Why Cam's Star Power Will Eventually Rival MJ's

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 11:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers stretches his arms during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Last season, the Carolina Panthers were a pathetic 2-14 and that earned them the first pick in the NFL Draft. Even the selection of a Heisman Trophy winner couldn’t bring a little enthusiasm back to the Charlotte fan base.

But with a strong work ethic, Cam Newton has elevated his winning smile and unlimited playing potential into becoming the area’s favorite athlete since local hero Michael Jordan.

Scouts questioned his shooting range, passing and defensive skills after Jordan left the campus of North Carolina for the NBA Draft. No one could have projected a 6’6” shooting guard would dominate the league like MJ did, as centers and point guards were the heart and soul of the NBA. No expert could have ever predicted that Jordan’s fierce desire to be the best would separate him from the rest of the league, as eventually, he did master those failing skills.

Yes, Newton had some mishaps on the journey to a national championship, as eligibility and a pay-to-play scandal haunted him all last season at Auburn. But those allegations were never proven to be true, although they still left a dark cloud hanging over his off-field personality.

On the field, Newton has this quiet confidence about himself, as teammates feed off his energy to make plays in tight contests that often come down to the final quarter. Auburn never blew out opponents, but somehow ended up winning games. With each passing week, Newton was proving his doubters wrong.

He plays the game a little bit differently than your typical quarterback, as Newton is a two-prong attack that can run and pass the football. We’re programmed to think that quarterbacks are supposed stay in the pocket until the pass rush flushes them out. Fans love the way Newton sacrifices his body to gain that extra yard on his runs instead of sliding like every other quarterback in the league.

Cam has more talent than any other rookie coming into the NFL, but he needs time to refine some of his quarterbacking skills. Newton expects to do great things on the field, and his fierce obsession to win has spread to his Panther teammates. Much like Jordan, they have fully accepted him as the team’s leader and expect to win multiple Super Bowls during his career.

Veteran players rave about his work ethic, as Newton has momentarily halted the business side of pro football because he doesn’t want too many distractions from his time to learn the pro game. Other quarterbacks may have better skills in the pocket, but none have the drive to succeed like him.

Cam Newton is a winner, and that sets him apart from others.