First of all, I think that it is unfortunate that more tweets, posts and uploads are about what happened after the game than during it. The sad part is that I am not sure if that is an embellishment or not. Usually you would hear a lot about the commercials, halftime show (Janet Jackson anyone?) or something that occurred on the field but my timeline was stocked with post-game comments from both quarterbacks.
I get it though. On one side you had Peyton Manning who was looking to ride off into the sunset (or that’s maybe what people want) after an illustrious career in the NFL. On the other side was Cam Newton who has been a lightning rod for comments this year because of his “excessive” celebrations and the I-did-it-my-way mentality. If ever there were a demarcation in opposition, you found it in this game. Part of me feels that race plays, at the very least, a big part in the perception of the opposing quarterbacks but that is another post in and of itself.
So let’s get to the shenanigans and I will give you my take on them…
Cam Newton’s Press Conference
After the game Cam was required to have a press conference answering some tough questions. Here is the video:
Cam was ripped for this by just about every former player, coach and those “in the know” with the NFL. Deion Sanders had this to say (Yahoo Sports):
“You are the face of our brand right now, you can’t do that,” Deion Sanders said after the game. “I understand the emotions of losing, but you can’t do that. A Manning, a Brady … all these guys who are a prototypical type of quarterback in our game, they’re not going to do that ever. Would Drew Brees ever?”
I understand Cam right now. He is in the thick of things and all of that emotion has erupted into a volcanic explosion. When I look at his face I see a man who invested everything he had into this game and was completely annihilated. The Broncos’ defensive scheme was something he could not overcome. He is disappointed and now he does not want to even think about fielding questions. But here is my problem with what he did. He did not act like a leader should. It is easy to lead your team when you are easily dabbing your way into wins but how do you act when adversity comes your way? MLK’s famous quote is appropriate here:
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
If he truly is the face of the franchise then he needs to man up and handle it like a leader should. He is going to get better and I get that he was in the heat of the moment but he should have handled it better. Someone wise once told me that difficult times do not shape your character rather it reveals your character. Last night revealed a lot about Cam but I actually don’t mind his dabbing and other antics. He is an amazing player and I think he will respond well from this loss and lead them to next year back into the Superbowl. This is merely a speed-bump.
Peyton Manning’s Post Game Comments
Last night we watched the Superbowl with folks at our church. As I was cleaning up I heard Jim Nantz and Tracy Wolfson interviewing Peyton and I cringed a bit because I knew people would fire away. Here they are (Thanks to thebiglead for the videos):
And here is the one with Tracy Wolfson:
First I want to address his “drink a lot of beers” comment. All across the state of Tennessee I felt the collective gasps of churchgoers everywhere as he uttered those comments. I wish he would not have said that but he didn’t talk about partying it up rather he said, “I am going to celebrate with my family.” I think our evangelical culture (particularly in the South) has push-back when it comes to someone drinking alcohol even in moderation. Rightfully so, in many respects, as there are so many alcoholics across the globe and it is an epidemic among so many people. Yet, my take from Peyton Manning and the body of his work is that he is not an alcoholic (I could be fooled) and is, at best, a moderate partaker of alcohol. This did not waver my perception of Peyton whatsoever but I still wish he wouldn’t have said it.
Secondly Peyton said he was going to say a prayer to, “the man upstairs.” I saw this tweet after the comment:
I understand where Mary is coming from and I want to admit that Peyton is not a spokesman for Christianity. His concept of the divine though is hard to judge because we really are left in the dark at where he is at with his “faith.” It seems to me that comments like the tweet above border on the intent of judging Jesus alludes to in Matthew 7:1. Not all judgment is bad but this tweet seems to teeter on that line a bit. What would have been better for him to say? “I am going to say a prayer to the divine that dwells within but also in the heavenly realm?” I am all for using better language that speaks to God in terms that honors Scripture but I also practice grace with people who are not as theologically trained as I am. I bet there were millions of people who said, “You’re absolutely right!” when Peyton addressed God as “the man upstairs.”
God is not a man or woman or anything that created language can adequately describe but Peyton’s comments were more about gratitude than grandeur. Sometimes we need to just back off a bit, take a deep breath and just relax.