Sunday evening’s Super Bowl did not go at all the way Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had hoped. He and his team lost 10-24 to veteran quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
But what shocked fans more than Newton’s mediocre performance was his behavior at a press conference immediately following the loss.
Newton, a player known for his beaming smile and crowd-pleasing end zone dances, entered the post-game presser scowling. The 26-year-old spoke curtly to reporters, rolling his eyes and and walking off after just the first few questions.
The spectacle understandably garnered some critique from former NFL players speaking on the NFL Network. Notable was Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’ response.
“You are the face of our brand right now, you can’t do that,” Sanders said. “I understand the emotions of losing, but you can’t do that. A Manning, a Brady — all these guys who are a prototypical type of quarterback in our game — they’re not going to do that ever. Would Drew Brees ever?”
Sanders, 48, knows a thing or two about success. The accomplished baseball and football player experienced two Super Bowl wins when he played for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Fransisco 49ers and played in the 1992 World Series with the Atlanta Braves. But his comments regarding Newton’s conduct pointed to what he understands to be the key to acting right regardless of the score: humility.
“You’re opening yourself for more criticism,” he said. “Because everybody is going to say you’re dabbing and smiling and smiling and styling. So this is how you go out when you lose?”
Fellow Hall of Fame inductee and NFL analyst Marshall Faulk, who knows what it’s like to lose a Super Bowl, shared that he understood Newton’s behavior but ultimately agreed with Sanders.
“I’ve been on that podium in that very same seat. It’s tough, it’s hard,” Faulk, whose St. Louis Rams lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI, said. “When I look back at how I handled it, I promised to never be that person again. Cam is going to learn from this.”
“Losing is hard,” Faulk continued. “You can go talk to whoever you want, until you’ve lost this game and sat on this stage … you have no idea what that feels like to get peppered with questions about how you played or how your team played.”
Sanders, a Christian, took to Twitter after the game to share what he believes winning ultimately looks like:
You're the favorite to win the game of life & all u have to do is show up,live with faith,treat people kind,forgive & love & u win
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) February 8, 2016