An X-factor is a player who has the ability to change the landscape of an entire game on his own, making the plays when it’s needed most or being the player that, if they can produce, can be a key cog in securing a victory.
During the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl 50 there’s been plenty of analysis to go over and predictions on who is the biggest X-factor for both the Panthers and the Broncos who could single-handedly win this game.
The obvious answer, which no one is saying because of just how obvious it is, is Cam Newton.
He is the ultimate Carolina X-factor and has been all season long.
Newton had his best season as a pro and as the frontrunner to win the MVP award on Saturday, led his Panthers to a 17-1 record and only the second Super Bowl berth in franchise history.
The stats and records have been thrown around for the last two weeks and whether it’s the numbers he’s put up passing, running or a combination of both, Newton’s playmaking ability is second to none in this league.
And headed into this game on Sunday, he’s never been hotter.
This postseason has seen much of the same as the regular season in that Newton adds the perfect amount of dynamic plays to compliment a defense that has also performed incredibly. The scoring hasn’t stopped and neither have the celebrations; a good thing for Carolina as they’ve prepared for their biggest stage yet.
The NFC Title game was a prime example of the sheer greatness that can be unleashed from Newton on any given Sunday. The Panthers quarterback has grown so much this season that he and the Carolina offense can beat teams to a pulp (vs. Arizona, Seattle and Atlanta) but can also win a close game in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter (vs. New Orleans, New York and Indianapolis) if they need to.
All of these games and many more throughout the season have been won because of Newton and his ability to light up the scoreboard however he pleases while putting the team on his back and commanding them into the end zone.
It can be described best with the saying, “you can’t stop him. You can only hope to contain him.” And that’s certainly how the season has gone for Newton and his offense.
Players like Ted Ginn Jr., Greg Olsen and Kurt Coleman all have the potential to be game-changers with how things shape up on Sunday. They and others have all had great seasons and have true playmaking ability that can affect the game positively for Carolina.
But when it comes down to it there’s no one on this Panthers team or in the entire league who is a better example of a game-changer than Newton.
He’s truly the ultimate X-factor.