Over the course of their run to Super Bowl 50, one of the recurring discussions about the Panthers has been about the penchant for on-field celebrations and other expressions of their players’ personalities.
Quarterback Cam Newton has frequently been in the middle of those conversations, but he’s not buying the narrative that coach Ron Rivera’s willingness to let players be themselves is a driving factor in the team’s success.
On Tuesday, Newton said that people “get detoured” by discussions about what happens outside the “four to six seconds” that it can take to run a play during a game. The rest, according to the quarterback, is “fluff.”
“When people see us play, that’s after those four to six seconds when we’re doing that,” Newton said. “When those four to six seconds happen, you see 11 guys offensively, defensively and special teams that’s locked in and dialed in, and that’s what people overlook at times. Yeah, we have a lot of character and charisma and a lot of personality in the locker room, but yet the big picture that everyone should be talking about is those four to six seconds. You got guys that can do this or got guys that can do that, but the importance is when that ball is snapped, you’re where you’re supposed to be and you do what you’re supposed to be doing no matter who you are.”
Newton’s comments are similar to ones that he and other Panthers have made in the past in reference to questions about whether they celebrate too much on the field. The Panthers’ take has been that it is up to the other team to stop them during those four to six seconds if they don’t want to see Carolina celebrate. The 17-1 record that the Panthers bring into Super Bowl 50 speaks to how rarely opponents have been able to do that and how much more that on-field execution ultimately matters to winning and losing football games.