Yes We Cam

Photo from Charlotte Observer

The city of Charlotte has been searching for a superstar in the sports world ever since the Panthers were created in 1995.  The Carolinas have now arguably found their man in Cam Newton. Charlotte has never had an individual with the same “superstar” status as Cam. Newton not only had a record breaking rookie season, but will now participate in the Pro Bowl since Eli Manning dropped out. Cam has reignited the Panthers franchise in a way that many do not realize. Everywhere you go in the Carolinas these days, people are talking about Cam. Newton was chosen as ESPN The Magazine’s Next Big Sports Star (Link).  Even Lebron James and Dwayne Wade did Cam’s Superman celebration after Wade hit the winning shot against the Charlotte Bobcats back in December. He has captured the attention of the entire nation and there is no indication he will stop now. Fans around the Carolinas now believe that they have found their superstar, even after a losing season.

I am a die hard Panthers fan and watched every game last year during their dreadful 2-14 season with Jimmy Clausen as the quarterback.  I was lucky enough to attend two games (Packers, Bucs) this year and the atmosphere inside the stadium has completely changed.  When the Cats’ offense took the field, almost everyone in the stadium stood on their feet to witness the next amazing move that Cam Newton had up his sleeve.  Whether it was a 45-yard touchdown run that he made while  flying passed the Bucs defense or a perfect 65-yard pass to Steve Smith, the crowd erupted and celebrated as if it was a playoff game.  It may be hard for someone who is not a Panther’s fan to understand the magnitude of what Cam is doing for this franchise.  All Carolina needs is a healthy and improved defense, along with some key draft picks and there is every reason to believe that this team will compete for the NFC South championship next year.

The lack of national coverage on Cam Newton’s rookie season was particularly bothersome to me. As Cam broke a new record each week in December, SportsCenter seemed to only cover what Tim Tebow did that day.  Whether Tebow led the most boring offense in the league to victory (trust me, Panther fans are use to John Fox’s lack of offensive creativity) or threw four interceptions leading to a huge loss,  the coverage was unbalanced to the detriment of Newton and his accomplishments.  Although the Broncos were fighting for a playoff spot all season long, football fans want to see amazing plays that leave people speechless. That is what Cam does with the Panthers.  Cam accounted for 35 touchdowns alone and helped turned 2010’s worst overall offense into the 7th overall offense (Link).  I believe that Cam Newton is about to take over the NFL and football fans will only start to realize this as Carolina begins to play in primetime games and makes that next step to the playoffs.  Superman has found a home in Carolina.

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