Cam Newton is a Franchise Player to be Proud of
Too often analysts and talking heads in the media are quick to pass judgment on players. After a bad season or a good one (or before they even get to the NFL) they are often dubbed as a franchise savior or a bust.
Cam Newton was one of those guys. After the year he had at Auburn it was hard to imagine him not being a franchise savior. With eight games of 200 or more yards passing and six with over 150 yards on the ground there was no player in the 2011 draft that matched his playmaking ability.
Of course stats do not directly translate into NFL glory. His impact was pretty clear from the start though. His passing was better than expected; he had only three games under 200 yards. He couldn’t have been expected to run as much as he did in college, but the fact that he got 50+ yards in eight games shows that defenses have to game plan for the possibility.
It would appear that he is the right kind of person to make it in the NFL. Lots of franchise QBs don’t find immediate success in the NFL (i.e. Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, and to an extent Aaron Rodgers). Often times it takes a few years for not only the player to grow into the role, but for the team to develop around the player.
So what is it that makes Cam Newton a franchise player to be proud of now?
Football is above all else just a game. Many people in the NFL are quick to point out that it is a multibillion dollar business. While that is true, it is the game that makes the business and not the other way around. Without enough people in the NFL believing that the game would turn into the Pro Bowl, but all season long.
Newton sees the game for what it is; a reason to take pride in oneself and to install pride in the community as well. He showed that recently at a 7-7 camp held on the Panther’s practice field.
Even though he wasn’t playing his excitement and passion for the game was evident. While he recognized that the game is his meal ticket, he also recognized that without the passion he couldn’t play like he does.
“I just took pride in doing it. It was just organized ruckus for me. I felt like I could just go out and prove to somebody that I was worthy of being on this field,” he said. “I felt like if everybody played with that type of attitude, there was no losing.”
Rather than do like a lot of guys and latch on to an elitist type of attitude, Newton has no desire to forget where he came from, and wants to make sure that his impact on the community get greater with time instead of less.
“As the status grows as an athlete, as an entertainer, whatever you want to call it, your whole relationship with your community decreases. I want that to be the opposite with me,” Newton added. “As I get bigger, as I grow and mature, as my status grows, I want my impact in the community to grow bigger. I think people have to see my face. And I want to see their face because I want to get their impact, also.”
Hmmm…passion for the game, love of and desire to establish firm roots in the community, a drive to be the best, and the talent to go with it? He may have only changed the Panthers fortune from 2-14 to 6-10 last season, but that sure sounds like a franchise player to be proud of to me.