Without question, Cam Newton is a tremendous talent. He is a lethal combination of speed and power with a rocket arm paired with the smarts to dismantle the most complex of NFL defenses.
However, Cam’s behavior on the turf at Levi Stadium and especially in the post game press conference was more than just a loss.
Some called it a meltdown, others saw it as bad sportsmanship, while many other commentators have described it as childish.
I would rather like to believe that what we saw was the creation and the burning of a Phoenix.
Cam, just like the bird in Greek mythology, will emerge stronger as he arises from the ashes of this crushing Super Bowl defeat.
This will happen if he and all of us will learn three valuable “Phoenix lessons” from this situation.
1.Do not let the celebration outshine your talent
Winning games in the National Football League is hard. This season the Panthers won more of them than any team in the league (17-1).
Winning all of those games takes talent; which Cam and the Panthers have in abundance.
No doubt every first down, touch down and big play should be celebrated. However, when the celebration overshadows the talent then something is wrong.
The Phoenix lesson is this: Let your talent speak louder than your celebrations. Tone it down.
2. Superman does not exist in the NFL
Yes, it takes cockiness and swagger to be an effective NFL quarterback.
The person playing the position must believe that they are the best player on the field and act accordingly.
However, while the quarterback is and should be the man, he is not superman.
The Phoenix lesson is this: The best in any field realizes that humility can be your best friend if you are to be a leader and the face of the team.
3. Being MVP is not being the Most Viewed Pouter
At 26, Cam Newton has all the trappings of a fully grown man.
- Career Success
- Financial Success
Despite the trappings, we saw on display on Sunday a man broken in spirit and publicly humiliated on the field of play which for 17 games he had dominated.
Dr. Martin Luther King said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Entering the 2016 season, Cam Newton and the Panthers will become the hunted. Every team will bring their “A” game, every team will be trying to repeat Denver’s success, and every team will be going after the man who wears #1 on his chest.
The Phoenix lesson for Cam is this: When times get difficult in the 2017 season, he must decide which MVP will show up.
Final Thoughts: We can all rise from the ashes
Like Cam Newton, we all have experiences where:
- We are defeated.
- We are melted down
- We are childish
However, unlike Cam, our bad sportsmanship moments are not witnessed by half the planet in the biggest sporting event ever.
The Phoenix lesson for all of us is that we must always be ready to become a Phoenix.
The burning down of the old, so that the new can rise from the ashes, will help us:
- Get over that bad marriage
- Get that new job after getting fired
- Get that Super Bowl win after the loss
I am pulling for Cam not because he is a Panther but because he is Phoenix. Because in his Super Bowl debacle, I am confident that Cam will emerge stronger, better and this time more capable of completing the task of winning a Super Bowl.