Broncos Victory Is a Victory for Football

Yesterday’s Super Bowl victory by the Denver Broncos was a very good thing for football, and not only because it allowed us to take vicarious pride in the fitting probable climax of Peyton Manning’s incredible career. A victory for Cam Newton’s Panthers would have further alienated fans who have been drifting away from the game, disgusted by the direction the sport has been taking. Manning is everything an athlete should aspire to be; Newton personifies poor sportsmanship:

Newton’s reactions to his nonstop triumphs even raised the ire of a Tennessee mom who wrote a letter that went viral complaining of his “chest puffs,” “pelvic thrusts” and “arrogant struts and the ‘in your face’ taunting” as the Panthers dismantled the Titans.

After his team bested defending NFC champs the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs — and Newton tossed a Seahawks flag to the turf in celebration — a fan started a petition to have “one of the most unprofessional, unsportsmanlike individuals on the face of the planet” banned from Seahawks home games forever.

And most folks figured the Panthers’ explosive play would propel them to certain victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 — and we’d be treated to one more round of Newton’s exultations.

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Fortunately, we were not subjected to that.

Poor winners also make poor losers. Newton showed up for a postgame press conference yesterday wearing a Trayvon hoodie and behaved like a sulky teenager not quite too old for a spanking.

Even his sullen one-word answers were less discreditable than his performance during the game:

Cam left us with the jarring image of him recoiling from a fumble after Von Miller knocked the ball out of his hands with four minutes left in the game and Carolina trailing, 16-10. Not only did Newton not pounce on the loose football — one that Broncos safety T.J. Ward ultimately recovered at the Panthers’ 9-yard line — but he also jumped back after a couple Broncos defenders dove toward it. It was a decision that his head coach, Ron Rivera, explained by saying Newton “was trying to find a way to get the ball and keep it alive.” A more jaded perspective was that Newton froze at the worst possible moment. … Newton reacted to that ball as if it were a live hand grenade.

Apparently he was afraid he might get hurt. Football can be a rough game.

People have good reason to say, “Let the best man win.” It is better for the game when things turn out that way.

Cam Newton, the anti-Manning.

On tips from Varla. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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