Carolina Panthers: Rookie Cam Newton Named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IFebruary 4, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after a score against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

If you predicted it, then pat yourself on the back for being a part of one of the most obvious proclamations of the season.

There were talks that Andy Dalton leading his team to the postseason would overthrow Cam Newton’s amazing transition into professional football, but everyone should have known better.

The quarterback position is over-glorified in the NFL, so there was no doubt that he would beat out wide receivers like AJ Green, no matter how deserving the candidate may have been.

AJ Green’s rookie season was not a laughing matter, either, as he stepped to the forefront as one of Cincinnati’s emerging stars. He was consistent in each Bengals game as one of Dalton’s primary targets and soon allowed fans to forget how much they wallowed in self-pity last season.

Green did not bring the usual diva-tude that an elite receiver-in-the-making may display, but it was no match for how much of a reward Cam Newton has been for the Carolina Panthers.

Making the Pro Bowl was just the icing on the cake for Newton’s stellar start in the league, but what he achieved during games in the regular season is far more impressive.

There was no middle ground for Newton as he tried to display his array of talents during the combine and even during his pro day at Auburn. Either you were on the bandwagon or you were throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at it. Every aspect of his person was questioned, including his smile, his work ethic, his charisma and most importantly his moral value.

Newton was either going to succeed immensely or fail tremendously.


The reaction to his rookie season is merited and he has earned every bit of the praise he has received from former and current players that see what a gem his potential allows him to be. Newton is by no means perfect as his decision-making can still be scripted to end more victoriously than a six-game winning season.

The Panthers’ rookie has 4,051 passing yards season under his belt. After being told countless times that his style of play would not cut it in the professional league, Newton found a way to incorporate the general principles of the NFL into his swagger to change the culture in Charlotte. His teammates believe in his direction and are ready to go to war with him at any time by any means necessary.

That kind of leadership deserves recognition. It deserves some type of award.

The Carolina Panthers are relevant again and they can thank the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year for that.

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