On a strictly surface level, Cam Newton's flair and style don't seem to match with Bill Belichick's gruff public persona. When the two wedded this offseason, skeptics raised an eyebrow that the colorful quarterback could fit into the gray-hooded coach's system.
To hear Newton talk about the situation on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show on Monday, however, it becomes clear that superficial reading of the situation couldn't be further from the truth.
"It's been a match made in heaven for me, just knowing I am at a place where everything is pulling in the same direction and everything is geared towards winning," Newton said, via the Boston Globe.
The idea that Belichick would squash Newton's spirit was wrong-headed from the outset. Yes, the legendary coach might be crotchety with the media and demanding of his players, but listen to most former players and they'll tell you Belichick gives his players room to be themselves if they put the team first, work their butts off and show up every day.
"I think every type of stereotype I had about Bill Belichick changed the day I talked to him," Newton noted.
Newton believes that part of the narrative that he might have difficulty fitting into the Patriot Way was based on false accounts of his persona and natural biases against the former NFL MVP.
"Honestly, it's because I'm a Black athlete," he told WEEI. "A quarterback for a long time, I've been unapologetic. It's because I have carried myself in a way that the media hasn't gave me my just due. But yet at the same time, I do understand that and I don't have any type of resentment towards that. I embrace who I am, I embrace the moment, I live in the moment. One of the quotes I live by is 'carpe diem.' And through it all, I've been able to see an opportunity.
"I went down a list of things I expect from Bill Belichick, just like Bill Belichick went down a list of things he wants from Cam Newton. I think the narrative coming here was kind of stereotypical to an unjust eye, just to see like, 'well, we heard this about Cam, we heard that, we heard he's a prima donna, he's this and that.' When you really put a microscope to who I really am, there's a lot of people, a lot of favoritism that has not been favorable for my benefit. But yet through it all, I'm not gonna make this about me... I want to make this about this team and just trying to gain these guys' trust. Because I think that's the biggest challenge with doing. Letting these guys understand, 'Listen, I understand there has been a lot said, I understand. I can feel the eyes and attention that is on me as soon as I walk into the facility but at the end of the day, you guys gotta know a lot of that is BS and I'm here to remove all that.'"
Newton and Belichick have spent weeks praising each other in the media. When football starts this week, we'll finally see it on the field.
Newton will fit in New England just fine if the winning continues in Foxborough. If the QB gets injured again or struggles on the field, then Belichick will move on and take the loss, like he's done with so many veterans before. But it won't be because Newton danced on the sideline or wore your grandmother's babushka to a press conference.
As for the pressure of taking over for Tom Brady, Newton isn't fretting about that either.
"No, sir. No sir. I think the world of Tom. ... As far as pressure, no sir," Newton responded.