Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 11/6/12
Ron Rivera and the media that cover the Carolina Panthers were all smiles and laughter Monday morning as soon as the coach reached the podium for his weekly press conference. Wearing a light blue Ralph Lauren sweater with white horizontal stripes, Rivera was asked by Charlotte Observer beat writer Joe Person, Is that part of the Cam collection? As the media broke out into unguarded laughter, Rivera smiled broadly before saying, Wow, God (expletive). He took several steps away from the podium as if he was leaving and offered a short wave to Person and the media before returning. Rivera was still smiling. How did you know I went to Belk? the coach then asked. Golly. The 'Cam collection' comment referenced the unusual sweaters Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has worn to several postgame press conferences this season. Along with his play and demeanor, Newtons attire has even been criticized. So the question offered a needed moment of levity, though it likely wouldnt have been so well received if the Panthers werent coming off of a victory. Carolina finally closed out an opponent Sunday in dispatching the Washington Redskins, 21-13, in a game matching quarterbacks that were the last two Heisman Trophy winners for the first time in NFL history. Newton, who won the award in 2010 while leading Auburn to a national championship, got the best of Robert Griffin III, who led Baylor to a 10-3 mark and No. 12 final national ranking last fall. The signal callers entered the contest riding very different trajectories in terms of their personal performances and treatment by fans and the media. Newton has been the subject of intense regional and national scrutiny. His play on the field hasnt been what it was during a record-setting rookie campaign a year ago. But at times the most ardent critics have zeroed in on his body language and how hes handled postgame press conferences, especially after losses, something Carolina did six times in its first seven games before Sunday. Griffin, on the other hand, was getting similar treatment Newton received a year ago. Even though the Redskins were sliding away from playoff contention, Griffins play has been something the franchise can build around. His disposition has also been lauded. But Newton did enough Sunday to remind everyone why he was so ballyhooed a year ago. He displayed maturity in managing the offense and completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 201 yards and a touchdown, which went for 19 yards to veteran Steve Smith. Incredibly, it was Smiths first score of the campaign. Newton also ran for 37 yards and a touchdown, plus a couple of key first downs. It was important for Newton to play well regardless of the opponent. But with Griffin (23-for-39, 215 yards) on the other side, it was an even more gratifying afternoon for the maligned signal caller. Its all about confidence. You play this game better when youre confident, Rivera said, referring to Newtons performance. You play this game better when you know things are going to happen. You dont hope anymore, you know. Its a mentality. This is an emotional game and hes an emotional player and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. So to be able to come out and play well, play very consistent, protect the football, make good reads and decisions like he (did), run the ball like, well, like he had, pick and choose his spots to run the ball, and have so many things go right, thats big. Thats big for an individual, thats big for a unit and thats big for the team. The Panthers stand at 2-6 with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos coming to town this weekend. The last time a Manning visited Bank of America Stadium Eli and his New York Giants left with a resounding 36-7 victory. Its the only blowout loss suffered by Carolina on the season. Ironically, the Panthers were coming off their only other victory that night, too. But instead of turning around and playing four days later, they get an entire week to prepare for the future Hall of Famer. And their disposition might be better this time around, too. Carolina wondered if it was a good team in September. Rivera says despite the record it knows it is now. When you lose football games and youre close, especially four weeks in a row, it tells you youre good enough to win and you should win, he said before referring to Sundays plane ride home. It was great. The players, there was a quiet optimism, there was an awful lot of excitement. It was really good to see, it really was. The guys deserved it. And with another victory, who knows what Rivera will wear to next weeks presser. Given how things have gone, he probably wont care if hes laughed at, either. Oddly, that could be a sign of success.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

NHL rumors: Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Report: Steelers make Brown NFL's highest-paid WR

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chiefs sign Duvernay-Tardif to five-year extension

MLB considering introducing 'stickier' baseballs

Report: Browns have discussed trading No. 12 pick for Garoppolo

Report: Lowry expected to miss 4-5 weeks, return for playoffs

Report: Cowboys to release Romo in coming weeks

Report: Jennings expected to sign with Hornets

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker