There’s a war on style, and Cam Newton is the one leading the way. Unless Carolina loses the Super Bowl.
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Cam Newton gave the ball to some other entitled rich kid sitting in a sweet seat, and now I’m mad.
“When Cameron was in Egypt’s land …. Let my Cameron go.”
The three things that’ll be most interesting about the next several days leading up to Super Bowl L – I use Roman Numerals with Super Bowls, as should you.
1. Watching reporters try to “do their job” asking Peyton Manning about the package.
2. Watching New England fans go apespit as the NFL pretends to care about Manning’s package, and then does nothing after America was held hostage for a year by deflated balls – the most ridiculous sports story of our time.
3. The Cool vs. Not Cool quarterback debate that media types will tiptoe around, not knowing quite how to handle it without bringing race into the equation.
But this quarterback matchup isn’t about that. It’s all about style.
Are you among the young, cool crowd, or are you on the old school, haircut-you-can-set-your-watch-to, blue-blood side?
Cam, the pressure is on you to fight for all of us who want to believe that it’s still possible to have fun doing what you love for a living.
Clay vs. Liston in 1964 took on a greater social meaning in a matchup of the brash, rebellious and hip vs. the old guard establishment. So did Super Bowl III when it was Johnny Unitas vs. Joe Namath, and in both cases it was the smart, pretty, hip guy who came away as a legend, and the old, boring, establishment guy who history – at least in the narratives of those two specific events – turned into a sort of villain who needed to be vanquished.
Team-wise, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels of the early 1990s were the coolest of the cool in college basketball, until the Fab Five did them one better.
Those Michigan teams never won a championship at the Big Ten or national level – Butler got to two national title games, too – while Bobby Knight’s Hoosier teams won two Big Ten titles from 1991-1993 and Duke was the real star program of the time. But the Fab Five were cool enough to help change the culture of sports, even without winning a title.
To change the culture of football – or at least move it a little bit more – Cam Newton and Carolina have to win the Super Bowl.
As the current Daily Fantasy situation is proving, the world loves to see people who are having too good a time and making it look too easy crash and burn.
Cam Newton is having too good a time, and some people don’t like that.
The guy is way too beautiful, has too many elite skills, has too much talent, is that strong a leader – at least he developed into one at the NFL level – and is that good a winner, and he’s able to have a blast doing it? Doesn’t he know this is football? Zero fun, sir, football?
And, on top of that, he has a $100 million contract on the way to the Cam Slam with a Heisman, a national title, an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl.
AND he gets to have a good time? That’s just not fair.
But if Cam doesn’t win, and Manning has a decent game and somehow pulls this off, all of a sudden it’s going to strike a huge win for the old squares who believe it takes toil, sweat, pain, and angst to win.
All the sideline joking around, the dab, the selfies, the smiling – that’s all going to go away, or be tempered, and the storyline going forward will be about how Newton is getting serious. Some will throw in the word maturing. Some will say Carolina – the favorite – lost because Manning and Denver were better focused on football and not all the goofy periphery things.
And for that reason alone, Carolina has to win this game. If you can’t have fun being Cam Newton, then what the hell is the point?
Are we really going to be reduced to a life of Bob Costas trying to say “Flo Rida” and worship the ideals of a horrific apocalyptic sports world run by Bill Belichick wannabes?
College coaches are starting to have more fun with their players – every week there’s a new video of a coach dancing with the players – and more and more many are realizing that it’s okay to enjoy the moment.
And then Alabama wins the national championship and Nick Saban is the greatest college coach of all-time.
I’m not going to lie. The old guy side of me wants to see Manning go out with a win, but it’ll be far more to watch Cam stick it to all the stodgy, do things “the right way” types who don’t like him because of his style – and because he doesn’t look like Peyton Manning.
I’ve ceased to be cool a long time ago – if I ever really was – but I’d like to believe it’s possible for cool to win out.
I want to believe you can have fun on the journey, and not just at the destination. Good luck with that, Cam,
Dab away, Superman.