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Only weird if it doesn’t work … Cam Newton details his gum superstition

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

Almost every fan has some sort of superstition on game day.

Where they sit for the game, what they eat before or during the game, in-depth things like which lights are turned on or something simple like wearing a lucky shirt (or a lucky hat as Wisconsin hoops gets a big road win against Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge), it's all part of being a fan.

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(USA Today Sports Images)

It's fun to know that players are superstitious too. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a lot to deal with during games, but he still takes time to employ his system for changing out his gum, depending on if that piece of gum has been working.

“I just depend on Wrigley’s Winterfresh chewing gum to get me through the adverse times in the game,” he said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “.... And in a given game, the superstition comes. You made a big play? Even if the gum is rock solid, you can’t take it out. You got to keep fighting through it. You may put another piece of gum in, but that’s that playmaking gum. But if you’re sucking, of course, you’ve got to toss that gum.”

Newton chews gum during games or his mouth gets too dry and he has trouble calling plays.

The Winterfresh method is paying off for him. He's having another fine season and the Panthers are 9-3 as they head to New Orleans for a huge NFC South clash against the Saints on Sunday night.

The Observer column on Newton talked about his growth as a player and leader, a subject that has always seems to get blown out of proportion when it comes to Newton. For example, his Superman celebration is a selfish act, but Aaron Rodgers gets a national ad campaign for his championship belt celebration and it's all in good fun.

That's not to say Newton didn't have some learning to do. He is in just his third season, and every young quarterback is still learning at that stage of their career. And the Observer story details how Newton has improved, and how it started late last year when the Panthers won five of their last six. Newton is making better decisions on audibles. Also, last week he suggested a route alteration to the coaches on Saturday that worked for a touchdown to Brandon LaFell on Sunday.

The Observer also noted that Newton is accepting more blame and deflecting all the credit this year, the type of thing that reflects well on a quarterback in the locker room.

“This is not a facade,” Newton told the Observer. “This is not fake. This is not something that somebody’s prepping me to say – to deflect all the credit off yourself. It’s true. If I wasn’t being honest with you guys, I wouldn’t have the integrity to go back in that locker room and look those guys in their eyes.”

Whatever Newton is doing, it's working. Maybe it's the improved leadership. But he might want to stick with his gum routine, just in case it's that.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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