Newton's pouting on the sidelines and in press conferences will eventually take its toll if it has not already.
The Panthers are currently 1-3 and in the bottom half of the NFC South. While Newton could certainly use some more quality talent around him, his current attitude is not having a positive contribution on the franchise in terms of wins and losses.
Newton is not close to being benched, but if his horrid attitude continues throughout the course of 2012 and the Panthers struggle until the finish, things could change.
Here's a look at how Newton's lousy attributes on and off the field are having a negative impact on his team and his job security.
Sulking in Defeat
The image is now infamous. Newton, alone on the sideline with a towel over his head. The media has chastised him relentlessly for the gesture, but Newton does not seem to understand the impact it has.
It's easy to take Newton's sulking as passion for the game and simply how disappointed he is in himself, but his teammates may not view it in the same light.
"I watched D.A. and Jimmy (Clausen), they don’t play in 20-something games last year. And they get up and they observe and learn and get those mental reps...I told him, ‘You can get some mental reps or you can sit on that bench and sulk.’"
The jury is still out on whether or not Newton elects to receive the message. What he fails to realize is that his every action will now be placed under an enormous amount of scrutiny. For example, his alleged sulking in the locker room after a defeat that held up the team bus, according to Ed Werder on Twitter:
Cam Newton held up team buses for long time while sitting in locker room alone and setting record most lotion applied post shower.Nfl— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 1, 2012
If actions like these continue, Newton's performance will suffer because of the negative media attention associated with the franchise and the lowered morale of the locker room as a whole as its most important leader pouts.
Discrediting the Competition
Being the face of a franchise at the most important position in the NFL at 23 years old is a daunting task emotionally for any person. Newton clearly has some maturing to do in that department, but discrediting an opponent publicly is something we are all taught at a young age to not do.
That is exactly what Newton continues to do.
After losing to the Giants, Newton told the media that it was not anything New York did, it was simply a case of the Panthers defeating themselves (via ProFootballTalk):
"It was nothing they did, it was all on us...Offensively, we didn’t get the job done. We knew what type of game it was going to be. Of course, they have elite defensive linemen and elite guys on defense, but we have good players on offense."
For Newton to discredit the defending Super Bowl champions is one thing, but to disrespect them while walking off the field is another.
After the final gun had sounded, both teams met at the middle of the field for routine postgame handshake and show of good sportsmanship.
Except Newton, who grazed past Eli Manning with a towel on his head, ignoring Manning's offer for a handshake.
Chalk it up as a maturity issue, but one that has to end quickly before Newton seriously hinders his image and his team.
Building the Brand
Cam Newton is a brand, we all understand that. He had a record-setting rookie campaign and emerged as one of the most marketable stars in all of sports with one of the most recognizable touchdown celebrations in recent memory.
It's one thing for Newton to celebrate a touchdown when things are going great for the Panthers, but another thing entirely for Newton to do his patented Superman celebration while getting hammered by three touchdowns at the hands of the Giants.
Once again, that is exactly what Newton did.
Newton's celebration helps the Panthers financially. It endears the fans. It vastly helps the businesses that have poured millions of dollars in advertising funds centered around the eccentric quarterback. It helps everyone involved.
Despite this, at the end of the day Newton looks silly celebrating a touchdown at that juncture, and most fans and teammates probably felt the same way.
Knowing when to celebrate is another attitude issue that Newton needs to sort out immediately.
Gauging the Hot Seat
In only his second year Newton is slowly molding himself into a franchise quarterback and one of the better players in the entire league.
He has also managed to quickly become one of the more polarizing figures in the league. Carolina fans love him, and rightfully so. Others are not so fond of Newton because of his poor attitude and at times selfishness that has made his own teammates speak out against him.
What Newton needs to realize is that, while his seat is not hot now, that could change quickly if he manages to cause a division within the locker room. Newton is the leader of the team courtesy of the position he plays, and morale is going to take a serious hit in Carolina if his antics continue.
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