Hate or it or love it the quarterback is on top of his game
Hate it or love it but the Carolina Panther’s Cam Newton is on top. The Cam Newton story is an interesting tale. The young quarterback has taken the hits on and off the field with some of his behavior. He has literally been painted with a brush that in my opinion holds no true value to the person he actually is. Cam has always been an upfront no nonsense character who’s only agenda was to win football games. Drafted #1 in 2011 with expectations as high as anyone he has taken the brunt of the criticism over the past 4 seasons for not being able to get his Carolina Panthers to the next level. Finally his time has come and his team is in position to control their destiny if they can continue to play to the level they have so far.
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Panthers get it done on the Field
Cam Newton is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. His 6’5 245lb stature is not one to take lightly. He has led the Carolina Panthers minus their number 1 wide receiver Franklin Benjamin to an 11-0 start this season. They are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL and are slowly running away with the NFC south division. Their dominating defense and the poise Newton has shown this year has been the biggest reasons for the Panthers success. Cam is boasting an 89.5 passer rating, while throwing for 2,466 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this season. He has also rushed for 427 yards this season and you can give him responsibility for 27 touchdowns already.
The Carolina Panthers are a hard hitting football team. They play really tough defense and run the ball down the throat of their opponents. Nothing flashy or spectacular about it and this formula is working well. Cam is the leader, but Linebacker Luke Kuechly is a big reason for the defense and how it handles itself each and every week. Luke had two interceptions against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving that helped put the game away and keep their undefeated season alive. Their defense ranks #1 in the NFC, only allowing opponents 312 yards of total offense a game. A defense that has taken on every challenge matched with the MVP caliber season Cam Newton is providing, the Panthers have a team destined for a long run in the playoffs. Hopefully Newton is able to stay focused and healthy as they attempt to bring home a coveted championship back to North Carolina.
What Happen to the Fun in Football
Winning in the NFL use to be fun and when you did win you were able to stretch the limits a little more than the other teams when it comes to celebration. The 2015 version of the NFL is more like the boarding school that has such high expectation that the students dread every minute of it. They almost limit personal expression from players to the point you notice every time someone does something “inappropriate”. Cam Newton plays with a certain level of passion that shows when he loses and when he wins. Dancing when you score a touchdown is a part of NFL tradition, sometimes it can become excessive but when you are 11-0 and the team on the other side of the ball is doing everything possible to stop you and they still can’t, I think that is a true dance worthy circumstance.
We have to stop looking for our star athletes to be idols that can’t be themselves. This is football, a sport built off the violence one puts on another man. Then we ask these same men to put their bodies on the line for our enjoyment every week but they can’t celebrate their effort. It doesn’t seem like an adequate trade off to me.
With Success comes Controversy
A few weeks ago, after Cam Newton and the Panthers won a game against the Tennessee Titans, a fan wrote the local newspaper with complaints about Newton’s chosen celebration on that Sunday. Insinuating that his crude behavior was detrimental to her 9 year old daughter and the sexual connotation that he displayed through his hip thrust could be borderline obscene. The fact that someone would take time out of their day to write someone who otherwise would have never spoken about them shows how much success plays a role in the perception people have of you.
When you are losing like everyone else people are excited about your touchdown celebrations but as soon as you are “winning too much” people start to get uncomfortable with those same celebrations. This is a reflection of a league that is struggling to find an identity. Some of their more popular players go against the grain and as a conglomerate this may become their most uncontrollable problem. When everyone under the shield no longer shares solidarity on issues that make the NFL progress is when the beginning of the end will happen. The NFL is changing but I have no clue if it is going in a good direction or bad one at this point. What do you think? Is the league making changes that you like or dislike? Leave a comment.