Peel away everything that comes with sports, from the obsession with winning to the politics of playing time, and you’re left with the sole reason many of us started playing in the first place: fun. We seem to forget that goal as we get older. The running joke is that the NFL stands for “No Fun League,” because a referee launches his flag if a player so much as giggles after scoring a touchdown.
That’s why it’s been such a revelation to watch Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers this season—not just because their record is 13-0 and they have a legitimate shot at going undefeated in the regular season, but because of how much pure fun they’re having. By now you’ve probably seen one of Newton’s dozens of celebrations after he scores a touchdown (and read the outrageous letter from a mother who also apparently can’t stand fun), and the Panthers’ love of the game was on full display after they dismantled the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
First is QB Cam Netwon, who went full Hulk Hogan and ran up and down the Panthers sideline, a huge smile plastered across his face, to get the crowd hyped up as time expired on the Panthers’ 38-0 victory. Have you ever seen a person so happy in your life? He looks like a 13-year-old who just opened his Xbox One on Christmas morning and completely loses his sanity.
Then you’ve got what appears to be half of the Panthers team dabbing on the sideline. It’s the dance Newton made famous, and it’s quickly sweeping every professional sports league. Look at these cheerful gents. You’d think they were just waiting for their post-game snack of fruit chews and Capri Suns.
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Finally, tight end Greg Olsen, who did not participate in the original group dabbing (which made for an unintentionally hilarious photo), even got his adorable son in on the dabbing action, which made for a video so cute you literally want to jump out the nearest window. Who’s having as much fun as these guys? No one, and that’s what makes sports such a beautiful thing.