In the end zone, Newton favors the Superman celebration, pretending to open his shirt to reveal an S on his chest.
It’s all good-natured and fun. The NFL has long been bashed as the “No Fun League” because referees try to squash player celebrations. They won’t let players dunk on the crossbar for crying out loud. My stance has always been to let them have fun. I enjoy bat flips in baseball. I like the big balls dance in the NBA. I can do the Icky Shuffle. I’ve been known to throw up the three goggles in basketball on occasion if I hit a big 3-pointer.
Newton is popular among fans, and at least once during his career, his jersey has been among the best-selling in the NFL. He’s tremendous in the Charlotte community. He’s well-liked by teammates, and has a spotless record off the field as a pro.
But quarterbacks are not really known for boisterous on-field celebrations, and clearly, opponents are growing tired of Newton’s end zone act.
Last week, Julius Peppers wouldn’t give Newton the ball to celebrate – in reality, Newton wanted to give the ball to a fan in the front row, something he does often.
Sunday, Newton was carving up the Titans. Tennessee, a bad team, put up a spirited fight for 3-plus quarters. At one point, Avery Williamson, a little-known linebacker, was so thrilled to sack the Panthers QB, he celebrated with Drake’s “Hotline Bling” dance.
Don’t think Newton didn’t notice. As you now know, Newton scored the game’s final TD with less than three minutes left, and this time, the Superman wasn’t enough: He decided to do some elaborate, look-at-me, look-at-me dance that lasted :10. Williamson saw it, and had some words for Newton; when the ref stepped in, Cam kept doing the dance. This almost seemed personal – perhaps a Kentucky/Auburn SEC thing? The dance certainly appeared outside of the norm for Newton.
Afterward, Newton was asked about it, and said this:
He’s not wrong, obviously.
What a lot of folks seem to be missing here:
1) You’re up two scores with three minutes left against a 2-win team. Was this really necessary for an MVP candidate?
2) If Newton does his normal Superman move, or brings the ball to someone in the 1st row … this discussion isn’t happening on social media. Why bust out the :10 dance in this spot?
3) Is this going to become a thing? Turn up the celebration level a notch each week, with each score? Because eventually, somebody’s going to cheap shot Newton, which isn’t something I condone, but we see it happen in baseball and basketball all the time. It’s stupid, and Cam is 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, but eventually, somebody is going to send him a message.
4) It reminds me of a young NBA star on the rise, a player who had won nothing, but enjoyed fun dancing with teammates. Eventually, this player danced mid-game during a rout, got called out for doing it … and I’m pretty sure after this incident, LeBron stopped all those silly dances during the game.