It seems people either love or loathe Cam Newton. Everyone can rest assured that the legion of Cam “haters” is overblown by mainstream sports media. It’s more likely Cam is a player people love to hate because he’s so dang good. If he played against your team this season, you loathe him. If he was your fantasy quarterback, you love him. If you’re a kid in the stands, you love him. If you’re a Seahawks fan with a #12 flag…yep. With a desire to state fact, here a few things you probably didn’t know about Cameron Jerrell Newton.
8. He Has Been Injured
Carolina Panthers fans really do believe this guy is Superman. Any football fan watching him play has to wonder how the guy can take such a beating, only occasionally grimace, then play on as if he hadn’t taken a hit all game. Is it possible to hurt this guy? In his five NFL seasons, there have only been two games he didn’t start. In 2014, a preseason hit caused a hairline fracture to his ribs—this, after he got into the preseason mix late. He also had an ankle surgery to clean up and tighten some soft tissue from a collegiate injury. That injury occurred his sophomore season at Florida (2008), forcing him to take a medical redshirt. There have been no chinks in his armor since the ankle cleanup and subsequent rib injury. It takes a lot of kryptonite to hurt a Cam.
7. Collegiate Musical Chairs
After his ankle injury in 2008, Cam opted to leave the University of Florida. He was next in line to be the man, following Tim Tebow’s departure, and Cam had already made his mark on The Swamp as a passer, ball carrier and scorer during the Tebow era. The writing was on the wall: Urban Meyer was leaving. Cam played the situation to perfection, and avoided a transfer to another FBS school. This allowed him to play immediately—at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas—where he led his squad to a 2009 JUCO Championship, and was named All-America honorable mention. Seriously: honorable mention. Transferring from a Jr. College allowed him to play immediately at the FCS or FBS level of collegiate athletics, and after the suitors made their offers, Cam chose Auburn University, where he led the Tigers to an undefeated season and a BCS National Championship.
6. He Has Always Been a Social Lightning Rod
While at the University of Florida, Cam got into trouble—enough trouble that he was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property. Everyone wanted to tag the guy as a hard criminal and thug, because that’s what happens in the United States when a talented, young, black kid is accused or found guilty of anything. Cam did purchase a computer that had been stolen. He tried to destroy the evidence by throwing it out the window when police came to search his room. He suffered the consequences, completed his disciplinary program, transferred, eventually ended up at Auburn, and then Mississippi State University cried foul, claiming they offered Cam’s father money if his son would sign with the Bulldogs. After a 13 month investigation, the NCAA found no wrongdoing. Wherever Cam goes, he attracts some lighting.
5. His Stats Through Five Seasons Are Absurd
As a rookie, Cam Newton boldly declared his arrival. Somehow, people expected him to win the Super Bowl with no arsenal at his disposal, but he still went on to win Offensive Rookie of The Year honors, throwing for over 4,000 yards, passing for 21 TDs and rushing for 14 more. Allow us to repeat: rookie. His rushing statistics over his first five seasons are incomparable, the kind that a good running back would hope for in five consecutive seasons. Over 500 yards rushing, a 4.8 yard per carry average and at least five rushing touchdowns. Ultimately, Cam Newton is putting up numbers that have never been put up before, and likely will never be approached again at the quarterback position. In major statistical categories, he is one of two players to pass for 7,500 yards, and 40-plus TDs in his first two seasons. The only other? Peyton Manning.
4. He Received the Manning Award in 2010
Speaking of Peyton Manning. There’s an award that was developed in 2004 by the Sugar Bowl committee to honor the nation’s top collegiate quarterback. The award is named after three of the most influential, storied and successful quarterbacks in collegiate history: Archie Manning, Petyon Manning and Eli Manning. Poor Archie was stuck with the Saints in the franchises early years, but in some strange way, he helped establish a rabid fan base that was loyal to the team, and selling out games whether the team was 3-13, or 13-3, but as a collegiate QB at Ole Miss, few have done it better. Peyton and Eli as collegiate QBs…their numbers speak for themselves. And in 2010, these award namesakes welcomed Cam Newton as the recipient of the annual award for the most outstanding college quarterback. The only award taking into account postseason game performance.
3. Opportunity to Join Elite Company
There are few athletes who can lay claim to achieving the top honors in their sports at every level. Super Bowl 50 is going to feature two quarterbacks who have done just about everything an athlete can do. And though Peyton Manning is a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee as soon as he’s eligible, Cam Newton has a chance to surpass Peyton on the grand scale of achievement. Cam is a Heisman Trophy winner, he is a BCS NCAA Champion, he is surely going to win the NFL League MVP Award for the 2015 season, and now he has a chance to become a Super Bowl Champion. The only other player to achieve such a feat in NCAA and NFL history? Marcus Allen. If people genuinely hate on Cam Newton, it’s starting to become crystal clear as to why. Envy and jealousy. Seriously, folks, just enjoy the show.
2. He Chose Football Over Baseball
When Cam was a youngster, he loved baseball and football. He was a standout in everything he played, but he knew he would eventually choose between the two sports, or try to play both. However—and this will come as a laughable shock—Cam chose football over baseball, because of his fear of getting hit in the batter’s box. In other words, Cam is totally okay with taking an evil shot to the chops from a 205 pound safety screaming up the middle on an exotic blitz, but that 5.25 oz leather ball coming at 90mph was too much to handle. And to a certain extent, it’s understood. He’s a very big target in the batter’s box, and anyone who has faced a 90mph pitch can attest to having to master the fear. The twist? He can’t tell anyone why the football hits don’t scare him. That’s the nature of fear, isn’t it?
1. He Is the Prototype Quarterback
So, this is something you did know about Cam, but maybe not to this extent. Cam Newton is the paradigm of what any coach would want at quarterback. He is quite literally the first representation of what a coach would create in a scientific laboratory to play the skilled position. Cam has great vision, he has great arm strength, he has great accuracy, he has the ability to be mobile in the pocket, he has the ability to scramble outside the pocket. Cam has the ability to run, and run exceptionally well. He reads defenses well. He’s heady with his snap count. And here is the really crazy thing about Cam… Peyton Manning commented on it during the Super Bowl 50 Opening Night ceremony: Cam is just getting started. He has not fully refined his NFL quarterbacking skill set. He is the future of football.