Cam Newton: The Next Michael Vick? Carolina Panthers Sure Hope so

Jeff NowakContributor IIIJuly 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20:  Cam Newton attends the NFL PLAYERS Premiere League Flag Football Game at UCLA on May 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

We've all heard the hating haters and their hatred—it's akin to a career when it comes to professional sports—but when it comes to Cam Newton, the hate is completely misguided.

What we have here is a physical specimen. The 6'6", 240-pound winning machine is built more like a Greek God; less like a football player. The pick of Jimmy Clausen in 2010 is what has caused a lot of the scrutiny.

I think most of the annoyance generated from the football faithful has come about due to sheer dislike of how Newton's career shaped out at Auburn—I'm speaking of the improper benefits, not the epic/historic/otherworldly Heisman and championship-winning season. 

This hatred is apparent because, rather than critiquing his efforts on the field, the aforementioned haters have taken to a different punching bag: 

Newton's mental acuity.

No, the man is not going to pass a molecular biology exam. No, he is probably not going to pass many exams for that matter. This is an occupational hazard you face when you know you are going to be a professional athlete from the time you are 15 years old and have already passed the 6'2" mark. His teeth are also awkwardly-perfect. (Improper dental benefits, anyone?)    

Listen to Newton talk and you will not be wowed by his vocabulary—another occupational hazard. However, you cannot tell me the man is anything but a shining example of composure. A little cocky, for sure, but such is life in the NFL.

I would be more worried if he wasn't a narcissistic, self-absorbed professional athlete. At least he probably won't become addicted to cough syrup (see JaMarcus Russell).


Vince Young was dumb.

He came into the league after his infamous score of six on the 50-point Wonderlic test—the average warehouse worker scores at a 14


Pacman Jones is dumb.

After being arrested for what seems like the 1,000th time it is clear he has no respect for the God-given gift he is ruthlessly detonating. He was arrested for disorderly conduct while intoxicated and wearing a neck brace—you can't make this up.


No, Cam Newton reminds me of another infamous NFL figure, and that is Michael Vick. When Vick was taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the first-overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft, everyone marveled at his athleticism. He also had arm strength and accuracy rarely seen in a mobile QB. 

Vick wasn't, and still isn't an overly smart individual in the generic sense. Throw an algebra equation his way and he may just spell a very x- and y-heavy word. But throw him a playbook, a 3-4 defense with a blitzing free safety and the man can perform miracles.

Cam Newton has that same composure and miracle-inducing potential. He is also six inches taller than the 6'0" Vick, so he can see over his offensive line—something Vick has always struggled with—and carries about 30 more pounds of pure strength.

Some of you may have deduced my enormous, concluding, over-arching, ironic and story-tying point. But I am still going to hype it because I seriously believe this.

Newton will not go the Russel or Jones route. He will treasure his athletic ability and use it the best way possible—he is too much of a narcissist to do otherwise.

He is far more likely to be a hardened, possibly animal-hating, criminal. But he will undoubtedly tear the league to shreds—much like Vick—in the process. Rest assured, if Vick can kill dogs, something most Americans hold as worse than a mass-murder of humans, and come back to NFL fame, the equally-charismatic Newton can win the hearts and minds of the NFL world.

Just wait for that first 50-yard TD scamper after the play seemed long past dead. Feet will be firmly placed in the haterade-filled mouths. Mine, of course, will be firmly planted on the ground.