CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Aimee Boorman turned the video to slow motion for a more detailed evaluation of Cam Newton‘s touchdown flip.
“Takeoff looks good,” she said. “Ducked his head. Looks OK on the landing. He might have gone for a good stick there had he not been hit in the back. A little bit sideways. He did a little half-twist there, so I think he should get some bonus points.”
Boorman knows a thing or two about flips.
As the coach of 2013 and 2014 world champion gymnast Simone Biles, few are better to judge Newton’s 2-yard flip into the end zone in the third quarter of theCarolina Panthers‘ 24-17 victory over Houston on Sunday.
Granted, Boorman’s students typically are much younger than the 26-year-old Newton. They’re also much smaller than the 6-foot-5 quarterback. Biles, for example, is 4-9.
But Boorman is much more qualified to judge flips than Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who told Newton that “the Russian judge gave him a 3, but everybody else gave him a 10.”
“First of all, from a coaching standpoint, I’m glad he didn’t lose his knees on it,” Boorman said as she continued the evaluation. “He landed a little under-rotated, so I’d have to take a deduction.
“Thank goodness the Texan [end Jared Crick] gave him a little bump to help him with the landing. … I’m going to give it an 8.5, because I think there is definitely room for improvement.”
Some Carolina fans are giving Newton a 10.0, but the experts and NASCAR driver Carl Edwards aren’t calling it perfect.
“Wow, that was crazy,” said Edwards, known for his backward flip off the door of his Sprint Cup car after victories. “He would have stuck the landing, but you know how hard it is when you get hit like that in mid-air.”
The hit definitely added a degree of difficulty that the experts weren’t accustomed to.
“He had pretty good form,” said 2008 Olympic silver medalist Alicia Sacramone Quinn. “His legs were a little separated, but he did get hit. If he had tweaked his body a little bit it would have been a perfect Salto.”
Quinn knows a thing about flips and football. Her husband is former NFL and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn — who, for the record, isn’t ready to do the “Cam Flip.”
“He’s actually asked me if I could teach him how to flip,” Sacramone said. “I tell him he’s so large that I can’t spot him.”
Former NCAA all-around champion Megan Marsden, who has helped Utah to a record-tying 10 national championships, gave Newton a three-tenths point deduction because his knee touched the ground.
She also suggested Newton should have added a half-twist to be fully turned to the direction from which he took off.
“It certainly wasn’t a 10 in my book, but I’d give him a nine mainly because he had to negotiate quite a bit in the middle to still be upright at the end,” she said. “Some of my athletes, if they were bumped around in the middle of their jump, would end up on their face, maybe.”
LSU women’s gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, the 2014 National Coach of the Year, would give Newton a 10 if she were grading him solely as a quarterback.
But as a gymnast? She called his touchdown a “backyard flip.”
“For a guy who is 6-5 and 245 pounds, that’s great, but you asked me to score what he did as a gymnast,” she said. “It’s a very athletic flip. I’m going to give him a seven-and-a-half.”
But she and the rest all agreed the flip was amazing.
“And the thing that made it amazing was it was spontaneous,” Breaux said.
That Newton did the flip wearing shoulder pads and carrying a football instead of wearing a leotard with a mat to brace the landing made it more impressive.
“If he had a few lessons on the takeoff and landing, he’d be golden,” Sacramone said.
Perhaps Newton might have to rethink what he said in training camp about not being in the sport of “ballerina, gymnast.”
At least the gymnast part.
Just don’t ask Marsden to coach him.
“That might be more than my coaching can handle,” she said with a laugh. “Especially the dancing part. I don’t know what he’s capable of in dancing.
“And how would he look in leotards?”
Told Newton has been known to wear men’s Capri pants didn’t change her mind.
Boorman’s plate is pretty full these days with Biles, so count her out.
“If I did coach him, I would definitely work on some landing drills, making sure he squared his shoulders up,” she said. “But he did keep the football, so that’s a plus.
“I guess I can bump it up to a nine because he didn’t lose it.”