14 Sep Stromme’s Takes: Cam Newton, Canton-Bound?
By: Mike Stromme
He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast… We’ll let’s face it, he’s better known as Superman.
Cam Newton is the reigning NFL MVP, the number one fantasy QB in many circles and, for all intents and purposes, a running back with a cannon for an arm. On the NFL Network’s NFL Top 100 Players of 2016, a ranking of NFL players voted on by current NFL players, Cam was number one. He’s the face of the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, and might be the face of NFL football as we know it. Hell, he even rolled his truck on the freeway
and played that week! The man may or may not be immortal.
To many, Cam is the present and future of the quarterback position. Madden players all around the world create their own versions of quarterbacks in create-a-player mode. The vast majority of them carry similar traits and attributes to Cam Newton; a strong, accurate deep ball paired with crazy speed, agility and toughness. At 6′-6”, 260 lbs, Cameron Jerrell Newton is the complete package.
So at 27 years of age, is it too early to start talking about the possibility of a bronze bust that resembles Cam Newton on display in Canton? Is Cam Newton destined to enter the fraternity of football’s elite and powerful, the Hall of Fame? Is he, or can he be, a Hall of Fame quarterback when his career is all said and done?
I believe so, and here’s why.
At the end of, what many of us hope, is an lengthy career, the rushing touchdowns will be there. As things currently stand, Cam ranks 91st all-time in career rushing touchdowns with 44. Among active players, that’s good enough for 9th amongst active players. Only Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, (his former teammate) DeAngelo Williams, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte have more career rushing scores than Newton.
Among quarterbacks, Cam Newton passed Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young for most NFL rushing scores by a quarterback. Steve Young had 15 years, Newton passed him in one-third of the time. If you want to get real historical with him, he’s currently tied with the great Otto Graham. Graham lead the Cleveland Browns to three NFL Championships in the 1950s.
Do I expect Cam Newton to run for for double-digit touchdowns into his mid-30s? No, probably not. However, he’s in prime position to firmly pad those stats into oblivion. When it is all said and done, he might be the Barry Bonds of quarterback rushing touchdowns.
He’s even passed Michael Vick (36) and Randall Cunningham (35) already. Two of the greatest modern dual-threat quarterbacks in NFL history.
Let’s face it, Cam isn’t some Tim Tebow, Kordell Stewart, Terrelle Pryor run-first gimmick. He’s a prolific passer in addition to his mobile presence. Is he in the Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady class of passer? No. But, he doesn’t need to be right now in his career. He can beat you with his legs and his arm. That’s a scary enough of a proposition for most NFL defenses.
Let’s compare Cam’s 2015 to a certain Hall of Fame quarterback’s career year.
Hall of Fame QB:
The HOF QB has a considerable edge in completion percentage, the far more accurate passer. However, something tells me the weapons around him (one might be the best pass catcher of all-time), might be a little better than what Cam had to work with in 2015. Passing yards are damn-close and the TD-INT ratio is identical.
Hall of Fame QB:
As a whole, Cam had the better rushing season. However pound-for-pound, the better overall season might have gone to the HOF QB. Who put up roughly 70% of the counting stats in less than half of the attempts.
15-1, MVP, Super Bowl Loss
Hall of Fame QB:
13-3, MVP, Super Bowl Victory
Cam and the Panthers had a magical regular season last year. However, the final result wasn’t ideal. Steve Young and the 49ers had a strong regular season, the had the best record of any team in the NFL going into the
playoffs and absolutely trounced the San Diego Chargers in the Super Bowl.
Young also spent that entire season throwing to the greatest wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice. Cam threw to… like Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Olsen. Just saying. Rice was the recipient of 1,499 of Young’s 3,969 passing yards. Again, these are just facts.
Am I saying that if Cam Newton were to retire tomorrow, his career would match Young’s? Not at all. Young’s career spanned over 15 seasons, he won TWO MVPs, three Super Bowls and went to the Pro Bowl seven times. He’s a Hall of Famer, there’s no doubt about that.
However in five seasons, Newton has one MVP and three Pro Bowl selections. Is it Hall of Fame worthy? Not as it currently stands. But, it’s one hell of a start. If Cam can find success in the postseason, mature as a passer all the while, maintain some of his running prowess, there’s definitely a case to be made for him to be enshrined in Canton one day. However, we as fans can begin the conversation today.
And you can continue the conversation with your’s truly on Twitter @stromme_93. I also Tweet about fantasy football and even give fantasy football advice and picks against the spread on Football with The SportsCrew, a weekly broadcast on thesportscrew.com.