Every year, the media covering the Patriots votes for one guy. It's not an on the field honor. It's a different and arguably more challenging trait that is recognized.
The Ron Hobson Media Good Guy award is given to the Patriots player who is most helpful and accommodating to media, and in a year where the Patriots will miss the playoffs and performed inconsistently, answering questions about said performances can be difficult and draining. Add into the mix COVID safety protocols that meant face-to-face interactions with media were limited to video calls.
Despite this and having never met media members in person, Cam Newton's emotional honesty, patience and fantastic one-liners all season long earned him the 2020 Ron Hobson Media Good Guy Award.
NESN's Doug Kyed, the New England chapter president of the Pro Football Writers Association, surprised Newton at the beginning of his Thursday press conference.
"It's obviously been a trying year for many of us, but Cam is always a pleasure to interview, win or lose ... It's always easy to write or report after Cam talks," Kyed said.
Newton held up the glass award to the laptop camera for all reporters to see, and with genuine shock, expressed his gratitude.
"Thank you! I appreciate it ... That's pretty cool right here man," Newton said. "Thank you. Appreciate you guys."
In the press conference that followed, Newton doubled down on exactly why he was selected to begin with. In a 25-minute interview, Newton covered everything from what he's learned from Bill Belichick this year to the biggest sacrifice of 2020 -- missing time with his children.
It was honest, vulnerable and, oftentimes, hilarious, which was the media's experience covering Newton's press conferences in a nutshell. As difficult as this year was on so many fronts, Newton said he learned that he was "a mentally tough SOB," and took a great deal from the trials.
"It teaches you resiliency. It teaches you patience. It teaches you to have faith, an understanding sooner or later you're going to get a break. I'm not looking for no handouts," Newtonsaid. "It's just more or less to say, 'Bro, damn. Finally.' 2020 man, I'm about to sign, seal, tie this year up. Put a big knot on it. I can buy every single lock, key, throw away all them keys. I don't want to see no part of 2020, but it made me a better person. That I do believe."
As we all turn the page and welcome 2021, we'll leave you with one final moment that just about sums it.
"Feeling so 2021," he said. "Can't be any worse than 2020, ya feel?"
You can watch Newton's entire Dec. 31 press conference here.