Cam Newton’s body language changes from last year to this year.

Cam Newton’s and Robert Griffin’s body language changes from last year to this year.  I was asked by the Washington Post to analyze the shifts in the confidence level  of two star NFL football quarterbacks through their nonverbal communication during media appearances. Here are my rough notes.  I will post the Washington Post article when it appears.

Cam Newton’s body language changes from last year to this year.
Notice the start. He is looking down in a way, if you turn off the sound his behavior is that of shame. His head stays down, his eye focus is down and his mouth goes down in a pout. He twists his head and  in a jerky motion tilts his head down and smirks showing his displeasure with having to make some of the statements ( We smirk holding one side of the face up while the other goes down. (a smirk shows a disconnect between the neocortex  and  the limbic brain. You reveal your true feeling on the one side of your face before the neocortex can stop it) He smirks 5 times in this interview and  He continues this full gesture cluster for most of the interview. You would swear he is giving a classic post doping apology statement. Downward motions show sadness and defeat. Look at his sometimes his right and sometimes his left shoulder actually point downward. At times he looks like Christ on the cross as if he wants to say, “Why have you forsaken me.
Then turn on the sound and listen to his voice. I notice that his volume level actually down and his voice fades out at the end and his diction is unclear and he mumbles out some of the words as if they tasted bad. Also listen he sniffs and
A year later  We had a very great team win today.  A year later. Look at his posture and bearing as he begins. His head and chest are head up. His shoulders are  held up and back and balanced.  His left shoulder goes down slightly as he talks about a bad play, but then he pops up again as he moves on.  There remarkable shift is how he holds his head Straight up and level unless he is asked a tough question.  His voice cues (paralanguage) sounds like he is a totally different man.  He bursts out at the beginning of each sentence like a horse jumping out of the gate. The consonants are crisp and explosive as if he was trained in diction into handsome male Eliza Doolittle.  He moves in an animated manner, he gestures occasionally and points showing confidence and purposefulness.  As he finishes he does this fun little up up up little dance with his shoulders. Its very subtle, but its really interesting.  Its like a little child being questioned what can of time he is having half way through trip to Disney World. He wants to go have more fun. He even moves like the flash to get off the stage.
Robert Griffin’s body language changes from last year to this year.
Last year Robert Griffin’s body language changes from last year to this year.
Robert Griffin’s body language ,- Notice his side to side rocking and stepping motion. This shows his nervousness and excitement.  Rocking  is a comfort cue but his style of step rocking as if he is dancing makes it the Snoopy happy dance. (that is an obscure reference to the Peanuts character who danced up and side to side in just that manner) That behavior comes on stronger as he says positive things about the team. Its revealing that his head and shoulders come up briefly during the side to side stepping. This shows he is feels victorious. Up Body language shoulder up edges of the mouth up in smile head up are all behaviors of winning. (sometimes you see the hands go above the head in a winning touchdown to show supreme victory  and joy.)  then up rocking,   is showing his energy
Notice how he rubs up on his nose at 2:14 when the reporter mentions teams that are doing better the and follows with “the elite group”  then he gives a stare of death to the reporter. Here he has tried to downplay the win and the reporter is pushing his buttons.
Its interesting he keeps saying, “its not something to boast and brag about, then he does.” I label that  a contrary speak. By saying that repeatedly he is bragging!
Paralanguage (defines as nuances of the voice tone, speaking rate etc.) His voice is deep and  confident. He comes down hard at the end of each phrase with gusto and his volume level stays strong and the sound actually explodes out louder at the end of some sentences. Again these are nonverbal cues of confidence. The more he talks about his fellow players and phrases he can end in “US”  the stronger and faster his paralanguage becomes.
Interesting response to “Do you get the feeling that quarterbacks are defined by how they play in games like this at (7:19) He rocks but his head goes down and his mouth closes and his tongue goes behind his bottom lip in a defiant secret tongue thrust to show his confidence was hit and he would like to stick his tongue out at the reporter then he pushes out his bottom lip in defiance.
When asked about the Cowboys and his response, (8:48)NONE what so every, and his longer response we see him smile subtly and have some fun.  
This year.
Notices his mouth as he begins.  I call the mouth the window to the truth. He actually sticks his tongue out to the side, quite obviously. The side tongue out is interesting mixture of emotions,  It shows his frustration with HIMSELF and a desire to focus and do better. I typically see it in small children who are doing hard match problems or who are drawing after they have been told they don’t draw well.
Then  he does several shirt in pants and pulling up pants comfort cue adjustments, indicating he wants to look good,  (not have pants fall down and be bear bummed and humiliated  in the press. He even does the pants pull up with BOTH hands in response to that first tough question that he might not start.
Listen to his paralanguage. His voice is horse and strains to come out.  It sounds like this is defeated as if Like he has shouted to god why and this is all the voice he has left after the shouting.

His shoulders in the yellow jersey are pointing down.  His posture looks down and defeated even in that bulky shirt with his big bad shoulders going down and he looks down. He hides his hands behind his back. We hide are our hands to hide the truth of our emotions.  He does show shades of his power as his elbows go up and he wants to hold his hands on his hips and he swings back and forth, but its not confident. His shoulders curve in so his heart points down, his shoulders are not back,  and his head dips down. 

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at