The Patriots certainly didn’t downplay the addition of Cam Newton.
In fact, New England rolled out the red carpet.
The team released a hype video on social media last week after announcing it signed Newton, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who presumably will replace Tom Brady as New England’s starting quarterback this season. It was a rather uncharacteristic display by the organization, which usually doesn’t promote personnel moves with such pomp and circumstance, and Colin Cowherd believes there was a method to the Patriots’ madness.
“What is actually shocking is that Cam Newton, who has never taken a snap for New England — Cam Newton, who’s in a fight to be the starting quarterback in New England — got a hype video from the Patriots,” Cowherd said Monday on FS1. ” … Now, that is shocking.”
“This is the best kind of divorce,” he added of the Patriots’ breakup with Brady, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency this offseason after two decades in Foxboro. “New England is acknowledging, ‘We need to lighten up a little.’ And Tom Brady’s like, ‘They need to lighten up a little.’ This is the best possible divorce. You have great years, you grow tired of each other and neither side gets rigid. You still talk nice about each other. … But New England is acknowledging, ‘We’ve gotta lighten up a little bit.’ ”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) July 13, 2020
The Patriots’ culture is well documented. There’s an expectation that players check their egos at the door upon joining New England — a franchise that’s been to the Super Bowl nine times since the 2001 season — and that hard work along with a “do your job” mindset will benefit everyone involved.
This approach — commonly known as “The Patriot Way” — isn’t for everyone, and there’s a perception, fairly or unfairly, that players don’t enjoy themselves in New England. But Cowherd believes the Patriots’ hype video for Newton showed that Bill Belichick and Co. are ready to change the narrative in Foxboro. Fun can, and perhaps will, be had.
“Rigid doesn’t work, because there are certain industries that change a lot. Sports and football change a lot,” Cowherd said. “You can be a legend, Mike Ditka, one day and out of date, out of sorts Mike Ditka the next day. You can’t fall into these cliché traps, and Belichick’s like, ‘It’s time to lighten up. We’re gonna have a quarterback that moves. We’re gonna give him a little hype video.’
“And that’s messaging to the rest of the league. What that really is by New England, it’s messaging to free agents, it’s messaging to players: ‘We see ya, we hear ya, we’re gonna lighten up. Hey, our system’s still hard. This is no day at the beach. We’re very demanding. But you can spike it. We’ll give you a little hype video.’ And to me, it’s the best way for legends to age.”
Newton, who was released by the Carolina Panthers in March, sure has a chip on his shoulder after an offseason in which he generated very little interest on the open market. He sounds like someone who’s on a mission and ready to work his butt off.
But that doesn’t mean Newton has to be a robot with his new team. He’s one of the NFL’s most entertaining players, on and off the field, and the Patriots seem ready to embrace his fun personality.
“I think the messaging by Belichick and New England is really smart and very clear,” Cowherd said. ” ‘Hey, it’s not digging ditches here. It’s hard. We’re not Bruce Arians. But we can have fun, too.’ ”