Cam Newton and the Greatest Rookie Debuts in NFL History
Cam Newton came into the NFL with some of the lower expectations of a top pick in a long time. It wasn't like he was the consensus best player in the draft and plenty of Panthers fans were just upset that they didn't get Andrew Luck instead.
Newton showed flashes in the preseason, but still nobody was prepared for the show he put on Sunday in his rookie debut: 422 yards, two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, a 110.4 QB rating and just one interception.
He became the first rookie to ever throw for 400 yards in his debut. And believe me, it's not like the Panthers were a team that could really air it out. They only threw for over 200 yards once last year.
So, even though Carolina lost 28-21, Cam Newton's debut will go down in history. But where does it rank among the best rookie debuts ever in the NFL?
No. 4: LaDainian Tomlinson (2001)
LT was a lightning-fast running back out of TCU, but, since he didn't go to a major college, people weren't quite sure what to expect from him. Sure he put up monster numbers in college, but that wasn't against NFL talent.
Tomlinson quickly put those doubters to rest with a workhorse effort in his rookie debut against the Redskins on the way to a 30-3 victory, with 113 yards on the ground along with two scores. He also caught one ball for 12 yards.
The impressive thing about his game was the slow and steady factor. His longest rush was only nine yards but he ran the ball 36 times (a season high), which showed that he could be an every-down back for them.
No. 3: Randy Moss (1998)
Moss has always been a bit of a headcase, which is why he fell so far in the 1998 NFL Draft even though he was easily one of the best athletes to come along in a while.
So it's wasn't totally a surprise when he seemed to put all his personal problems to the side and had a monster first game for the Vikings, leading them to a 31-7 win over the Bucs.
He only caught four passes, but he made them count with 95 yards (one for 48) and two touchdowns. He signalled his arrival as a consistent scoring machine. There would only be five games all year that he wouldn't have a touchdown.
No. 2: Anquan Boldin (2003)
Anquan Boldin is a very solid wide receiver in the NFL, but from his first game you would have thought he was going to be one of its biggest stars.
Even though it came in a blowout loss against the Lions, Boldin put up 217 yards and two scores on 10 catches in his rookie debut, including a 71-yarder.
He did fumble once, but it's not like he cost his team the game. In fact, he seemed to be the only thing keeping them in it.
The 217 yards were a rookie record for a debut. Not too bad for a second-round pick.
No. 1: Cam Newton (2011)
We've already touched on Newton's performance, but it must be mentioned again just how horrible the Panthers were on offense last year. So, to have a guy come in and do what he did is just unheard of.
Newton passed for 422 yards and had 440 yards total. I'm just going to assume that Cam Newton is going to smash every QB record known to man this year if he keeps this up.
He won't keep it up, obviously, but man that would be fun to see.