Cam Newton has done it. Years ago, he decided to wear the number one on his jersey. He did it because he believed he could live up to the hype of being a number one draft choice. Five years later, he’s done just that. Newton has silenced his critics and is starting in Super Bowl 50. But, there are still some who refuse to give the former Auburn star the respect he deserves.
When Newton was drafted, he understood that the journey would be long. He realized that the road to becoming a successful quarterback in the NFL would take time. He dedicated himself to doing just that. The usual peak time for a signal caller to mature is around year five, so Newton is on course. The 2015 season was his best year since coming into the league.
Newton has brought the elements of his game together, as naturally as bread and butter. He has become one of the most dangerous signal-callers. Players around the league know that he’s a threat whenever the ball is in his hands — and that’s every snap.
When the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers face off in Super Bowl 50, the bright lights will be focused on Newton. This may be Peyton Manning’s last year as the Broncos quarterback, but the attention will be on the brash young man from College Park, Georgia. Aquib Talib, one of Denver’s talented cornerbacks, wasn’t shy with his opinion of Newton. Per ESPN, he was straightforward and matter-of-fact.
“He’s throwing the ball amazing right now. And you know what he can do with his legs. He’s the best of both worlds, he’s probably the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL right now.”
That’s a tremendous show of respect.
Dangerous is probably an understatement. Newton accounted for 45 touchdowns in the regular season (35 passing, 10 rushing), threw for 3,837 yards, finished with a 99.4 passer rating, and was the Panthers’ second-leading rusher (636 yards) in what many in the league believe will result in his first MVP award.
To put it bluntly, Cam Newton is a powerful yet graceful running back with a cannon for an arm. Not many quarterbacks can boast of being a team’s second-leading rusher. He’s been able to fight the temptation to tuck the ball and run. He takes what the defense is giving him. With his strength and agility, he could easily play any skill position in the league.
But the Newton haters can’t see beyond what the media has created. Their disdain for him has gone to new heights. After the Seattle game two weeks ago, Newton took his usual victory lap to greet fans. When a Seahawks fan dangled a “12th man” sign in front of him, he snatched it and dramatically threw it on the ground to get a rise out of Panthers fans.
Some Seahawks fans were so irate that they wrote letters to claim how “classless” Newton is. Per a report by Fox Sports, one fan even started a petition to keep him out of CenturyLink Field. Instead of embracing the joy and passion of his love for the game, fans would rather write negative letters and start directionless petitions. The no-respect card still hasn’t been tucked away with some. They obviously feel he hasn’t done enough to deserve it.
Newton has upped his game and is one of the most notable players on the gridiron. He has continued to improve his gameplay despite the continuous negative remarks of analysts and dour fans. He now has the platform of Super Bowl 50 to prove his doubters wrong. At a time when the NFL is being scrutinized for so-called thugs and dirty players, Newton should be looked at differently.
Cam Newton is at the top of his game and proving it’s still possible to have fun playing football. He deserves respect for that if nothing else.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]