Even if you aren’t a sports fan, the Super Bowl provided plenty of fodder for conversation. Topics range from the best commercials aired during the big game to a critique of the musicians performing during half-time, from the incredibly toned ref calling plays to the lack of ability to stay fit after consuming copious snacks while watching the broadcast. With Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem, one might expect that fashion would be a topic as well. Nevertheless, she wasn’t front and center for once. With an edgy red pantsuit and mismatched footwear, Lady Gaga simply wasn’t a match for the fashion buzz generated by Cam and his pants.
For those readers who are not big sports fans, Cam Newton is the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. His team was 14-1 during the regular season, and the oddsmakers predicted Carolina would be the Super Bowl winner. Cam, an energetic 26 year old who was just named MVP and is a star on the rise, was pitted against a 39 year old quarterback, Peyton Manning, who has struggled with health issues and deflected rumors of impending retirement this season. In the face of this opposition, Cam appeared, well, pretty darn confident. Cue his pants wardrobe.
When I was in college at the University of Georgia years back, a favorite cheer was “You can’t spell Sugar without U-G-A.” This was pre-BCS days, and the goal of SEC teams was to make it to the Sugar Bowl and an SEC crown. The cheer is dated, but the idea is not. Why it still fits today. Let’s see. You can’t spell Panthers without P-A-N-T-S. Yep. All those letters are found in Cam’s team name. So exactly what pants are we talking about? The answer is both literal and figurative.
Literally, Cam is quite a fashionable dresser. He caused a media storm when arriving in California to prepare for the Super Bowl in an eye catching outfit which included an $800+ pair of wild Versace pants. I’ve never owned an $800 pair of pants in my life; even if had such a fashion budget, I doubt these pants would be on my shopping list. The pants did call to mind a wild animal, but–Hey, Cam, you are supposed to play like a panther, not dress like one.
Figuratively, I believe pants tell the story of Cam better than a football. He has tried to charm the pants off of fans by giving touchdown balls to children in the stands. Who wouldn’t love a guy like that? He projects a smarty pants image by dressing fashionably in a blazer and capris for a press conference. His outfit screams that he’s no dumb jock–he’s got athletic prowess and a fashion sense as well. He exudes confidence and is clearly a team leader; his fellow players know who wears the pants on their team.
But image doesn’t cut it on the playing field. Cam got caught with his pants down in the big game. A ball stripped from his hands resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Broncos. He failed to give it his all and pounce on yet another loose ball in the red zone resulting in a turnover towards the end of the game. Was overconfidence his downfall? Did he get too big for his britches?
Based on the post-game press conference, a resounding “YES” is the compelled answer. Cam sat there in his stained uniform pants and dejectedly sulked. His negative emotions ate at him like he had ants in his pants. Finally, he took his marbles and went home. The report is pending on whether he was holding his breath until he turned a shade of blue to match that on the Panthers’ uniforms.
Really, Cam? If you play with the big boys, sometimes you lose. In fact, half the professional teams lose on a weekly basis; that’s the nature of the game. Seems like it might be time to put on your big boy pants and face the fact that you are not perfect and will sometimes (GASP) lose. If I were your momma, I’d give you a swift kick in the pants for your childish behavior following the loss. No matter how much you make or how fancy and expensive the pants you put on, Cam, you still put them on one leg at a time like the rest of us. Yes, you may be a Panther, but you are also human.