There is going to be a lot of focus on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton over the course of the next two weeks leading to Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos. Newton has had a tremendous season and will likely be the MVP, but that hasn’t come without criticism. Newton is not your everyday, pocket passing quarterback, as he can beat teams in various ways, whether it be by firing the ball 50-yards down field with his rifle of an arm or running through or around defenders. When he finds the end zone, he breaks out a little celebration. Some people criticize him for these celebrations, but for what reason? What is it hurting? Newton says he knows why he get so much backlash and criticism.
“I’ve said it since day one, I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton said on Wednesday.
He has been criticized his whole career for numerous different things. Some said that when he first entered the league, he was immature. Let’s not forget that when Newton entered the NFL in 2011 after being drafted first overall by the Panthers, he was only 22-years old. Some criticized him for his lack of leadership skills, but that tune has since changed due in large part to this season that the Panthers had led by their quarterback.
He was and still is criticized for his dancing and ‘dabbin’ after scoring touchdowns. What is the harm in that? He is a player who has dreamed of playing in the NFL his entire life and worked hard to get where he’s at. His love for the game shows when he celebrates and there is nothing wrong with that. Now, when his team was 2-14 one year and he continued to dance and celebrate, that got people talking, but again, nothing wrong with it. Newton said he is the same guy who entered the league and the only thing different about then and now is that the team is winning.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera backs the comment about people being scared of him in terms of what Newton brings to the table with his dynamic skillset. How could people not be scared of a 6’5”, 245-pound quarterback who can do so much on the field? Rivera also said he doesn’t think Newton wants to be known as an African-American quarterback.
Newton will be the sixth black starting quarterback in Super Bowl history, with the last four featuring black quarterbacks. He can become just the third black starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, joining Russell Wilson and Doug Williams. Rivera, who is now the second head coach in Super Bowl history of Hispanic decent, wants to be know just as a coach.
“I don’t think he wants to be known as an African-American quarterback. I think he wants to be known as a quarterback, and a great one at that,” Rivera said.
How Newton performs on Sunday is how we should judge him. We shouldn’t judge and criticize Newton because he is a flashy quarterback, who is like none other we have ever seen in this league. There hasn’t ever been a quarterback like Newton to start a quarterback from an on-field standpoint and how he conducts himself when he scores.
Is that a bad thing? Not really. There is no rule stating a quarterback starting in the NFL, let alone the Super Bowl has to conduct himself in a particular way. Winning brings out raw emotions, especially winning the biggest prize in football and Newton should be able to go about his business as he pleases.
When Super Bowl 50 arrives, it will be similar to an old school professional program between two iconic legends in “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, with Newton playing the part of Flair and Peyton Manning playing the part of Rhodes. Flair was all about style and profile while Rhodes was all about working hard toward the dream. As Flair always said, “To be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man,” and Newton has a chance to do just that by defeating Manning on February 7th.
No matter what the outcome of the Super Bowl is or how Newton elects to celebrate, we should all do one thing and just let Cam be Cam.