Jan 21, 2016 - Things to Do

No doubt about it, Cam Newton is the true MVP

cam-newton-with-CMS-students

cam-newton-with-CMS-students

As far as I’m concerned, Cam Newton is the clear and away winner of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award this season. Away from this point, I am incapable of being persuaded. There is simply no player more deserving than him.

The criteria for MVP has always been sort of ambiguous, but I imagine it is likely some combination of outstanding individual stats, signature performances and, of course, winning. To me, the fundamental question that must be asked is, “Could their team do it without them?” Whatever success the team has had, could they’ve achieved it in this player’s absence? With the Carolina Panthers the undeniable answer is no.

To lead this team to a 15-1 regular season record after releasing their former go-to receiver and face of the franchise Steve Smith, then losing their stud receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the year due to preseason injury, and enlisting a receiving core that – with all due respect – was less “who’s who” and more “wait…who?”, most Carolina fans had their sights set on next season.

Cam Newton has taken this team and given them a winning attitude. He has demonstrated leadership, competitiveness, and the oh-so-elusive clutch factor many players fail to demonstrate. These are ultimately team wins, as the defense has been stout all year. But consider the fact the Panthers have had the highest scoring offense in the entire NFL. Cam is first is total touchdowns and second in passing touchdowns. Who can honestly say they saw this coming?

cam-newton-towel

Parker Anderson via @Flickr

Cam has ultimately proven to be a franchise’s dream. He can be seen flashing his signature smile all over the community and raising the visibility of the team and the city of Charlotte. He has quietly visited the families of the Charleston Massacre victims, and even hosted them at a game.

He utilized his Cam Newton Foundation to surprise students at various Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with celebrity visits and gifts during the holiday season. Perhaps most impressive, he has changed the culture of the team, by establishing a ritual of giving away game balls to kids in the front row after touchdowns. The trend has caught on and this is a totally different team as a result. Free flowing and having fun.

Still for some, this is just not enough. For whatever reason, the “Cam-hate” is at peak levels. The focus has instead been on his dance moves, his perceived “arrogance,” and his tearing down of opposing teams’ paraphernalia. Newton seems to be held to a standard unlike his quarterbacking predecessors or contemporaries.

Whereas Brett Favre was free to express childlike exuberance, smacking teammates on the behind and hoisting them over his shoulder after touchdowns, Cam is told to “act like he’s been there before.” The NFL found Tom Brady violated its policy on integrity of the game (though having his suspension nullified by the court) after the so-called “Deflategate.” Yet, it is Cam Newton’s character called into question for having a child while unwed.

Like it or not, these things have nothing to do with his on the field performance. On the gridiron, he’s revolutionized the position, exploded the “option quarterback” stereotype, and has his team on the verge of going to the Super Bowl. To Cam, I say, “Keep dabbin’ on em!” To the detractors I say, “Let Cam be great.”

And if you can’t do that, by all means pick up a hobby and find something productive to do.

Cover image by Grant Baldwin via Flickr 

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