To the casual football viewer, Cam Newton has taken a turbo booster to the top of the NFL food chain. Less than a season ago, folks were still trying to knock his hustle. Despite the hate, he continued to shine and was always confident, even in those dark moments early in his career when Carolina couldn't sniff a playoff berth.
To get to the Super Bowl in your first five years would be a grand accomplishment for most QB's. John Elway won his two Super Bowls in his last two years in the league.
The ambitious Cam called it a slow process.
“It wasn’t going to be instant grits," he said in the postgame press conference of yesterday's 49-15 destruction of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship. "It was going to be a process like long cooked collard greens...”
To totally obliterate your naysayers and haters not only gives Cam the right to dab on his adversaries, but he should be allowed to give them Grand Puba's classic "two snaps up and the finger."
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
The narrative knocking Cam's intelligence or field awareness or accuracy or leadership or mental makeup was coffined when Carolina jumped out to a 14-0 start and Cam emerged as the front-runner for MVP.
The support for Carolina (17-1) as Super Bowl favorites didn't match the impressiveness of the team's regular season run. Inexplicably, there were doubters.
While the reasons for their disbelief in Carolina had nothing to with Cam and everything to do with his surrounding offensive parts, in reality when you knock the squad, you are also knocking the quarterback. In this case, they underestimated Cam's ability to also uplift and inspire the players around him.
He's elevated some suspect soldiers and brought them to the precipice of football immortality. The Panther's 49-15 victory over Arizona was indicative of their remarkable season. Newton rumbled, tumbled and tossed his team to a mass destruction of Bruce Arian's Cards.
Ted Ginn Jr. held on to passes and ran like he stole something. Cam connected with Corey Brown on an 86-yard TD at the end of the first quarter, which was the longest pass in Panther's history. Greg Olson was uncoverable. Jonathan Stewart is on his John Riggins and in Cam we finally see the perfect combination of Mike Vick, RGIII, John Elway and Doug Williams in one unprecedented package.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
Any time the defense faltered, Cam would simply put some more points on the board. There are games that separate the numbers from reality and this was one of them. Carson Palmer's season stats may appear stronger than Cam's on the surface, but he's half the QB, half the clutch player and half the leader.
His three fourth-quarter picks told half the story. Newton’ 382 total yards told the other half.
With Tom Brady's AFC Championship loss to Peyton Manning and Denver, Super Bowl 50 will be the perfect opportunity for Cam to take the torch and run with it for the next decade.
The scary part is that Carolina doesn't have the typical Super Bowl team; full of All-Pro's and super solid veterans that are soon to be high-priced free agents.
There is plenty of work to still do on the offensive side of the ball. Can those guys have the same success against Denver’s secondary?
Denver's defense is a deadly bunch and will be Cam's stiffest challenge to date. If the Panthers are able to complete the mission this year, the future's even brighter.
Right now, let's just enjoy the epitome of a franchise QB and watch him finish his breakfast.