Boy, it’s easy to pile on. That’s what it seems like is happening with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton after his lackluster performance in Super Bowl 50. The Denver Broncos just clocked Newton and the Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 by the score of 24-10.
It was the lowest total output of the season for Newton and the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense. On this day, Newton and his offensive cohorts simply could not get it done against the league’s top-ranked defense. There’s no shame in that. Just ask New England quarterback Tom Brady and Pittsburgh signal-caller Ben Roethlisberger.
Brady and his Patriots were pummeled by the same Broncos defense in the AFC Championship Game. Before that, Demarcus Ware and Von Miller made life miserable for Roethlisberger in the AFC Divisional Game.
To add insult to injury, Newton never did make it into the endzone.
Now comes the easy part for Newton’s critics. The bashing began heating up long before the clock ticked to zero on Denver’s upset win against the Panthers at Levi’s Stadium. Now with the defeat, Newton’s haters are likely to have a field day with him and his dabbing right up training camp begins this summer.
Right now the focus is on Newton, the recently crowned league MVP, and who just went through perhaps his most disappointing and humbling defeat as a pro. Unfortunately for the Carolina faithful, their Superman ran into his kryptonite in the Denver defense.
Hopefully, there will be another day for Newton and his buddies to make more appearances in a Super Bowl game.
But we’ll never know until each year comes by. Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino is still waiting for another shot at playing in the Super Bowl after his one-and done appearance against the San Francisco 49ers. The NFC West is stacked with great teams, so there is no guarantee that we will see Newton and the Panthers back again.
Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom in the Seattle Seahawks are waiting for them. There is the talented Arizona Cardinals, and the beloved Niners team with Chip Kelly hoping to lead the way to promise. How about them Cowboys? The Dallas Cowboys, aka America’s Team, is still relevant, so are the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.
But in getting back to Newton, there is going to be a lot of negative fallout from this one for the 26-year phenom. All the trash talkers, doubters and those who have tried to put shade on Newton for whatever reason, now have some ammunition to gloat.
He’s been called ” boy” ( former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowki) and the Incredible Sulk after his post Super Bowl 50 meltdown press conference. The racist comments are trickling in. There’s already words like “choke” and “immature” being thrown out there on the Internet about Newton.
And those were the nice descriptions. Losing is never a great proposition to swallow, so expect a burning desire to light up in Newton during the offseason to get back to the Super Bowl and right the ship that went off course against the Broncos. But Wilson felt the same way after throwing that pick at the goal line against New England in the 2015 Super Bowl that cost the Seahawks back-to-back championships.
The Seahawks promptly got bounced out of the postseason by the Panthers in a NFC Division playoff game. This just shows how difficult it is to make it back every year to that Super Bowl spot. You have 32 teams fighting for one of those two positions. Newton and the Panthers played well enough to be one of those two teams.
While losing the Super Bowl can represent heartache to some degree, it is an accomplishment to make it that far. Newton and the Panthers had an amazing year. No one can take that from the franchise. This is a stepping stone, something to build on.
Look, people have been doubting and hating on Newton since his college days at Auburn when he led the Tigers to the national championship.
And there will be more.
But his success with the Panthers have brought together an entire community. The way Newton and the Panthers have rallied and touched the lives of so many people, especially children, don’t have a price tag on it. All those football handed by Newton and the Panthers to young fans around the endzone have created something special.
This is why Newton and the Panthers don’t have to hang their heads down. They have no reason to. They have been a breath of fresh air to the National Football League and the Carolina community. As a young team, the Panthers are headed in the winning direction, having won the last three NFC South Division titles, and now making a Super Bowl appearance.
This loss is going to hurt Newton and the Panthers for a while. It should. Their aspirations of being the best team in the NFL came up 15 points short on this go round. But in the eyes of many, Newton and the Panthers are champions in so many other ways.