It is a fact of life that we all grow older. I even have reason to believe that the passage of time is tied to the laws of physics. That is how fundamental this concept is. It is certainly true for Cam Newton, who has not only grown older but who has also matured during his time as our quarterback. Sometimes, however, we must ask ourselves how good maturity is. We must ask ourselves whether we really want Cam to be deciding between boxers or briefs instead of just proudly rocking his Superman footy pajamas.
You see, those footy pajamas and Cam have a heck of history together. Those footy pajamas and Cam have a heck of a history in Arizona together. He put them on and balled his heart out in his last college game at University of Phoenix Stadium. He wore them under his Panthers uniform in his first ever NFL game in that selfsame stadium against the Cardinals and balled his heart out again. I don’t know how many hearts the man has left to give, but he is very generous with them when he works himself up to Kryptonian levels of heroism.
Today, Cam has shown signs of struggling with the universal conflict of boxers vs. briefs. The illusion of freedom vs. the sense of security. He has not yet discovered the panacea of boxer briefs, the garment that may tastefully contain whilst allowing room to breathe. Perhaps his next offensive coordinator will introduce Cam to them, perhaps Shula has and Cam is resistant. Regardless, the young quarterback has come out wearing some truly terrible underwear this season. The kind nobody wants to see him in.
Against Seattle, Cam was witnessed on the field wearing what one would generously describe as briefs, conservatively as tighty-whiteys, and accurately as what one might expect a modest male to wear on a European nude beach. We saw enough to know we did not want to see more. We saw enough that, as friends concerned for his future, we had questions about the effects such restriction could have in future similarly fertile home environments. Did we get him to stop drinking Mountain Dew for this?
Against Buffalo, either Cam or his coaches forgot to check the weather. He came out on a pleasant afternoon in Ralph Wilson Stadium wearing one of the thickest pair of long johns you’ll ever see on a man. In addition to looking close to overheating all afternoon, the leggings were so restrictive that our QB could barely run. I am all for situational awareness and adaptability and all of that jazz. Do not get me wrong. However, I think there is something to be said (here’s looking at you Ron and Mike) for dressing for the weather and not the geography.
Against New York, I could not tell what our guy was wearing. They looked kind of like boxers with the Superman logo emblazoned across the front, but I was too busy being astounded by our defenses performance to really notice. They clearly weren't his old favorites, but he looked to the naked eye to be wearing something reminiscent of his well spent youth. Whatever they were was a step in the right direction.
It looked like Cam was able to hang loose and ball out. That sounds like boxers to me, but it also just sounds like the Cam of old. It sounds like the Cam who put on his tattered old Superman footies and broke every record he smiled at. Maybe we are starting to see the plan, new or old, for Cam. Maybe this is what Rivera is going to let him be again. But it is equally possible we saw a ghost, a faint remnant of a dead past, and the threadbare last hurrah of a child’s memory disappearing for the last time into the abyss of the washing machine that is Dave Gettleman’s new front office.
If that is true then we should all be angry because, God damn it, this is football. Who cares what kind of underwear the men who play the game wear so long as they leave their balls on the field? You dress the men you have, even if you would prefer that they had better hips for women’s underwear.