The friendly wit and charm of Cam Newton was nowhere to be found on Sunday night. The Carolina Panthers quarterback gave brief or one-word answers to reporters before abruptly walking out of the Super Bowl 50 post-game interview.
Newton appeared distant and despondent when speaking with reporters following the Denver Broncos' 24-10 upset victory at Levi’s Stadium, and much of the change in attitude may have had to do with Newton’s poor play.
Newton mostly said things like," Got outplayed bro, got outplayed," or "Nothing different," when asked how Denver was able to swarm and attack him for six sacks.
The 26-year-old had his worst passing performance of the season, completing just 18 of his 41 pass attempts for a season-worst 43.9 percentage. Newton also committed three turnovers after turning the ball over 15 times in the regular season.
In the two weeks leading up to Newton’s first appearance in the Super Bowl, much of the hoopla involved his outgoing personality as he made his Super Bowl debut. And throughout media night and in various interviews, Newton was open, candid, and honest.
But a loss in the Super Bowl, especially when you were the leader of the favored team and the league's MVP, can cause most athletes to sulk. However, there was a previous example of Newton not being gracious in defeat.
Back in Week 15, when the Panthers saw their run for perfection snapped by AFC South rival Atlanta, Newton and many other Panthers simply walked off the field in a poor display of sportsmanship.
"If you handle yourself with class, you don't have to worry about that," Falcons linebacker O’Brien Schofield said to ESPN in Week 15. "But you see, they didn't handle themselves with class the first time we played [when Carolina won 38-0]. So I didn't care about how they were feeling after this game. I was 'dabbing' all in their faces.
"They took a picture during the game and posted it on social media the first time we played. It was a whole team picture. And Cam was running up and down the sidelines. There wasn't none of that today. We played a football game today. I'm not even a trash talker, but when someone disrespects you and you get payback and then they can't handle it, that's glorious. If they could handle it, it would be cool. I probably wouldn't have even 'dabbed.' But I was 'dabbing' in front of everybody.
Here’s a video of Newton’s post-game press conference after the Super Bowl.