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Outside The Hash Marks

January 29, 2016

It’s been four years since Cam Newton played his last down for Auburn University, ending a one-year stint at Auburn that was one of the greatest seasons in athletics history. Ever since then, he has made us all look like outright fools.

Very rarely do random fights in the middle of the season mean anything, but something felt different about Newton’s pseudo-scuffle with Tennessee’s Avery Williamson. It felt like something was starting. He disliked Cam’s swagger, as many fans do.

At six feet, five inches and 245 pounds, he could definitely hold his own. But he took the typical Cam route, and just danced in his face, destroying everything we thought we knew about professional athletes. And I don’t just mean by breaking Steve Young’s quarterback rushing record in five years.

When you look at the traditional types of the world, they have fun, but in a very clean, professional sense. They’re having fun at work. They just enjoy what they do, but it’s still work.

You’ll see Brady scream after touchdowns in important spots, or Peyton Manning do the Manning fist-pump. But only in certain situations. Otherwise, it’s work. Fun work, but work. That’s what we have decided a quarterback is, apparently.

So, going back to that game against the Titans. Newton’s touchdown run put the game away, but that game was never really in doubt. He didn’t break any records at that moment. But he found a camera, initiated our cultural obsession with the dab and then did it again when confronted.

This is not a job for Cam Newton. When he said he wanted to be a generational icon when he was drafted, not just an athlete, he wasn’t kidding. He’s out there having the time of his life, win or lose.

Does he sulk after bad outings? Sure. But he’s having fun the entire time. He’s playing what essentially is a glorified game, and has turned it back into a game. He loves this in an honest way that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Go back and think about that last quarterback who was this loud about his happiness. Brett Favre, maybe? Even his gun-slinging fun seems far removed from Newton’s antics. He never chucked a flag tossed to him from a fan, because it had the wrong logo.

Maybe Phillip Rivers, but he gets far too competitive. There is no quarterback, no athlete, that has fun in the natural way that Newton does.

With the Super Bowl on the horizon and the rest of his career in front of him, I hope that doesn’t get eroded by the grind of playing a game as a job.

Anthony Adams
Sports Columnist

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