Panthers QB Cam Newton was in the building at Grand Central in New York City on Thursday to help Under Armour launch its newest innovation—the UA Speedform Apollo running shoe—along with CEO Kevin Plank, UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre, and Misty Copeland of the American Ballet Theatre. Newton’s Panthers were bounced by the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round Playoffs earlier this month after Carolina went 12-4 in the regular season and earned a first-round bye in the NFC.
Newton threw for 3,379 yards and a career-high 24 touchdowns in 2013, with only 13 interceptions, and made his second Pro Bowl. He also made a splash on the field this season with his pre-game kick game, with Under Armour helping lace him in a series of custom cleats, including the “Superman” Cam Highlight PE, which turned heads in the footwear and football worlds alike. So after the Speedform Apollo was introduced, we caught up with Cam to talk about his partnership with UA, his favorite custom cleats, his take on Super Bowl XLVIII and more. Check it out:
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TDdaily: Under Armour hooked you up with a lot of custom cleats this season, like the Supermans. Which was your favorite version?
Cam Newton: When the Supermans first came out, I just thought that was ridiculous, being that no one really does it with the pre-game cleats. It’s an added dimension that a lot of guys are going to start doing. I get a lot of feedback from fans, from players, and it’s cool.
TD: What do the other players say when you rock the Supermans?
CN: It’s surprising—they can’t believe it’s Under Armour. But as you saw today, Under Armour, we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re going to competing for more here soon.
TD: What made you want to link up with Under Armour in the first place?
CN: Man, it’s home. At Auburn, I started the relationship there, and I’ve always just felt right at home. I’ve had opportunities to go with other brands but in talking to Kevin, just how cool he is, and also the people affiliated with Under Armour, it’s just a place that you care for.
TD: Seems like you and Kevin Plank are actually boys, that’s not fake.
CN: Yeah, yeah, he’s real cool man. And he’s always concerned about my well-being. That was important for me—a family-like organization that is stand-up as well.
TD: You joked with NFL Network that you’re gonna have to get Colin Kaepernick back for mocking your Superman dance. What can we expect next year?
CN: Not really, man. That’s just all the fun of the game. I respect him and what he does. He’s a great talent, a great person, and a great football player as well.
TD: Who are the other quarterbacks in the league that you follow closely?
CN: The whole league. I’m a student of the game and I keep up with a lot of things that go on in this league. So not only Colin, but Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, the whole list. I follow those guys each and every week and try to find things I can implement in my own game.
TD: You’ve got your signature Superman celebration. What other guys’ TD celebrations do you like around the league?
TD: But you guys are watching each other on SportsCenter.
CN: Oh, absolutely we do.
TD: What was your take on all the Marshawn Lynch-Media Day stuff this week?
CN: That’s just making a big deal out of nothing. You know, you can’t make a person like something that he doesn’t like. And that’s what people don’t understand. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings, even though we may be on TV a lot. Some people are comfortable doing certain things. And if he’s not comfortable with talking to the media you can’t fault him for that, you can’t fault him for that.
TD: What’s your plan for watching Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday?
CN: Nothing really too big, I’ll just be around friends and family. I hope to enjoy a good game.
TD: Any memorable Super Bowls or Super Bowl parties from when you were growing up?
CN: Hopefully it’ll be one—when I’m in it.
Abe Schwadron is the Online Editor of TDdaily.com. Follow him on Twitter @abe_squad.