“Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” ~ Vince Lombardi
This is the most recent quote Cam Newton has misused as a cop out for his antics during the Super Bowl post-game press conference. Originally mouthed by arguably the most iconic face of the National Football League, Vince Lombardi. Hell, the championship trophy is named after him! Is, “its ok to be a sore loser” what Vince was really trying to portray in his quote? I think not…
Let’s take a step back first to explain how we get to where we are today.
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers played in the Super Bowl this past weekend. They played the Denver Broncos. Without going into much detail, it was a hard fought game defensively, on both sides. Ultimately, the Broncos made the one or two plays that vaulted them to the championship win. Their game plan to stop Cam from running wild was executed to near perfection, and the MVP quarterback struggled all game.
After the game, the two teams did their respective press conferences, as usual. What was unusual was that the two stages for this were side by side. Typically, these press conferences are away from each other, in respect of the two teams. Not this time. Cam’s demeanor during his time at the presser was irritable at best. One word answers, or ignoring the questions all together were the recently crowned MVP’s shots at (or lack thereof) having a productive interview. Finally, he decides to leave the interview early, not unlike a spoiled child who didn’t get his way. Understandably, somewhat, because he had just lost the biggest game in his life. It was apparent that he was sore about losing. Don’t get me wrong, I hate losing. Growing up playing sports, I hated it so much, that I worked on my game outside of scheduled practices to hopefully lessen the chances of having to take a loss. My emotions raged for a while following a loss, and that was just the competitor in me. Same goes for Cam, his competitiveness and drive to succeed in the ultimate sport came up just a little bit short. Of course you are going to be down.
But that does not excuse you from acting like a spoiled brat.
After the press conference debacle, it came out that due to the close proximity of the winner & loser press conference stages, Cam could hear one of the Broncos defensive players breaking down their game plan for Cam and the Panthers offense. No biggie, right? Wrong, that was the reason Cam left the interview early. He couldn’t stand to overhear what millions of viewers saw first-hand. If that was the first he was figuring out what the game plan was against him, then the Panthers offense has bigger problems than an early exit to the post game presser. I kid, I kid, LOL! Hell, I knew what the Bronco defense was trying to do before Cam got stripped sacked for a touchdown in the first quarter. That was not a reason for Cam to pout, tuck his tail and run, and definitely not a way for the current MVP to act, in my opinion.
Now, to bring us current and back to the aforementioned Lombardi quote, Cam is on record as admitting he is a sore loser, then busts out the quote…”show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” In NO WAY does that mention, imply, insinuate, express, teach, etc. that being a sore loser is acceptable. Quite the opposite really. As I mentioned earlier, no one likes to lose. No one is good at losing. If you were, then yes, you probably lose the majority of the time. What Lombardi was trying to express is not that if you happen to lose, pout and act like a child. What he was trying to say is this, don’t be ok with losing. Work harder, study harder, prepare harder so the next time you are in that situation, you cannot lose. Don’t be satisfied in defeat, learn from it, and work your ass off to improve. That is what Lombardi meant.
Typically, quarterbacks are looked at as the leaders of their respective teams. The William Wallace’s of the NFL, who lead their teams into battle. The ones who stay on an even keel, when the going gets tough. The ones who rise above, and put the team on their shoulders when adversity strikes. On top of being the Panthers QB, and the recently crowned MVP of the league, he should conduct himself accordingly. Being gracious in defeat, as well as victory is not a sign of weakness, but rather the character of a true champion. We are all put in situations we don’t want to be in, and we all have to do things we don’t want to do…suck it up! Be a leader by expressing how remarkable your season really was, or the expectations you have going into the off-season & into next year. Do not whine, pout, sulk, or make excuses. You’re a grown ass man, act like it!
Kids, and some adults see their heroes, their role models act in this manner, and the tendency is to emulate it. This kind of selfish behavior sends the wrong message about sportsmanship, competition, attitude, accountability and especially overcoming adversity. I have no doubt that Cam Newton will be back in the Super Bowl. Probably sooner rather than later. My hope is that he mentally prepares himself as hard as he physically prepares himself this off-season, because if he can learn to lead his team through adversity, and rise above defeat (in any manner) they may well go undefeated next season. My hope is that, moving forward, he is as much a leader through the adverse times, as he is through the good, like when he hands out game balls following a Panthers touchdown. My expectation for Cam comes from another great quote from Lombardi, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
As always, let me know what you think…