Tiki Barber knows what it’s like to lose a Super Bowl. His loss came in 2001.
Mike Tolbert’s came 15 years later.
“It’s tough,” the Panthers fullback said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I’m a man’s man. I never cry and stuff like that. I actually cried after that game. It was so tough. It’s heartbreaking. But we know that we were so close. That’s what’s exciting. We didn’t lose anybody. We got our whole team coming back, so it’s going to be fun.”
The Panthers lost to the Broncos, 24-10, in Super Bowl 50, but they figure to be the cream of the NFC crop once more next season. They return seemingly every major contributor, including Cam Newton, who just might be the most dynamic quarterback in NFL history.
Barber felt that the once-frenetic Newton was a calming presence for the Panthers last season.
“Definitely,” Tolbert said. “I think as you grow as a player and as you get more experience, you start to settle down. You start to get the inner confidence and he’s gotten that. The sky’s the limit for him. Obviously he just won MVP. That was for a reason. He’s put the work in, he’s put the effort in and he’s healthy now, too. He’s been battling injuries these past couple of seasons, but now he’s healthy and he’s good to go.”
The Panthers had a chance to tie Super Bowl 50 in the fourth quarter, but Newton fumbled and Denver recovered and went on to score the game-sealing touchdown.
Even worse for Newton, he gave up – or appeared to give up – on his pursuit of the football.
“Honestly, I haven’t seen it,” Tolbert said. “Anything I see (about the) Denver Broncos or (anything that’s) Super Bowl-related, I change the channel. It’s so heartbreaking, I don’t want to see it. But we know that he’s out there getting shots fired at him daily, and that game was no exception. They had two great pass rushers coming off the edge, guys pushing the envelope all day. It was something that happened, but we’ll move forward from it.”