On Sunday, Cam Newton led the undefeated Carolina Panthers to a gritty divisional win against the New Orleans Saints in a shootout, to remain the only unbeaten team in the NFL.
America, take notice, because this is no fluke.
Perhaps it’s because the Panthers are not at the top of the list of “America’s team” candidates, or that they have no marquee names outside of Newton, or the gross misconceptions about African-American quarterbacks, but Newton has been the most important player for his football team this year. Now he just needs the proper recognition.
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Doing more with less
This is not to take away from the other MVP candidates. Carson Palmer could arguably win the MVP or comeback player of the year. Tom Brady is still perhaps the best quarterback in the game, and the Vikings would be nothing without Adrian Peterson.
But Cam Newton’s best receiver is Ted Ginn Jr., which is pretty much all that needs to be said. A journeyman who has never had more than two touchdowns with any other team, and a player many recognize as talented, but nowhere near a “number one” status.
Yes, Newton has benefitted from an elite defense, but he still the engine that makes the team go. With his super athleticism and much improved passing game, he is the one player that strikes fear in opposing team's defenses.
Statistically, what really stands out for Newton is his 476 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns to go along with his impressive passing numbers. That would put his total touchdown count to 32 on the season, which is good for the second highest in the league.
But stats aside, Newton’s team is the only undefeated team in the league at this point, and they may just win out. He is the unquestioned leader and heart and soul of a team at the top of the entire league.
Coming into his own
Critics may point to his “childish” antics such as dancing after his touchdowns, but the smarter football fan knows better. After his dances, he finds a Panthers fan in the stands and hands them the football, such as this young kid who recently lost his father. Who can hate on that?
The maturity and growth of Cam Newton since his early days is a perfect example for young quarterbacks to aspire to. One that says, no matter your talents, you still need to be a class act on and off the field.
Cam does that, and more. Which is why this year, he is the league's most valuable player.