The NFL is the best professional football league in the entire world, only the best of the best players stand a chance to survive here and every player is talented in some way or the other. It comes as no surprise that the league is extremely competitive and we come across multiple reports of locker room rifts between players and how they bump heads every now and then. Each player has his own ego and believes he is better than the other, they do not like to be told what to do or how to play by a teammate who in their eyes is not as good as them.
Cam Newton elaborates on why NFL locker rooms tend to get heated and cites the reasons for the majority of these fights in his podcast with Eli Manning. Cam has himself been around in some of the most aggressive and competitive locker rooms in the NFL. In Carolina, he was surrounded by Greg Olsen, Christian McCaffrey, and Josh Norman amongst others. All of them are extremely talented players.
“It’s just about being harmonic”: Cam Newton believes if players set their ego aside, the overall team chemistry can drastically improve
Cam Newton commented on the environment in the NFL locker rooms and how every player is extremely competitive and believes they are better than the next man beside them. “For me, I think, when you walk into that locker room, everybody is an alpha male, EVERYBODY. It’s not about being the lion, it’s not about being the gorilla, it’s not about being the antelope, it’s not about being the cheetah or whatever,” the QB states. If a player has an ego complex, they will believe that they are the leader of that team and when there are multiple leaders, there is more room for clashes and rifts to break out.
So what is the way out, how do you solve this issue? Cam believes there is just one simple solution, every player needs to understand this and get it through their heads. “It’s just about being harmonic. Once that happens, from day 1 you automatically get aggressive, competitive, in some way shape, or form but in a respectful manner.”
He goes on to give an example of how he dealt with the same issue during his stint as a New England Patriot. “I think me and Mac’s relationship was always competitive. It never morphed into what it could be and I think that was just the situation we were in.” Mac Jones and Newton were both fighting for the starters’ job so it was natural that though the two respected one another and helped one another get better, they could not form that bond. “When Mac came, we had that introduction where it was like, ‘Hey man, if you need me I’ll be here,’ but I don’t think our relationship could be anything more than it was because we were competing versus each other,” Newton concludes.
The quarterback is right, it is hard to set your ego aside and try and bond with players who you know are vying to take your job. Even though you want to, you cannot be completely open and genuine around them as there is that human element that just stops you from doing so.