Cam Newton made a bad football play.
That’s a fact, it’s indisputable. Cam absolutely should have just dove on the football, kept possession, and gotten back in the huddle. You will get no argument from me on that. One of the first things you’re taught in Pop Warner is “Don’t. Try. And. Pick. It. Up. Just fall on it,” Cam didn’t listen to that advice, the advice beaten into everyone who’s ever played football, last night.
But Cam also didn’t think, “Eh, there are some mean guys down there and I don’t want to get hurt.” He didn’t quit on his team and decide the reward of keeping the ball, down six, with four minutes left in the Super Bowl was outweighed by the risk of potentially getting a bruise.
People keep calling it a “business decision.” Our boy Pete Blackburn did last night, an ESPN radio host did this afternoon, and even Big Cat did this morning. I love Big Cat dearly, but I don’t understand that at all. I could be wrong, but I look at that Vine and I see a guy thinking “Go pick up the ball and make a play” right up until he sees bodies flying in, realizes that isn’t a feasible option, and decides to jump and fall on the ball (he does fall on the ball. It hits him in the leg). Cam Newton isn’t running to the ball, doing Will Hunting math and weighing Under Armour or Oikos yogurt endorsements, only to realize how much money he’ll lose if he gets hurt in that pile and decide it’s not worth it. He’s just not.
You want to say Cam doesn’t have a Brady instinct because Brady dives on that ball every time? You are correct. Tom Brady dives on that football a million times out of a million, but Tom Brady also knows that when a ball hits the ground the play is over for him, Cam can still make something happen if he gets it back.
Did Cam make a bad play? Definitely. Should he have dove? Absolutely. But I can’t agree with anyone who thinks he intentionally avoided this out of fear of injury. He played with a broken back on a 7-8-1 team, he’s a guy who lays it on the line in the Super Bowl. In my opinion, he tried to make a play then tried to put himself in better position to fall on the ball (which worked, by the way, there’s a reason it hits him in the leg).
And anyone who thinks I’m wrong, guess what? Andy Buckley aka David Wallace aka Andy the Matel executive is on my side so fuck all y’all.