The game is five days old, but the issue will come up again in Charlotte and other places.
Should a player celebrate a personal victory when he and his team are getting stomped?
As I wrote Friday, he should not.
The New York Giants were pushing the Carolina Panthers all over the field in their nationally televised game Thursday. Perhaps you heard.
With 6 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton scored to cut New Yorks lead to 23-6. The touchdown was less than sensational; Newton scored on a 1-yard run.
After pulling the Panthers within 17 points, Newton did his trademark Superman celebration.
I dont care if Newton, who is only 23, celebrates when his team is winning or at least competing. The NFL creates many rules to ensure that players conform to codes of dress and behavior. Celebrations, however, are not programmed. After a big play, a player is free to create.
But as much as we media, fans and everybody else celebrate the individual, football is a team game.
Newtons team had been hopelessly outclassed for 2 1/2 quarters, and it wasnt as if the quarterback was keeping his team in the game.
So why call attention to yourself after a 1-yard run? Was it to excite the crowd? Is that what it takes to get fans going?
The suddenly aroused fans at Bank of America Stadium made so much noise that on the next play from scrimmage New Yorks Eli Manning probably couldnt hear his pass hit tight end Martellus Bennett over the middle for 29 yards.
For Carolina the end zone probably felt like a myth. Newton was the first Panther to attain it. He probably was thrilled.
All his 1-yard run did was avert a shutout. Thirteen more points would be scored, all by New York.
When a player and his teammates are getting stomped, is a celebration by the losing quarterback defiant or desperate?
You know the answer. A few years from now, Newton will, too.