After losing to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, Cam Newton walked to a podium and appeared, well, less than thrilled to be there.
He sat, he sulked, he answered questions in fewer words than Bill Belichick. Then he walked out mid-presser. It was not a good look.
So, what do we make of the NFL MVP now?
“I think one of the biggest moments any athlete is going to have in his career is winning the Super Bowl, and one of the maybe worst moments an athlete will ever have is losing a Super Bowl,” former Panthers offensive lineman and current WFNZ Charlotte midday host Frank Garcia said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’ve never had the opportunity to win one. I’ve won national championships in team sports, I’ve won state championships in high school in team sports, I’ve won individual championships. But the losses hurt way worse than the wins feel good, and I felt like that’s what Cam was displaying out there on the podium: disappointment, a little bit of immaturity. But those are all things when you learn how to deal with that, you’re going to grow and get a little bit better and have an understanding that you’re going to be judged.”
“I felt like Cam was extremely disappointed,” Garcia continued. “I don’t think it was he couldn’t handle the pressure. I don’t think it was if you’re going to walk the walk, talk the talk – or vice versa. You’re going to have the people talk it back if they beat you. I think he’s accepted that and used to that. I don’t think he was pouting. I think he was a quarterback up there that really wanted to win and really didn’t understand how to lose. I think that’s something you do and you learn as you grow and become a professional athlete. The longer you play, you’re going to see those disappointments. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t do an amazing job throughout the season or anything like that. You learn as an athlete as you get a little bit more mature in your career. I think that’s something that he’s going to look back on maybe in several years and say, ‘I wish I would have handled that differently.’ But right now, that’s who he is.”
Newton was the most unstoppable player in the NFL this year, accounting for 50 touchdowns in leading the Panthers to a 17-1 start. In the Super Bowl, however, Newton had no answer for a Denver D that had him under duress all night. The Broncos sacked Newton six times, held him without a touchdown and forced four turnovers – three by Newton.
“We talk about a kid that goes out there and plays the game and celebrates like a kid,” Garcia said. “When he’s winning, he’s doing great. He’s doing the Superman, he’s dabbing – he’s doing all sorts of things. But when he loses, he’s going to be to the other end of the spectrum and maybe come across to most people as pouting and sulking and not being able to handle the heat and those types of things. I don’t think that’s the case. He wears his emotions on his sleeves. He saw or heard the Denver Broncos, which were in there close in proximity to where he was at, and I think all those things kind of just set him off. He answered the questions, he didn’t maybe answer them the way the media wanted them answered, but I think he handled himself like a pro after the game and went up there and congratulated Peyton Manning and gave him credit for how well he did. He just didn’t come across well to the media when they started asking questions and he had the opportunity to step back and just understand or let that disappointment sink in.”