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Why are Cam Newton, Panthers doing the Dab? A history of the dance craze

Why are Cam Newton, Panthers doing the Dab? A history of the dance craze

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

With a week until Super Bowl 50 kicks off, the world should be prepared to see lots of dabbin' over the next seven days or so. It's a craze sweeping the Carolinas to the point that old people in retirement homes are dabbing at dinner. During the NFC divisional playoff game between Seattle and Carolina, my wife texted me a picture of 20 women dabbin' at my sister-in-law's baby shower in Concord, North Carolina.

It's taking over the nation too -- small children are building snowmen in New Jersey designed to look like Cam Newton dabbin'.

So why is Cam associated with the dab? Well, he's the one who launched it into the mainstream through his post-touchdown celebrations in the end zone. The craze spread like wildfire because this is how crazes work, but also because Newton is the most entertaining figure in football right now.

With the Carolina Panthers going 15-1, annihilating opponents and streaking toward the Super Bowl as Newton piles up touchdowns (45 total), it wasn't difficult to get fans on the bandwagon.

The dab is a super easy dance move too. You just stick your arms out to the same side and put your nose in your elbow.

Easy as pie. And/or sneezing.

The more difficult thing is trying to figure out where the dab came from.

Atlanta Origins

The dab craze began in Atlanta before the football season began, with multiple rap groups unleashing it on the world via music videos. Remember: Newton is from Atlanta. It makes total sense he's hearing about up and coming rap groups from the city as well as the dance moves those groups are unleashing.

The most famous of these is Migos, who released the song “Look at My Dab.”

There might be some argument made about someone named Skippa da Flippa dabbing first, but much like the slanket versus the snuggie, it's much more about marketing than who was first.

Such is life in the fast lane of rap music and wearable blankets.

It's Not Dabbing

Your mom or your grandmother or even your uncle who's an Alabama fan is going to try and tell you Cam is representing the drug culture in America by doing his dance in the end zone. You know, right before he hands the football to a small child and unleashes a big, bright grin on America.

Cam's dabbin' is a serious storyline this season in the NFL. (USATSI)

But there's a difference between dabbing in a drug sense and dabbin' in a dance sense.

Dabbing is smoking concentrated THC. Dabbin' is the dance move where you stuff your nose in your elbow.

It's totally possible there's a tangential connection, but trying to make a direct connection between the two means you're probably just one of those people pretending to own a legitimate reason for not liking Cam.

Mistaking the two is easy to do however. Just ask Seahawks defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.

But it's important to remember: when someone does a dab dance they are not saying “hey kids, let's get high.” Or anything other than just doing a dance.

Controversy

Besides the whole issue of comparing the dance with drug use, the dab also caused controversy when a mother -- and a Titans fan -- sent an outraged letter to the editor of the Charlotte Observer complaining about Newton's behavior in a Panthers beatdown of the Titans during the season.

Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter. The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the ‘in your face' taunting of both the Titans' players and fans. We saw it all.

Nevermind that none of those things happened, Rosemary.

This outrage occurred right as the world was celebrating Cardinals backup quarterback Drew Stanton for his delightful sideline dancing. Clear-cut situation of a double standard being held.

The true irony of this was the guy offended by Cam's dancing on the field, Will Witherspoon, had done a hip, new dance earlier in the game ... after sacking Newton.

Not Invented by Dabo

The funniest thing -- to me -- about the whole Dab craze was when someone at FOX Carolinas thought the Dab was invented by Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney.

It was sort of fair, considering Dabo, who is not afraid to look goofy in front of young kids by breaking out popular dance moves, actually did the dab.

Swinney would not be the last football coach to celebrate by dabbin'.

Jumping the Shark

The natural progression from Cam and the Panthers doing the dab to celebrate was Carolina coach Ron Rivera dabbing as well. When Rivera dabbed it was pretty awesome! The Panthers even got Jerry Richardson to dab!

He wouldn't be the only NFL owner to dab, with Falcons owner Arthur Blank busting it out after Atlanta delivered Carolina's only loss.

Here's Urban Meyer, theoretically cool coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes who can relate to young people.

Strong form. Not old man strength like Frank Beamer brought to the Virginia Tech locker room though:

Not to pin it on one person — especially someone who traditionally is a delightful locker room dancer — but it felt like the dance came to a head when Andy Reid dabbed in the Chiefs locker room:

Although actually the single-most random and “shut it down” dab probably goes to Jets owner Woody Johnson.

It's all become a bit much, to be honest. This very Sunday, former 49ers coach turned Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was spotted dabbin' with a recruit in a living room.

There's really no reason to think it stops even if the Panthers win the Super Bowl.

The good news is at least it doesn't involve Creed.

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