Cam Newton wasn't himself during his postgame news conference Sunday night.
All season long we've seen the happy, dancing, likable quarterback that led the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season record and an easy romp through the postseason.
But after a 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 -- during which Newton lost two fumbles and completed 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards with no touchdowns and one interception -- we saw a different guy.
He had very little to say, giving short and sometimes barely audible answers to most questions and choosing not to respond to some questions at all (like the one about why he chose not to dive after one of his fumbles deep in his team's territory). Then he abruptly ended it all by getting up and saying, "I'm done, man."
Some have suggested the reason Newton left at that point might have been that he, and everyone else, could hear Broncos players giving boisterous news conferences of their own. In the video posted above, one of those Denver players, identified by USA Today as cornerback Chris Harris, can be heard loudly discussing the Broncos' defensive strategy and yelling the words, "Can you pass the ball?"
Nonetheless, Newton's behavior didn't sit well with some of the legends of the game.
"To have that kind of emotion makes a lot of sense. It's just that you're the MVP. You're the guy that's going to be the face of the franchise, you're the face of the NFL going forward, you were the dabber," Hall of Fame quarterback and current ESPN analyst Steve Young said of Newton. "This is the moment to actually show that resilience on the other side. And so, stand in there, answer the questions. It's three minutes. ... Even if you just spit the words out, take a deep breath, answer the questions."
Hall of Fame cornerback and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders had a similar reaction after the news conference.
"I understand the emotions of losing, but you can't do that," he said. "A Manning, a Brady -- all these guys that have been a prototypical type of quarterback in our game, they're not going to do that ever. Would Drew Brees ever?"
Sanders added: "You're opening yourself for more criticism, 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?"
But Marshall Faulk, a Hall of Fame running back and Sanders' NFL Network colleague, had a different perspective.
"Until you've lost this game and sat on that stage and have those feelings in you, you have no idea what that feels like to get peppered with questions about how you played, how your team played, what coulda, shoulda, woulda," said Faulk, who won Super Bowl XXXIV and lost Super Bowl XXXVI with the St. Louis Rams.
"Talking to Cam right now does no good. When Cam watches this, he's going to learn from it."
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