Panthers Super Bowl 50 Opening Night: No changing Cam Newton


Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton has no plans to change the way he plays and that is perfectly OK.

The Panthers quarterback said on Monday, less than a week out from Super Bowl 50, that anyone who does not like his exuberant celebrations on the football field will just have to get used it.

"I don't plan on changing," Newton said at the SAP Center in San Jose.

"I'm not hurting their feelings. I'm not doing anything to break their bones. I'm just doing something that makes me happy."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said his quarterback is simply misunderstood by people who do not realise how much Newton has matured since he faced theft charges while at Florida in 2008.

"He's different," Rivera said of his 26-year-old quarterback. "He really is. He stays true to who he is.

"They have an image about how people are supposed to be and he's going to be who he is. He's going to be true to his personality and people don't understand that.

"I don't think people understand how hard he works or see the commitment he makes. If you ever really spent some time, be around that young man, people would really start to appreciate who he really is."

After his trouble at Florida, Newton wound up at Auburn and won the Heisman Trophy while leading the Tigers to a national championship in 2010.

He was the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and has taken the Panthers to the play-offs three years in a row.

"I'm just blessed," Newton said. "I'm just so happy to be seeing so many blessings on me."

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning praised Newton and the fifth-year quarterback was flattered by his opposite number's kind words.

"Anything the sheriff says you can probably ink it in gold," Newton said.

Proving doubters wrong: Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said his team were not supposed to be the ones to finish with the NFL's best regular-season record at 15-1.

Carolina lost top receiver Kelvin Benjamin in training camp with a torn ACL.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly suffered a concussion in the season opener and missed three games. Cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere went down with season-ending injuries.

But Davis said as everybody kept picking the Panthers to lose, they kept proving doubters wrong and hope to do it again on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.

Lake Norman the Wrestler: Panthers cornerback Josh Norman donned a lucha libre mask during his media session. 

"This is for all my Spanish guys," Norman said after he put on the mask shortly after sitting down. He then kept the mask on while fielding questions.

Rivera declined to wear the mask when asked, adding that his "Spanish is bad" when given a request to say something for Hispanic viewers and listeners.

Broncos earn respect: Norman has a lot of respect for Manning, whom he calls, 'The Sheriff'.

Norman said he was looking forward to "matching up against one of the greats".

Norman added he has "respect all the way" for Broncos receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, whom he knows "will be a handful".

Shade on Beckham: When asked if he plans on doing any trash talking with Thomas or Sanders, Norman said he only talks when provoked. But once the trash-talking begins, it is game on.

"That's when you get into a mental word fire," Norman said. "I love that type of stuff. It gets me going. My blood gets hot.

"If you're going to do the talking, please be embedded in it. Please come from that style of play and that model that you can play that way and not get out of your game. I promise you, if you talk to me, I'm going to get you out your game."

No longer a normal week: Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said Monday was a realisation that Super Bowl week is not like any other week during the season.

"When we first got here, and we got off the plane, it just feels like a normal game on the road," Kuechly said. "You have your first practice and it's kind of like you're just going on a west coast trip. But now you get here, this is what you grow up watching. It's cool to be a part of it and we're happy to be here, but at the same time, we're here to play our best football."

Ready to shave: Centre Ryan Kalil will be happy to shave his bushy play-off beard, but his wife will be happier.

"She made a comment that it's too burly for her," Kalil said. "I haven't been able to kiss my wife for awhile now, which I'm really looking forward to after Sunday."

Surprisingly popular: Punter Brad Nortman said he only expected to have about "eight or nine" reporters ask him questions, but he was already at 13 interviews just 20 minutes into Monday's hour-long session.