needs to grow next. He’s always had a problem dealing with losing, and it showed up often when the Panthers were struggling in his first two seasons. It’s one thing to be dejected after a defeat. (‘He came ready to win tonight,’ [head coach Ron] Rivera said. ‘He didn’t come to lose.’) Newton, however, takes sulking to an entirely different level when things don’t go his way.
“People tend to notice that stuff more when you’re the guy who is rocking Versace pants on the way off a team plane or gleefully celebrating first downs. There’s nothing wrong with Newton doing those things until it’s juxtaposed against what we saw on Sunday in the Super Bowl. When that happens, those actions in the midst of success can be construed far more as being selfish and self-absorbed. They can make a good guy with serious talent and an eye toward making the game fun look like a front-runner.”
They’re the difference between a good guy who makes the game look like fun and a preening shmoe.
I have a bit of a problem with Chadia’s criticism of Newton for apparently not diving for a loose ball last in the game. The guess here is that newton thought the ball way coming back his way. But he’s right on point with the press conference.
Chadiha points out that some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time have faced the music after a Super Bowl loss with class. Seattle’s Russell Wilson even threw the game-ending interception in a Super Bowl loss to New England last season and handled the whole thing like the stand up guy that he apparently is.
I remember former Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith having to sit Newton down and give him hell for moping after losses or during games when things weren’t going his way. It’s a shame that he hasn’t learned more from it. It’s a shame that he hasn’t grown up more. He won’t ever be truly great until he does.