Newton gives news cold shoulder after the Super Bowl | NevadaAppeal.com

Newton gives news cold shoulder after the Super Bowl

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Cam Newton couldn’t have staged a more brilliant Super Bowl press conference. Yes, he was surly to the media. Yes, he gave meaningless, short grunts of an answer to most every question. And, yes, he just got up and walked out after a couple minutes. But after the game nobody focused on how awfully he played during the 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos. The focus was on his idiotic press conference performance. Newton was ridiculously bad against the Broncos, considering the importance of the game, the two weeks of preparation and all the media stories that told us that he was reinventing how the position of quarterback was supposed to be played. He threw the ball too hard and wild all day long. He stood transfixed in the pocket as if there were baby poodles nipping at his feet instead of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. He looked confused and frustrated from the opening kickoff to the final tick of the clock. Instead of rallying and leading his team, he seemed to merely pout and throw temper tantrums. But all of that was forgotten because he put a hood over his head and grunted at the media for two minutes after the game.

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Newton wasn’t the only quarterback who played poorly on Sunday. You would be hard pressed to find a Super Bowl that was as badly quarterbacked as Super Bowl 50. It was almost as if Tony Eason and Kerry Collins or Rex Grossman and David Woodley met in the same Super Bowl. Newton and Peyton Manning combined to toss two interceptions and no touchdowns. They fumbled the ball four times and lost three of them. They completed less than half of their passes, were sacked a dozen times and converted just 4-of-29 third down plays for a first down. A year ago all of the talk was how the position of running back was being diminished. Now it might be quarterbacks.

The Broncos won the game the only way they could have won, with field goals, defense and Carolina turnovers.

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The Broncos won the game the only way they could have won with field goals, defense and Carolina turnovers. Forget Most Valuable Player. The Most Valuable Person for the Broncos was defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. It was Phillips that devised a brilliant plan to take apart Tom Brady in the AFC title game. And it was Phillips who made the decision to use the same plan against Newton, despite the fact that Newton and Brady are about as different as, well, Newton and Manning. Phillips was the best story of the Super Bowl by far but all we’ve heard from the media this week is how Newton acted like a spoiled brat at the press conference. Phillips was once fired as the Broncos head coach. He was fired as head coach by Dallas and Buffalo. His dad, Bum, never won a Super Bowl as head coach for New Orleans and Houston. This Super Bowl was for the Phillips’ family.

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Manning would be a fool to come back and play next season. He’s obviously done. On Sunday he looked like an old man trying to toss the neighbor kid’s basketball back over the fence. He’ll turn 40-years-old next month. The Broncos probably don’t even want him on the roster next year. Manning has accomplished most everything a player can accomplish in the NFL. He is, without question, one of the best to ever take a snap from center. He now has the rare opportunity to leave the game healthy and with a Super Bowl trophy. Now all he has to do is go home, kiss his wife and kids and drink a lot of Budweiser and relax, just like any other millionaire 40-year-old who doesn’t have to go to work in the morning.

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The Nevada Wolf Pack basketball team has a significant and meaningful test Saturday at Lawlor Events Center against Fresno State. The Pack lost 85-63 at Fresno State last month. They have lost four in a row and five of their last six games against the Bulldogs. They have lost three games in a row to Fresno State at home. Fresno is coming off a 58-57 win over Mountain West-leader San Diego State on Wednesday which snapped the Aztecs’ 11-game winning streak. A victory on Saturday could propel the Pack into a second place finish in the Mountain West this year, setting up a possible showdown with San Diego State in the title game of the conference tournament. Fresno State has its issues like every other Mountain West team — the Bulldogs lost at San Jose State just last week — but a win on Saturday would be the Pack’s most meaningful triumph of the year so far.

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Pack coach Eric Musselman insists his Wolf Pack is making progress as the year moves on but it is difficult to see that with the naked eye. We’ll take his word for it. For now. But progress isn’t truly progress until it shows up on the scoreboard. The Pack is 6-5 in Mountain West play. They are 6-0 against the five teams that are below them in the Mountain West standings and 0-5 against the five teams that are on top of them. That’s why Saturday’s game against Fresno State (7-4 in league play) is so significant. It’s time the Pack proves it truly belongs with the big boys in the conference.

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According to all of the dozens of NFL mock drafts available on the internet right now, the only Wolf Pack player who has even a remote chance of getting drafted by the NFL this spring is Ian Seau. NFL.com doesn’t have Seau listed among its top 150 draft prospects but CBSsports.com rates Seau as the 232nd best player and the 20th best outside linebacker. That same web site lists defensive end Lenny Jones as the 798th best player and running back Don Jackson as No. 582. No Pack player was drafted last year for the first time since 2010 but Kyle Roberts (Denver Broncos) and Brock Hekking (San Diego Chargers) each went the free agent route and are still on NFL rosters. NFL dreams don’t have to end with the draft.