Playing for the Patriots typically means leaving a significant chunk of a person’s individuality at the door. Which has raised the question of whether Cam Newton will still be Cam Newton while playing for Bill Belichick.
There surely will be an adjustment, like there is for anyone who previously didn’t play for the Patriots and now does. But it won’t be nearly as extreme as some have suggested.
Consider this clip from Felger & Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, as harvested and posted by the @BackAftaThis Twitter account. The hosts debate whether Cam will continue his Superman celebration in New England, with Michael Felger speaking disapprovingly of the gesture and suggesting that Bill Belichick won’t allow it.
For starters, Belichick allows it. Look at this compilation of Patriots celebrations. Newton has a trademark first-down celebration, his Superman touchdown gesture, and a habit of finding a child in the stands to whom to give the football. None of that is problematic or objectionable or in any way contrary to the Patriot Way.
“No Superman,” Felger nevertheless said. “I don’t wanna see Superman. Bill doesn’t wanna see Superman. He doesn’t want you taunting the opponent like that.”
Click here. It will take you to the spot in the Patriots celebration compilation where Tom Brady throws a touchdown pass to Mike Vrabel in Super Bowl XLIX against the Eagles — and Vrabel taunts the Eagles by flapping his arms like they were wings. (Safety Rodney Harrison did the same thing after icing the game with an interception.)
Rich Eisen of NFL Network pulled no punches in responding to the argument that Belichick won’t tolerate the “celebrating and showboating” of Cam Newton.
“This is absurd,” Eisen tweeted. “Cam is an absolute delight. He gives footballs to delighted children when he scores. Way to cement the stereotype that Boston sports fans are only happy when they’re unhappy.”
So, yes, Cam will still be Cam on the football field. He’ll pause before smiling and dramatically pointing with both hands after gaining a first down. He’ll pretend to rip open his shirt to reveal an “S” under it when scoring a touchdown. He’ll find a child in the stands to whom he’ll give the ball. And Belichick won’t have an issue with any of it.