If Cam Newton took joy from the New England Patriots losing Sunday night, he certainly didn’t show it Tuesday.
Newton’s Carolina Panthers (11-0) are the only undefeated team left in the NFL following the Patriots’ loss to Denver, and with that comes even more scrutiny and, presumably, pressure.
“I could (not) care less,” Newton said. “We all know it’s only ink for the media. We can’t make it bigger than what it is. Nothing’s changed for our preparation. It’s all about becoming 1-0 by the end of Sunday. That’s what it’s all about.”
The Panthers are flying high right now. They’re atop nearly every national outlet’s power rankings after New England lost in overtime to the Broncos.
If the Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Carolina will lock up the NFC South crown for the third consecutive year. And the Panthers will have done it before ever playing the Falcons.
Carolina would be the ninth team in NFL history to start 12-0. The other eight teams all made the playoffs, six of them advanced to the Super Bowl and four won it all.
On Tuesday, the preparation for the Saints began for the Panthers, after a long weekend for the players. Newton spent his Friday courtside at the Hornets-Cavaliers game before going to a rap concert in Charlotte at which he danced on stage.
On Saturday he was the honorary captain for Auburn at the Iron Bowl. Before the game he encountered a fan who made an apparent reference to a pay-for-play scheme nearly six years ago, and Newton was captured on tape saying he’d slap the guy before walking away.
The Vine documenting the encounter has since been deleted. Later, after the game, Newton was seen riding a hoverboard in stopped traffic as fans yelled his name from the sidewalks.
“At the end of the day I do what I want to do and I said it in all respects of understanding what I stand for,” said Newton when asked if he had to be more careful in an age where everything is documented. “I had a pretty good Thanksgiving weekend. It was good to be around friends and family.”
And, Newton said, if he can make it to Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday night, he’ll see Panthers fan and fellow Under Armour endorser Stephen Curry play.