Never before in the history of football has a player divided opinion like Cam Newton. The brash quarterback dabbed, danced and smiled his way to SB50 on the crest of a wave, riding it all the way to San Francisco. It was going to be the icing on the cake, putting it to old man Peyton Manning to take the Carolina Panthers to an inaugural title. But then disaster happened.
Newton’s horror show culminated in numerous sackings, fumbles and one major missed opportunity to fall on a ball that turned over possession. Cam cast a lonely shadow at the home of the 49ers, but that press conference walk out created a media firestorm no one could extinguish. Acting like a sore loser even turned a lot of his sympathizers and supporters off, outlining that the 26-year old still has a long way to go before he can carry the responsibility of being the face of the franchise.
But SB50 was in isolation. The player had to put up with a lot of rubbish from various people about his conduct and behavior during the season. The dabbing phenomenon broke up the manual on how a quarterback is supposed to act on the field. His actions unearthed a degree of prejudice and outrage the likes we have not seen before in the NFL.
It created an unusual scenario whereby a Tennessee mother penned an open letter to say that the dab dance offended her 9-year old son and positioned prominent African American sports personalities to openly discuss the reasons behind the anger and reaction. Cam Newton became the lightning rod for everything from the game to race relations and sporting conduct – it all came out in the wash.
The Super Bowl performance and press conference walk out gave his haters a huge stick to beat him with. It allowed them all to say in unison – “I told you so!” Here are 15 of them.
15 Colin Scotts
“Colin who?” I hear you ask. You would be forgiven for not remembering this average footballer who barely made the top league, but whose seven games for the St Louis Cardinals in 1987 gave the Australian enough confidence to slag off modern day superstars. Clearly drunk and charged after Super Bowl 50, Scotts was interviewed on Fox Sports Australia about Newton’s performance. “Cam Newton – you’re a fake, you’re a disgrace, you let the NFL down and you were exposed … you are a coward!” said the intoxicated middle-aged man on a Monday afternoon.
14 Frank Clark
This y'all league MVP!!! Really!!!! pic.twitter.com/Cvc8zAIsyi— Frank Clark (@TheRealFrankC_) February 8, 2016
They breed them tough in Seattle, but Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark took things to a new level watching Cam Newton fall to pieces at the Super Bowl. The naïve 22-year old was modest enough to point out that he lost to him twice this past season, yet unleashed a tirade on Twitter that once read, cannot be unseen. With his 33,000 followers and the rest of the football public looking on, Clark posted, “That boy a b****, I can’t wait to play his punk ass. Made the decision it wasn’t worth it in the Super Bowl.”
13 Greg McElroy
New York Jets quarterback circa 2011 Greg McElroy knows a thing or two about playing in the NFL, even if he didn’t ever do it half as well as Superman Cam. Speaking on SiriusXM Radio, McElroy gave a frank assessment of the Panthers main man. “I have big issues with the way Cam handled himself not only on the field, but in the postgame as well. If you’re going to act like Superman and call yourself Superman, well, you better be able to answer the tough questions … I will still root for my Panthers, but I’m going to have big issues with Cam Newton moving forward.”
12 Skip Bayless
By most measurements, ESPN’s First Take co-host Skip Bayless has been reasonably measured on Cam Newton’s overall conduct on the football field. But if you analyze exactly what he has been saying about him, then the quarterback is not going by the playbook on how much and what type of dancing he should be performing. A little bit of celebration is ok, like when Aaron Rodgers or his beloved Tom Brady does it, but according to Skip, Cam needs to dial it back because he’s going too far. This is the real Cam Newton in all his glory and asking him to confine to your expectations outlines that he’s not really the biggest fan of him as a package.
11 Wade Phillips
A little Dab with do you but too much Dab will undo you!— Wade Phillips (@sonofbum) February 8, 2016
Old people on Twitter are a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to talking smack to a 26-year old. Shocking almost everyone in the sport, 68-year old Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips trash talked Cam on Twitter at 2.24 am! “A little Dab with do you but too much Dab will undo you!” The 12,000 retweets and favorites grabbed the attention of the press and if it wasn’t for one error of grammar it would have been a great little dig.
10 Josh Reddick
Stay classy Cam. Real mature.— Josh Reddick (@RealJoshReddick) February 8, 2016
Major League Baseball player Josh Reddick likes to think of himself as a “character” on social media. By character we mean someone who occasionally breaks out from the boring, formulaic box that athletes are pinned in to actually broadcast a genuine opinion form time to time, no matter how idiotic. The Oakland A’s outfielder wanted to use SB 50 and the press conference fiasco to get something off his chest to tweet, “Stay classy Cam. Real mature.”
9 Bill Romanowski
Bill Romanowski was there last time the Broncos were Super Bowl champions, but rather than soak up the glory for Peyton and the unbelievable defensive unit, he engaged in a strangely worded attack on Newton. The deleted tweet (always a good sign of how moronic a thought it was) said in no unclear terms – “You will never last in the NFL with that attitude. The world doesn’t revolve around you, boy! #CamNewton.” For the 49-year old former linebacker not to understand how patronizing that is and more importantly, how many racial buttons that presses, is beyond belief.
8 Chris Harris
Cornerback Chris Harris could have won graciously and taken the Super Bowl win in his stride, but instead he took the opportunity to rub salt into the Cam Newton wound. “Cam was scared to throw it,” he said. “He couldn’t figure out where to throw. That’s what pressure does man.” To talk about pressure is one thing, to accuse an NFL footballer of being “scared” is quite another. Expect a spicy match up when these two meet again.
7 Avery Williamson
Surely the Tennessee Titans should be more concerned about their own football team than how or why the opposing quarterback is celebrating yet another touchdown? Linebacker Avery Williamson was one who went public with his displeasure over the display. “I don’t like it personally. You saw my reaction to it. He wants to be the man, so he wants to celebrate because he scored. But I don’t personally go for that stuff.” Maybe you should go for tackling next time Avery? Could be a better tactic.
6 Mike Mularkey
Ah, the great “code of ethics” quote. Every once in a while a journalist will poke and prod until they get a sound byte that seems too good to be true. Not only was Avery Williamson good fodder postgame, but Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey (real name – look it up!) backed his player up. “I know Avery was frustrated by it, but I think there was a whole lot of people frustrated by it,” said Mularkey. “It’s a little rubbing-it-in-your-face type of deal, which there’s a little code of ethics in the NFL. (It’s) not a good move.” It’s great the coach is pointing out the existence of the code of ethics when Cam Newton does a dab. Lets hope it shows up more often when it actually matters.
5 Von Miller
A cryptic dig at a rival can be viewed any number of ways. Depending how subtle the attack is (something that footballers are not well known for), it can be a bit of fun. Miller sacked Cam twice and had the QB guessing where the next tackle was coming from. Playing on the Superman theme that Newton awarded himself, Miller tweeted an image of his green and white Adidas boots. “Everyone has a weakness. S/O @adidasfballus for my new secret weapon. #Freak #3StripeLife.” Looks like Von Miller is Cam’s kryptonite!
4 TJ Ward
The Broncos defense ate up Cam like it was a free lunch, putting him on his backside again and again and again. Safety TJ Ward was one of the quiet achievers for Denver to stall the lethal offensive unit and when some time had passed from the game, he took a moment to put the quarterback in his place. Speaking of that fumble, Ward explained, “If he would have touched that ball, I was gonna hit him right in his face and I wasn’t the only one. And I don’t know – maybe he needed to stay healthy for next year.”
3 Rob Lowe
Diehard Denver Broncos fan Rob Lowe was there with his family to see them take home glory at SB50. But for some reason the actor wanted to weigh in to compare Cam Newton’s conduct to Peyton Manning, the same Peyton who has dealt with a sexual harassment lawsuit off the field in between plugging Budweiser. The sarcastic tweet went as follows – “Wow. What a press conference from Cam Newton. So gracious! So classy! So humble! What an example to kids! Just like Peyton. #dab #SuperBowl.” As the replies flooded in, they also pointed out the irony that Rob himself was arrested for sex with a minor in 1988. You know, because he’s such a great example “for the kids.”
2 Aqib Talib
For a guy that almost cost his team dearly, it says a lot about Aqib Talib’s character that he would be so boisterous in victory. The cornerback could not hold back the chance to take a pop at Newton when the microphone was presented to him. “They really have a simple offense. They came out in a bunch of different formations that they shift around and they run one or two plays out of them. We knew he wasn’t gonna come out and tear us up.” Then Talib focused on one man. “He (Newton) had danced enough. No way was he gonna tear us up. We’re too smart for him.”
1 Deion Sanders
Whenever there's a hot button topic in the NFL, you can be sure that Deion Sanders will chime in on the subject. When it came to Cam's childish press conference, Deion didn't pull any punches, saying: “You are the face of our brand right now, you can’t do that. I understand the emotions of losing, but you can’t do that. A Manning, a Brady … all these guys who are a prototypical type of quarterback in our game, they’re not going to do that ever. Would Drew Brees?”