Confession: I have a slight bias. (When isn't this true, right? lol) It ticked me off that the NCAA didn't suspend Cam Newton last year when they discovered that his father solicited money from colleges in return for his son playing there. Although this is in direct violation of NCAA rules, the NCAA ruled that since Cam didn't know about it, he couldn't be suspended. He slipped through a loophole.
Complete and utter bullsh*t.
There was no loophole. The NCAA created one, so that Auburn could play in the BCS Championship Bowl. It simply wouldn't do if the lesser known (i.e. not as many rich alumni) Oregon and TCU played each other. Oh, the horror.
But, honestly, that's not the point of this post. What's done is done and now Cam Newton is a Carolina panther, a professional football who doesn't have to get paid under the table. Good for him.
He had an amazing debut yesterday. He set a rookie record with 422 pass yard, two throwing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, and 1 interception. I dare say the vast majority of NFL quarterbacks and teams would take this in a heartbeat.
I was on Twitter this morning and ESPN anchor Mike Hill (@MikeHillESPN) had a few thoughts.
422 yards...2 passing TD's and 1 rushing TD is not JUST BEGINNER'S LUCK....STOP IT!!!!!
Don't say his teammates were helping him out as an excuse.....THAT'S WHAT YOUR TEAMMATES ARE SUPPOSED TO DO....
I wonder what was said about Peyton Manning after he threw for over 300 yards in his 1st game.....
He makes good points in regards to those who want to discount what Cam did. I was actually thinking about this last night after the Cowboys game when Tony Dungy, NBC studio analyst and former Colts coach, said rather giddily that the Panthers had found their quarterback.
My reaction then and my reaction today is, "Slow your roll." Surprisingly, I'm not being a hater. If Cam Newton thrives and becomes the next Peyton Manning, good for him. He's a pro now and what happened in college doesn't matter. (Caveat: I just hope he doesn't thrive against the Cowboys. :) ).
But I recall another rookie QB's debut a few years ago. Matt Leinart set a rookie record with 405 passing yards in 2006 with the Arizona Cardinals. He had 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, but for a rookie, those were good stats. People said that since he played in a pro-style system at USC that it made sense that he would have quick success in the NFL. The Cardinals had found their quarterback!
It's 2011. Leinart is no longer in the league.
Should Panther fans be excited about Cam Newton? Absolutely.
But I advise caution - on both sides.
To say it was beginners' luck is ridiculous. That doesn't happen in the Not For Long league. It diminishes his very real accomplishment.
But by the same token, anointing him the next Peyton Manning is just as ridiculous.
Ooh, I have a solution. Why don't we wait and see what happens before making declarations?
Nah, that's crazy nuts.