“Show me a good and gracious loser and I’ll show you a failure.” – Numerous Attributions
I’m very glad that the Denver Broncos’ defense sent Peyton Manning home a winner for what will likely be his last football game and more undoubtedly his last Super Bowl. However, for my money and this time around, I am inspired by Cam Newton, the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers.
Cam Newton’s critics say that for all of his bravado during his wins and excellent performances on the field this past season, that he then lost his charm after his team’s crushing loss in the Super Bowl. During a post-game interview he gave abrupt answers to questions and eventually just walked out.
Yeah, that’s right. This guy takes pride in his efforts to win and hates to lose. That’s exactly the way it should be. Cam Newton’s passion for winning, along with being a gifted athlete, is what makes him a winner.
As a Browns fan it was wonderful and with much envy to witness a multi-million dollar player like Cam Newton actually care about winning and losing in such an emotional manner. The Browns strolled off the field this past season with a 3-13 record like true gentlemen. With shrugged shoulders in Cleveland the claim is that next year will be better. That belongs on the same permanent placard as “free lunches tomorrow.”
It should be noted that although Cam Newton exhibited genuine stress over the loss, he did not attempt to deflect the blame. He flat out said, “They just played better than us.” He did not accuse the other team of cheating. He didn’t blame the refs. He didn’t blame his team’s play calling or last year’s draft picks.
Cam Newton was as clear as can be about his personal and heartfelt connection to his team’s loss:
“I don’t know what you want me to say, I’m sorry. They made more plays than us, and that’s what it came down to. We had opportunities. It wasn’t nothing special that they did. We dropped balls, we turned the ball over, gave up sacks, threw errant passes. That’s it, they scored more points than us.”
Frankly, as I have struggled with complacency in my life, I wish that I had some of Cam Newton’s type of blood in me. We should all be so driven toward greatness with such an innate passion. And, we should never be content with failure.
There’s nothing like having the spirituality and energy of a winner. If that seems self-indulgent then so be it. Winners love to win, and not much else. What it is really about is a commitment to excellence in everything that we do. Period.
“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” – Vince Lombardi