Cam Newton’s still a winner

Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton walks the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)

Cam Newton committed three turnovers, was sacked six times and completed less than 44 percent of his passes on Sunday as the Denver Broncos upset him and his Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in Super Bowl 50.

Then Mr. Newton, who had been named the NFL’s most valuable player on Saturday, was rudely sullen during a postgame news conference.

As New York Times sports columnist Michael Powell described it:

“He took a seat, a blue sweatshirt hood pulled low over his face. He made eye contact with no one. ... The reporters’ questions, not a surprise in the batch, were framed gently, as if put forward by dimwitted therapists. For more than a minute, Newton stared at the floor, scratched his chin and sulked.”

Mr. Newton, who had been consistently animated and outgoing as the Panthers rolled through a remarkable season with only one loss before Sunday, finally gave a few curt answers before leaving.

Yet before throwing a flag on the 26-year-old superstar for his personally foul mood in the wake of a devastating defeat, remember this clutch play that he delivered off the field early this season:

After hearing the sad plight of 10-year-old Elijah Aschbrenner of Concord, N.C., Mr. Newton called to cheer him up.

Not long after that, the big (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) quarterback heard that Elijah’s family and friends were holding a Halloween block party for him on Sept. 26.

Why so soon?

Because Elijah, who had long been battling epitheliod sarcoma, was at rising risk of not making it to Oct. 31.

Mr. Newton surprised Elijah, who was disguised as the Joker, and his pals by showing up at the party with an ice cream truck and a large quantity of brownies. He then hung around for quite a while, giving the kids — and the grown-ups — a priceless, lasting thrill.

Elijah died on Nov. 10.

However, that heartwarming reminder of what a sweet gesture can mean to a child who needs one lives on.

Of course, the Panthers’ quarterback could have played — and then acted — much better on Sunday.

But don’t assume that Mr. Newton is a bad guy just because he had a bad game — and a petulant postgame — at the Super Bowl.

And no, Peyton Manning wasn’t the only good guy playing quarterback Sunday.