Seconds remained in the Carolina Panthers’ 38-0 pounding of the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and Cam Newton decided it was time to have some fun. Which is not to say he had not already had his share.
Newton, the Panthers’ quarterback, had thrown three touchdown passes, celebrating a 46-yard beauty with his “dab” dance. The fans at Bank of America Stadium chanted “M.V.P.!” when he threaded the needle for his third score.
But after Newton spent the fourth quarter watching reserves hold onto the commanding lead, he was eager to celebrate all that he and his team were on the verge of accomplishing: The Panthers are the final remaining undefeated N.F.L. team in Week 14 of the season, and Newton’s sparkling play has made him a favorite for the Most Valuable Player Award.
So in the final seconds of Sunday’s game, Newton sprinted along the sideline from midfield to the 10-yard line at one end of the field, held his hand to his ear and encouraged cheers. He nodded emphatically when the roars came.