Cam: "I don't dive on 1 fumble because the way my leg was-- it could have been (contorted) in a way. OK, you say my effort. I didn't dive...— Joe Person (@josephperson) February 9, 2016
"...down. I fumbled. That's fine. But we didn't lose that game because of that fumble. I can tell you that" -- Cam— Joe Person (@josephperson) February 9, 2016
Cam Newton certainly didn't help silence his critics during the Super Bowl when a late-game fumble was seemingly there for the taking and he decided not to dive on it. The unwillingness to leap into the fray has some saying he "didn't want it," or that he was afraid of contact. Neither makes sense, but that comes with the territory when you choose not to act in a seemingly critical moment in football's biggest game.
Von Miller came off the edge and blew by right tackle Mike Remmers, as he had done for most of the game. With four minutes left on the clock the ball was stripped from behind, landing feet in front of Newton. What happened next is where this gets tricky.
Initially it appears that he could have made an easy play on the ball, but looking at Newton's legs, he definitely takes an awkward step. So awkward, in fact, that he needs to take a hop back to correct his stance. Could he have dived on the ball? Perhaps, but there's a reasonable expectation that he could have been hurt on the play. Factor in how fast the game was moving and making a split-second decision is difficult.
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
It's also important to note that while recovering the fumble could have given the Panthers a chance to win, not recovering it certainly didn't cause them to lose. At this point it the game it would have been fourth-and-9 with four minutes left. Punting would have taken too much time off the clock and a fourth-down conversion was unlikely -- especially given how dominant the Broncos defense had been throughout the day.
We expect football players to lay everything on the line in critical moments, but there is nothing about Cam Newton's career that suggests he was afraid of getting hit. If that were the case then we wouldn't have seen him spend the last five years running head-first into linebackers, and leaping over the top of the pile. These explanations simply don't make sense.
* * *
Cutting It Short: Cam Newton walks out of his postgame interview
Be sure to subscribe to SB Nation's YouTube channel for highlight videos, features, analysis and more