Cam Newton has fielded a slew of criticism for his quick departure from his media session following the Carolina Panthers’ loss in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. However, Peyton Manning said Monday on the Today Show that the newly anointed MVP was “extremely humble” in defeat (h/t Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports).
But Manning indicated Newton’s reaction to the media isn’t indicative of how he handled their encounter following the game.
"I've been on that side of it. It is tough, it is not an easy pill to swallow. But he was very nice to me and I really appreciated that,” Manning told the Today Show.
Newton was sacked six times by Denver’s defense and completed just 18 of 41 pass attempts for 265 yards with an interception and two fumbles—both of which led to Broncos touchdowns.
It’s understandable for Newton to be upset after a loss of that magnitude, particularly when it was only the second time he’s endured defeat this season and featured his worst individual showing of the year.
But his swift departure from the press conference after the big game may have also been prompted by comments from Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who could be heard speaking from the other end of the press area, according to Joe Nguyen of the Denver Post.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk added if that was indeed the case, Newton’s early exit is somewhat warranted: "So while Newton arguably should have been less sullen when talking about the game, the tone and content of his answers and the decision to get up and leave are really two different things."
As Manning indicated in his comments on the Today Show, Newton will be back in the Super Bowl again and likely on the winning side eventually. Newton may not have handled the situation in the most professional manner, but he still has the respect and admiration of his future Hall of Fame counterpart.