NFL Network analyst and Hall of Fame defensive back Deion Sanders was on ESPN’s “First Take” show Friday and was asked about Cam Newton, and why Russell Wilson didn’t face the type of scrutiny during his Super Bowl weeks that Newton is facing in his.
Newton has dealt with a lot of questions about his race in the run up to Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos. Wilson didn’t face this type of narrative during his appearance in the past two Super Bowls.
“Russell Wilson is closer to a traditional quarterback,” Sanders said. “The mold is (Tom) Brady. The mold is (Peyton) Manning. Russell Wilson is that type of guy with a lot of athleticism, Aaron Rodgers-esque. Cam Newton is a whole ‘nother dude. He’s not running a traditional offense. He’s running an offense with a little college tendency in it. Russell Wilson is not dabbing when he scores. Russell Wilson is a very polite, very conscious baseball player, very cerebral. He’s not going to do anything to threaten authority.”
Sanders said Newton is a totally different player.
“Cam, on the other hand,” Sanders said, “is Cam.”
(Sanders then started singing a ‘90s hit by the R&B group Guy called “Teddy’s Jam.” He does it often on NFL Network. When lead singer Aaron Hall starts the song singing “Jam...Whoa Jam...Teddy jam for me,” Sanders replaces “Jam,” with “Cam.”)
“Cam is College Park, Georgia,” Sanders said. “Cam is this generation’s guy.”
Sanders said his appreciation of Newton is constantly growing.
“I love where Cam is right now,” Sanders said. “I get upset when a guy gets to a certain level and they flip on us and want us to believe this is who you really are. This is Cam. This is who he really is.”
Sanders also discussed criticism of Newton’s end zone celebrations.
“Cam’s a quarterback who is scoring often,” he said. “We don’t have a problem with (Aaron Rodgers’) discount doublecheck (celebration). Matter of fact, (Rodgers) made millions off of it. We didn’t have a problem with Brett Favre running around aimlessly on the field doing his thing. We don’t have a problem when Brady comes over and headbutts the whole team. Cam is scoring at a rate we hadn’t seen a quarterback score on his own, not on a pass play, on his own. And when he lands in the end zone, now he’s on the celebration aspect of everything and that’s when we start to criticize because we haven’t seen a quarterback score at this rate.”
Sanders had one final point, offering that NFL game analysts also play a role in Newton’s acceptance, or lack of it, from the general public.
“Most of our games are being commentated by old quarterbacks from the old regime,” Sanders said. “They throw out little subtle jabs throughout the whole game that shape your mind. You have no understanding or idea that they’re shaping your mind. This is their thought process. They were simple drop back quarterbacks, one read, two read and throw the ball away. They’re not gonna run.”