clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cam Newton is the NFL's king of the Dab

New, comments

Newton didn't create the Dab. He wasn't even the first NFL player to do it. But, he's the reason EVERYONE is (over)doing it.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

SB Nation's Super Bowl 50 Coverage

Like its viral dance cousins the Whip, the Nae Nae and the Quan, the Dab recently became a sensation around the world. From musicians to politicians to folks in a retirement home, everyone is hitting the Dab. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton might just be the most famous of those dabbin' as the move has become a signature part of his and the Panthers' season.

Newton is one of seemingly thousands of athletes to do the Dab during a game. College football players -- and coaches -- have done it, NBA players have done it, MLB players have done it, tennis players have done it, even golfers have done it. Newton isn't the only, and wasn't the first, NFL player to break it out. He's simply the most popular. He did it during the regular season, he's done it during the playoffs, and he will surely do it during the Super Bowl. Cam Newton keeps making plays and thus keeps dabbin' on them folks.

What is the Dab?

The Dab is an extremely simple dance move that essentially amounts to extending one arm while leaning into your opposite elbow almost like you are sneezing. For some, it's hard to tell whether they are dancing or literally sneezing. Let's let college football coaches break it down a little further:

Although sports have been obsessed with the Dab, it wasn't Newton or any other athlete who invented it. The exact originator of the move remains up for debate, but a couple things are clear. The Dab craze started in Atlanta among several rappers. Some say the group Migos is responsible for creating it. Others argue Skippa Da Flippa is the originator while others give some credit to Rich The Kid. Essentially there are two consensuses. It started in Atlanta and Bow Wow's explanation for how it originated is wrong.

Was Cam Newton the first athlete to do the Dab?

No, not even close really. There is already enough debate over who created the Dab, so there is no sense in getting into a debate about which athlete did it first. Let's just say there is visual proof that several athletes did it before Newton. The first notable Dab from Newton came during a game on Nov. 15. As Sports Illustrated noted, Bengals running back Jeremy Hill was dabbin' on Sept. 13. Here is LeBron James doing it during a preseason game on Oct. 5.

A video posted by @djstephfloss on

So why is Newton credited with helping it go viral?

While others were dabbin' before Newton, he happened to do it on a bigger stage. As one of the most popular players in the NFL and the QB of the NFC's best team, there was an extra spotlight on Newton's every move. It also didn't hurt that his first foray into dabbin' came with a bit of controversy.

Newton first did the Dab after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans. No one may have noticed if Titans defenders didn't notice, but Titans defenders definitely noticed. Newton dabbed and did a couple other moves in the end zone and Tennessee defenders took issue with it. That led to a confrontation and a whole lot of attention on Newton doing the Dab.

Why did Newton do the Dab in the first place?

Newton's 16-year-old brother Caylin was critical of his older brother's celebrations. So prior to the game against the Titans, Cam asked what he should do instead and Caylin's response was simple, "Dab on them folks."

Cam did just that and then kept dabbin' on them folks and now here we are.