In a recent article by USA Today, they ranked the Top 100 Most Important People in the NFL and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was ranked third behind only Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The reigning league MVP is a polarizing figure in the NFL and is one of the most analyzed and discussed players in the league.
Nate Davis wrote in the article about Cam Newton:
At 6-5, 245 (plus) pounds, Newton lines up under center – or often in the shotgun – with an unprecedented combination of size and athleticism. He was the first rookie in league history to pass for 4,000 yards. He is tied with Hall of Famer Steve Young for the most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (43) as well as for the most games with a TD both through the air and on the ground (31). Young played in the NFL for 15 years. Newton is entering his sixth.
While leading the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 last season, Newton became the first player to pass for 30-plus touchdowns (35) and rush for double-digit TDs (10) in the same year.
But though he’s the rare player who has thrived in the pros with a read-option attack, Newton continues to evolve into an adept pocket quarterback who need only fall back on his immense physical gifts only when a play breaks down.
And while Newton continues to raise the bar with his play, the guy who used to sulk with a towel draped over his head amid a poor performance has also put his signature on the franchise quarterback label. Ever see Peyton Manning or Tom Brady doing The Dab or posing for team selfies before the final whistle? How about mocking or blowing off media questions at the Super Bowl? Hosting an offseason show on Nickelodeon? Maybe wearing Superman cleats while pretending to reveal the “S” on his chest after a score?
The Panthers' quarterback is certainly unique and is nothing that the NFL has seen before, especially at the quarterback position. The one thing that isn't mentioned by Davis, and I believe is important to note, is the off the field things he does within the community. He has attended children's birthday parties, he holds an annual kickball tournament and even recently went shopping with children at Target for Father's Day.
For the full list of rankings, click here.