Cam Newton has faced no end of grief after he walked out of his post-Super Bowl press conference having said precisely this:
We got outplayed.
We got outplayed, bro.
They just played better than us. I don’t know what you want me to say. They made more plays than us and that’s what it comes down to. We had our opportunities. We dropped balls, we turned the ball over, gave up sacks, errant passes. That’s it. They scored more points than us.
To Cam’s detractors, the performance confirmed the very worst assessments of his character from before the 2011 draft, like:
Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.
But I prefer to look at Cam through a different lens. One paragraph-long slipup aside, the MVP’s reticence was, I believe, simply an homage to the biggest NFL story to emerge during the Super Bowl:
Marshawn Lynch managed to make himself a trending topic two Super Bowl Sundays in a row. And as we all know, he’s the master at showing up to an interview without answering a single question.
Remember, NFL players don’t owe the media anything. If they choose not to provide story-ready soundbites, that’s their prerogative as human beings. The league can make them available, but it can’t make them talk. Marshawn Lynch proved that. And for a few hours, it looked like there would be no one to carry the torch.
When Newton picked himself up from that table, what we witnessed was a changing of the guard: a handoff from one superstar to another — like the one pictured atop this post, only in reverse. Cam clearly has miles (or at least one consistent answer) to go before he can hope to achieve Marshawn-level obfuscation, but if those dangling shoes are a pair he chooses to fill, there’s only one thing to say: “I’m thankful“.