Don’t stop now. Keep it up. The team needs you!
The Carolina Panthers, by way of their enigmatic quarterback Cam Newton, have stayed in the mouths of the national media and general public. From “how tight will Cam’s pants be this week” to “how or who will Newton offend in today’s presser,” Carolina’s QB1 always finds himself the topic of something controversial; all while leading the Panthers to a 4-1 record with wins over the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and a playoff caliber Detroit Lions team.
But what happened? Isn’t this the same team and quarterback who were supposed to pick up where they left off last year after going 15-1 during the 2015 regular season?
Some will say Cam wasn’t healthy, and yes that may have played a factor. It does appear that Newton’s passes are less labored after his off-season shoulder surgery. Others will say the departure of Josh Norman and other key players in that 2015 Super Bowl season changed the dynamic of the team – another explanation that has some validity. That young Panthers’ secondary got exposed many a time last year.
But I’d argue there’s one thing that mirrors the 2015 season that has contributed more than anything on the field to the Panthers 4-1 record. Controversy.
Y’all remember the Tennessee Mom’s Letter?
Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter. The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the ‘in your face’ taunting of both the Titans’ players and fans. We saw it all.
I refuse to believe you don’t realize you are a role model. You are paid millions of dollars every week to play hard and be a leader. In the off season you’re expected to make appearances, support charities, and inspire young kids to pursue your sport and all sports. With everything the NFL has gone through in recent years, I’m confident they have advised that you are, by virtue of your position and career choice, a role model.
Or the flack Newton got for doing his superman celebration, dabbing, and even giving kids in the football after scoring.
…quarterbacks are not really known for boisterous on-field celebrations, and clearly, opponents are growing tired of Newton’s end zone act.
Or his declaration that he knows the fact that he’s an unapologetically black quarterback who is true to his roots may scare people.
Sprinkle in a little beef between Josh Norman and some of the top receivers in the league and you have 15-1 in 2015.
There’s something about controversy that brings this team together. They started the season in the news after the abrupt firing of general manger Dave Gettleman and have stayed in it since with the national anthem controversy and Newton’s comments to Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue. I’m not saying Carolina will rally off another 11 wins, but the Panthers certainly have a better shot at it if they’re coming together to drown out the distractions and dismissing the hate off the field with their play on it.
So, national media and general public, in the illustrious words of 20th century poet Uncle Luke, “Don’t stop. Get it. Get it.”