Like Cam Newton, drafted four years previous, Buccaneer’s quarterback Jameis Winston had an eye-catching 2015 rookie season. Many so-called “draft analysts” and pundits, along with every day football fans were forced to admit their inaccurate prognostication of Winston’s capabilities in the NFL. Recently, SBNation addressed an ESPN column regarding beat writers’ opinions on “rising stars in the NFL, per division”.
Winston will rule this division at some point in the future, unless Cam Newton stands in his way. That’ll be the future, with Matt Ryan seemingly relegated to the background even if he’s still a pretty good quarterback — he lacks the star power of Winston and Newton. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the future. Rarely are star quarterbacks in the same division, and usually one of them will overshadow the other. Speaking purely in terms of star power, will Winston ever be able to surpass Newton?
The Winston and Newton rivalry will increasingly intensify. However, we’re talking about individuals with different dispositions. For all of their similarities, Winston and Newton have personality differences which must be factored in when mentioning “star power”. For instance, both QB’s are exciting to watch because of their abilities and passions for the game, but don’t expect to see Winston ripping his jersey open, “Superman style”, nor dabbing in the end zone. Without a doubt both players are highly respected by their fellow teammates and their competitors in the league. There’s just a cut and dry difference between Newton’s individualistic demeanor and Winston’s ‘been there, done that’ attitude. Newton’s star power came early in his NFL career with large endorsements by Gatorade and Under Armour as a rookie. He’s a talented, expressive individual who thrives off of the fanfare, and wears it on his sleeve. This temperament can be traced back to college, and inevitably is a “star power” characteristic in today’s game. Winston is a talented, affable young star in the league whose personality is also infectious, yet has remained non-commercialized up to this point. An unbiased viewpoint on these guys comes down to a stylistic difference and fan preference.
All that being said, for Winston to match or surpass Newton’s “star power” status, it must develop through his and the team’s success on the field. This question of surpassing Newton can be examined down the road. At this point in time, while Winston is in the midst of a team-building process, it just seems to be a moot topic.
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