The backstep that stunned the NFL world is such a bad look, for many reasons. Panthers QB Cam Newton is the newly crowned NFL MVP, and that hesitation/retreat will define his season.
Cue the rampant speculation as to why he did it.
The question becomes, what about my Quarterback? Would Joe Flacco (who else was standing and cheering when he got announced with the other Super Bowl MVPs?!) have buried himself into the turf in order to recover that fumble in the Super Bowl?
We have to consider that no QB enjoys getting hit. None. That is a very real deterrent to jumping on a ball. But in the biggest single game on Earth? The final game of the year? In a desperate moment?
The simple answer is "yes."
Flacco has many physical tasks out there, including running multiple QB sneaks, tackling after interceptions, etc. The topic is hard to quantify with statistics, but Flacco has steadily improved with his fumble/fumble recovery ratio.
Granted, he wasn't in all 16 games last year, but recovering at a 60% clip is still remarkable. Consider that the majority of these fumbles are caused by a strip-sack or blindside hit, and sometimes recovery is simply impossible. Being able to maintain composure after such an auto wreck, and secure the football, is bravery defined.
He has his bad seasons, and actually, his fifth year clip was worse than Cam Newton's. Yet we've never seen Flacco back down from an urgent threat.
Also consider that Flacco was playing his final drive or two of the 2015 season, a win vs. the Rams, on a torn ligament in his knee. He has played with this kind of tender hobbledness before--in 2013, towards the end of the regular season. He had a knee brace and was somewhat limited for a little while. He is game-ready so often, this past season being his first actual missed games because of injury, that he seems to have a great handle on injury and pain.
With this in mind, Flacco makes a strong case for diving on the football in that scenario. Would he be happy about it? No. Would he definitely secure it? No. Would he give a serious effort to strike at grabbing that thing? Absolutely.
Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton has puzzled the world in his motivation, or lack of, with regards to the fumble. Who knows what he saw or didn't see, thought or didn't think. He dives and runs for crucial yardage so often that it seems unfathomable that he would not attempt to grab the rock.
And yet, he didn't.
Baltimore can take comfort that their Chief Gunslinger would.
What do you think? It may be dumb to ask, but what do you think Flacco would have done? Vote below!