I've been looking at his growth and development, and I think Cam Newton is on his way to the Hall of Fame. Obviously he needs another decade or so before HoF would agree with me, but I wanted to just illustrate how amazing he is. First, let's talk about his rookie year. He set the NFL record for most passing yards by a rookie QB, most passing yards in his first ever start, most passing yards in his first ever two starts, most rushing TDs ever by a QB, first player ever with 4,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yds in the same season, most total TDs for a rookie, most rushing TDs in a season ever for a QB, a pro bowl trip and Offensive Player of the Year. DAMN!!! Let that sink in for a moment. The offense averaged 12 points per game in 2010, and over 25 in 2011.
Many people consider 2012 a down year for Cam. I understand it, but many of those people don't look at the season as a whole. He had almost 4,000 yds passing, 27 total TDs, and our winning total went from 6 to 7. His completion percentage dropped, but his QB rating went up two points. 2012 was a good year for Cam Newton because of his growth as a player. He had many on and off the field non-verbals that the media took and ran with. I also think it was a bit humbling for him to see the media hype from the other guys. In 2011, he was the future of the NFL. In 2012, a list of the best young QBs didn't include him in the discussion at all. He had a lot to think about, but as the season progressed, he got better at playing football and being a leader. He was outstanding down the stretch as we won 5 of the last 6 games.
Then 2013 rolls around, and he's clearly a better player overall. At the end of 2012, you saw him making better decisions, getting rid of the ball quicker, and trusting his teammates more. That continued in 2013. He's had six games with a QB rating over 100. His QB rating for the season is currently over 89, marking the second straight season he's improved. His completion percentage is at 62% as well. He's spreading the ball around more, reading coverages better, and getting rid of the ball. He's also a more efficient runner. So what do the numbers say? He's the first player ever to have 50 passing TDs and 25 rushing TDs over a three year span. His W-L record as a pro is now at .500. The Panthers have won 15 of their last 20 games, 18 of 25 including the preseason.
So what does the future hold that will lead him to be a Hall of Famer? First of all, I don't think we'll see another QB for a very long time who gets in the HoF without winning a Superbowl. One Superbowl probably isn't enough unless you have Drew Brees like numbers (5,000+ yds passing three different times). To me, though, that's not an issue because I expect at least two championships before he's done.
What about his pure passing? I think he's going to continue to improve. He's still not near his potential. Two critical factors in his improvement as a passer will be more weapons on offense to throw to and more time to throw. He's spreading the ball around well right now, but all of his numbers would be much greater with a Megatron or Julio Jones on the roster. He's going to continue to improve in decision making and reading coverages and blitzes. This year has helped him develop a quicker release as well. The sacks should start going down. I think he'll have about 10 seasons with a QB rating well above 90. He has 60 TD passes, and will get a couple more before the year is over. He's matched his career high of 21 already this year, and his INTs continue to go down. This season he has also shown to be clutch, and able to lead game winning drives.
What about his running? Well he is only 4,000 yards shy of the record for most rushing yds by a QB. Vick has about 5950. Cam has about 1950. The record for most rushing TDs by a QB is 43 by Steve Young. Cam already has 28. He's only two seasons from breaking that record.
So let's look at his career trajectory, and the way I predict things to go. First I will stick by my prediction of two Superbowl wins, and probably Superbowl MVPs as well. But on top of that, I think with more weapons and more time to throw, it's safe to say Cam can average 3700 yards and 26 TDs a season going forward, and probably 500 yards and 6 rushing TDs a year. He'll have probably another year or two mixed in there with 4,000 yds passing and 500 rushing, and maybe another 10 rushing TD season. Over 10 more years. that's 37,000 yards, 260 TDs, 5,000 yards rushing and 60 TDs. Add that to what he's already done, and he's a guy with 48,000 yards, 320 TDs, 7,000 rushing yards and 88 rushing TDs. The passing numbers will put him in the upper echelon of QBs, but those aren't sure fire HoF numbers. But you add in two Superbowl MVPs, and 88 rushing TDs (more than double the record), and I think he'll be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Some will call him the greatest football player of all-time. At this stage of his career, as much as he wows us, he still has not come close to reaching his potential, but it's possible he gets that first Superbowl MVP this season.
What do you think? Am I even close?