Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Watching the Super Bowl last Sunday, I was reminded why we watch the games. It was really easy to imagine Carolina steamrolling Denver in a Super Bowl rout. A Panther win made sense. In watching the Panthers dismantle a very good Arizona Cardinals team…it was difficult to envision Peyton Manning leading his Broncos to victory against such a dominant defense. I admit, I am a sucker for happy endings. I have nothing against Carolina, but I was pulling for Peyton to get a win in what should be his final game. I think most fans enjoy seeing big time players going out on top. John Elway, Cal Ripken, Ted Williams…these are the names we think about as guys leaving the right way. I realize that Manning did not want to make a rash decision regarding retirement…but my guess is he is done. What is funny to me, is I think Peyton gave us a big clue about leaving the game. It was the quote about going to drink some Budweiser. While some were quick to assume that Peyton was pimping Bud, I think there was more to this quote.
Manning could have easily said beer instead of Budweiser, but he was specific in using a brand name…twice. Of course, this is a big no-no and something that will always elicit a fine from the league…unless he does not plan to be here next season. I could be wrong about this, but since Anheuser Busch has denied any deal with Manning, it is the only thing that makes sense to me. By the way…nobody drinks Budweiser any more, it is almost always Bud Lite. I did a bit of research and Bud Lite dominates the domestic beer market. 33 states list Bud Lite as the beer of choice. For you Samuel Adams guys…sad to say that the majority of Massachusetts beer drinkers favor Bud Lite in your state as well. And I have no idea what they are doing in Utah as they list Polygamy Nitro Porter as their favorite brew. Here is the survey to check out:
I have maintained many times that Super Bowl wins are a team stat and don’t accurately define the game’s best QBs. If ever there was a game that proved my point, it was Super Bowl 50. Let’s be honest…both QB’s played terrible in this game. The old saying about defenses winning championships was proven right again. For all of those people that love to hate Peyton Manning, the ending to this story had to be a bitter pill. Honestly though…what a great story. The aging QB forgotten because of injury and a failing body manages to lead his team into the big game one last time. The fact that they won was more important than how they did it. If you can’t enjoy this story, you may be a sports Grinch, with a heart three sizes too small. Check yourself…did you cry when Ole Yeller died? Did you cheer when Rocky beat Clubber Lang? Or were you a fan of Darth Vader. Like it or not, it is the unknown in stories that keeps us tuning in to watch the games we love. Even when it appears a team will have their ass handed to them…you never know. The story of Peyton Manning will be told and retold forever more…like it or not, you can’t change history.
It was startling for me to realize that I watched Super Bowl I and now Super Bowl 50. There have been a few that I missed along the way, but not many. There is no question that the game has changed tremendously during the past 50 years. There are many changes that I dislike, but probably the most obvious to me is the amount of criticism heaped upon the players through social media. Tim expressed a comment on Monday that got me to thinking. So often, the loudest critics often seem to have the least amount of experience playing the game. The thing that many young players miss in their quest to reach the Super Bowl, is that with the bright lights and huge stage…people will remember what you do. There is no doubt that Cam Newton is one of the great talents in the game today. It is impossible to ignore his talent and the progression that he made this season. I was disappointed with Newton’s behavior in the post-game press conference. I think that Newton showed his immaturity in how he responded to losing. I have a feeling that he will have a difficult time living down that press conference. In some ways, I suspect that press conference will haunt Cam similar to LeBron’s press conference announcing his plan to leave Cleveland. I hope that Cam can find counsel that can help him to understand what it means to be the NFL MVP. When you are the face of the league, you are held to a higher standard. Having said that, I think it is low class that the NFL would hold a press conference that required a player to sit and listen to the winning team criticize his play. For all of you eager to criticize, put yourself in that situation and try to imagine how difficult it would be to not walk off the stage. An extremely tough task…but when you dance and dab, after a victory…you have to be strong enough to face the media when you lose.
While some will continue to criticize Cam Newton for his behavior after the game, my biggest concern was in how he responded during the game. Down by 6 points with less than 4 minutes left in the game…how do you not give effort to attempt to recover a fumble? If I am in that Carolina locker room…I have to question the heart of Cam Newton. Seriously…this is a big deal. When asked about his lack of effort to recover the fumble, his answer was lame. He basically said the position he was in could have caused him to be injured, if he had attempted to recover the fumble. As bad as that answer was, this was worse…”that was not the reason we lost”. Okay, so maybe Cam does things differently than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or even Russell Wilson…the fact that he pulled away from the ball tells me he has no heart. The NFL is a tough place to play. Teams that win are led by players that have a burning desire to win. Champions are players willing to give great effort in extreme circumstances. They fight until the game is over. The more I think about this SB performance, I am less convinced that Cam Newton has the qualities necessary to be a champion. But this is just the beginning of a long story…the ending may well provide a surprise. There is no doubt we will be watching.
Given a couple of days to reflect on the game, Cam refused to apologize on Tuesday. He seems to think that the criticism means that the public thinks he should be like other QB’s. He refuses to conform or bend who he is. His excuse for his behavior is that he is a sore loser. He believes that it is okay to pout after a loss… (At least his response would seem to indicate this belief). The thing that he has to come to terms with is that a loss can provide a better understanding of how to win. It is also important for him to remember that a loss reveals character. Winning is easy, dealing with a loss is much more difficult.
In all the celebration and camera time…Wade Phillips somehow remained out of sight. So it was a bit surprising to me that Phillips weighed in with this tweet: “A little Dab will do you, but too much Dab will undo you.” Ouch…
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
When the age of the Vikings came to a close, they must have sensed it. Probably they gathered together one evening, slapped each other on the back and said, “Hey, good job.”
I hope when they die, cartoon characters have to answer for their sins.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…