The sky is blue, water is wet and Cam Newton is an easy target for NFL writers looking to make a statement. The Panthers quarterback is back on everyone's mind after signing a new contract, and predictably it's become time to make another comment about his personality.
Andy Benoit took over Peter King's mantle to write this week's "10 things I think" on the MMQB, and surprise, surprise Newton slotted in at No. 8. Critiquing the contract is fine, and Benoit supported the idea of paying Cam despite saying he's "inconsistent in his mechanics and decision making," but it's this line that caught people off-guard:
"He plays like someone who constantly has friends in his ear telling him that he's the greatest."
This is the next in a long-line of pejoratives thrown at Newton for simply displaying characteristics that are lauded in others. Players are supposed to be bold and play with confidence, unless it's Cam Newton. Sure Cam points after every first down and does his Superman in the end zone, but it's all far less insidious than Aaron Rodgers doing his "Discount Double Check" non-stop, which is blatantly advertising for a company in the middle of a football game.
lol…no one in my football watching life has smoked out the stupid like cam. it’s amazing. https://t.co/WOIThE5pqE— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) June 9, 2015
Jones is dead-on. The "stupid" has been bubbling to the surface ever since the Panthers drafted Newton. It didn't help that he was reviled in college and entered the NFL being cocky at a position that's supposed to be meek, but criticisms of him playing like someone who thinks he's the greatest should have ended four years ago.
Newton learned how to lose after his first season, and being stuck on a mediocre football team humbled him. Rather than letting it erode his resolve and destroy his confidence, Newton rose above and leaned on his teammates more. When Steve Smith left he said Cam was the type to invite him over to play Madden, and the Panthers QB routinely spends time with his teammates. So who's telling Cam he's the greatest?
The only people I've seen tell Newton he's the greatest are the little kids he'll toss a ball with at training camp, or a young fan in a jersey dying to get a photo with him. Cam always obliges for the kids. Maybe six-year-olds are the bad influences Newton needs to eliminate in order to take his next step as an NFL quarterback.
Or perhaps we could stop throwing stuff out about Cam and hope it sticks? There's enough to critique on the field without venturing off it. Just a thought.