If the Carolina Panthers win the Super Bowl Sunday, Derek Anderson -- Cam Newton's backup -- will earn himself a championship ring. It's a good place to be in, and a far cry from where Anderson was in 2010, when he came into the season as the surprise starter for the Cardinals after Matt Leinart's relationship with Ken Whisenhunt completely fizzled. The team wasn't good, nor was Anderson. The most memorable moment for Anderson came in a "Monday Night Football" game against San Francisco, after which Anderson went off in a postgame press conference when Kent Somers questioned him about MNF cameras catching Anderson laughing on the sideline during a bad loss.
In retrospect (and I just went back to look at the telecast), Anderson's reaction was brief. But color commentator Jon Gruden criticized Anderson for not being more upset given the way the game was going, and the fans saw and heard it at home. It's why Kent's Twitter feed (and mine) blew up with angry fans. So Kent asked Anderson about it after, and when Anderson said he hadn't laughed, Kent pursued it. It got memorable -- in Cardinals' lore, it was close to they-were-who-we-thought-they-were memorable. Anderson apologized a few days later, but that wasn't live on SportsCenter, so ...
But that was five years ago, and Kent got a chance to catch up to Anderson at the Super Bowl, writing a really good column about that time and Anderson's rear view of it all. Anderson explains what guard Deuce Lutui was saying to him and why he reacted as he did. Anderson admits he could have handled it better, but probably goes without saying. It was an ugly year, one that nearly pushed him to retire, but Anderson said he rededicated himself to football and now finds himself on the cusp of being part of a championship team.
"I grew from that situation," Anderson told Kent.
Anderson takes this ... stuff ... serious, after all. Real serious.