If you’ve watched the NFL long enough – or just for a game or two – you know that defensive players often dance after sacking the quarterback.
Well, sometimes quarterbacks want to dance too.
That was the case Sunday in Tennessee, as Cam Newton busted out some moves following a 2-yard touchdown run that put the Panthers up 27-10 with less than three minutes to go. Newton has drawn criticism for his elaborate celebration, but Panthers teammate Jared Allen, who has twice led the league in sacks, had no problem with it.
“I loved it,” Allen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “You never like when people are celebrating when you get scored upon because you’re mad you got scored upon. Guess how you stop them from celebrating? Keep them out of the end zone.”
Newton said as much after the win Sunday.
“I love it when quarterbacks talk trash,” Allen said, laughing. “I think it’s awesome.”
Do you want to know what else is awesome? Playing for a 9-0 team that has to be considered the favorite to win the NFC.
And to think: Allen could be in Chicago (4-5) if not for a September trade that sent him to Carolina. The Bears tried to use Allen, a sack machine, as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense this year.
That didn’t work for anyone.
“I had a long conversation with Coach (John) Fox and Ryan Pace, their general manager, and it’s one of those things that best fit everybody,” said Allen, who said he has “nothing but respect” for the Bears organization. “It allowed me to go back to a 4-3. I went from 0-3 at the time to 3-0 and now I’m (with) an organization that’s absolutely phenomenal. Like I said, (I have) all the love in the world for Coach Fox and Ryan Pace and my time with the Bears, but both sides were able to get something out of it and I’m with an organization that is phenomenal. The culture around here is just great. The locker room is great. I get to put my hand in the dirt and go have fun. . . . I really couldn’t be happier where I’m at. This organization is phenomenal. Coach (Ron) Rivera, Mr. (Dave) Gettleman (the general manager), the whole locker room – it is a hidden gem in the NFL. It’s a wonderful place.”
Allen, 33, has played for four NFL teams – some good, some bad. He was asked where this year’s Panthers team ranks among all the teams he’s played for during his 12-year career.
“Well, I was never 9-0, so I have to say it’s the best team I’ve ever been on,” Allen said. “Where we finish I guess will determine all that, but as of right now, it ranks at the top.”
The Panthers rank third in the league in scoring offense (28.3 points per game) and sixth in scoring defense (19.4 points allowed). That Carolina has an elite defense should come as no surprise. Allen called linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis “pure monsters” and referred to cornerback Josh Norman as “a freak.”
Carolina will go for 10-0 this Sunday at home against Washington (4-5).
“The ride has been great and I hope it continues,” Allen said. “It’s a special group of guys. We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We really do stay in the moment, we enjoy the moment, but the work ethic is second to none. Everybody’s very self-motivated and just wants to be the best week-in and week-out. It sounds a little cliche, but that is really the environment that Coach Rivera has created. . . . This competitive nature on this team is something that I haven’t seen in a long time. It really is special.”