Cam Newton keeping replacement for the 'dab' a big secret

ByDavid Newton ESPN logo
Monday, July 18, 2016
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during an NFL football game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

CHARLOTTE -- If Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has picked a replacement for the "dab," he's not telling anyone.

The reigning NFL MVP hasn't told his younger brother, Caylin, who last season suggested adding the Atlanta-based "dab" to Newton's "Superman" routine of celebrating touchdowns.

He hasn't told his father, Cecil Newton Sr., who admittedly lacks the rhythm to be involved in the decision.

He definitely hasn't told reporters, saying only he has "until September to find out." The Panthers open the 2016 season on Sept. 8 against the Denver Broncos in a rematch of Super Bowl 50.

"It don't matter what I say, he's going do something spectacular," Caylin said last Friday as he participated for Grady High School in Atlanta during Newton's 7-on-7 football tournament in Charlotte.

Newton first announced in early June on WFNZ-AM radio that he was retiring the "dab," which he debuted in an Oct. 18 win at Seattle. It became a national phenomenon after the mother of a 9-year-old attending Carolina's win at Tennessee wrote a letter complaining about it.

Newton reiterated the death of the "dab" last week before the ESPYs in Los Angeles.

"No need to talk about what's dead," Newton said.

The "dab" was rated the league's second-best celebration in 2015 in a segment on called "Celebration Station." The end-zone flip of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown ranked first.

Caylin came up with the idea of the "dab" because he was tired of watching his big brother do the same "Superman" move he'd been performing after touchdowns since entering the NFL as the first pick of the 2011 draft.

His only suggestion for this year's celebration is not to rush into a decision.

"Right now, it's still 'Hit Dem Folks' and the regular stuff," said Caylin, a quarterback for Grady High. "I'd tell him now to keep it basic. Do the Superman until something else pops up."

Newton at times implemented the "Hit Dem Folks" move into his 2015 celebrations, but that didn't take off nationally like the "dab."

"It's just having fun," Caylin said. "He simplifies the game. It is a business, but he doesn't allow it to be business."

Participants at Newton's football tournament loved the "dab."

"The whole nation was on alert when he played," said K.J. Phillips of Woodward High in College Park, Ga.

But none had a solid suggestion for what should replace the "dab," one of the biggest mysteries for the reigning NFC champions as they begin training camp on July 27 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

"He didn't say the 'Hit Dem Folks' was dead yet, so he'll probably still keep pulling that one out," said Jackson Gibbs, the quarterback of Hough High in Cornelius, North Carolina and the grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.

Said Phillips, "Cam can do it all. Whatever he wants to do."

Newton's father has a suggestion, but wasn't willing to share it.

"You wouldn't want to see it," he said. "I don't have the rhythm and all the stuff that this generation of kids does. We'll just see what he unveils. Hopefully, he'll get an opportunity to do so.

"If he's doing [a dance], that means good things are happening for the Panthers."

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