The Carolina Panthers have yet to have a player enshrined forever in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Some Hall of Famers played for the Panthers, but none of them are ever identified as Panthers. Reggie White was an Eagle, Kevin Greene was a Steeler, etc. Over these next few weeks, we will be looking at current Panthers and their present (and possible future) resumes to see who may truly represent the Panthers in the Hall of Fame one day.
Because we are only focusing on current Panthers players, that means that Steve Smith will not be discussed. His resume has been brought up on CSR before, and I think most of us believe he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame one day. In similar fashion, Brenton Bersin will not be discussed either as his bust is already in production as we speak.
So far we have looked at the potential Hall of Fame resumes of Julius Peppers, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Ryan Kalil, and Greg Olsen. For the final installment in this series, we saved the best (and most divisive) for last.
Cam Newton, quarterback
Cam Newton played high school football in Atlanta, Georgia and eventually committed to play with the Florida Gators. There, Newton backed up Tim Tebow on the field, and had some issues (to say the least) off of it. Newton was charged with stealing another student’s laptop and he attended a crime diversion program. All charges were dropped after he successfully completed the program and he transferred to Blinn College in Texas. He led Blinn to a Junior College National Championship title that season and subsequently transferred to Florida’s SEC rival, Auburn. In his lone season at Auburn, Cam led the team to a BCS National Championship title and won the Heisman Trophy by a landslide. Cam Newton was then drafted first overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft, a selection that would change the course of the franchise immediately.
109 games played
58.5% completion rate
25,074 passing yards
158 passing touchdowns
94 interceptions thrown
13 fourth quarter comebacks (regular season)
5.2 yards per rushing attempt
4,320 rushing yards
54 rushing touchdowns
Strap in, this section is going to be quite long. Newton was the 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the 2015 NFL MVP. He has been to three Pro Bowls and selected as an All Pro once. Cam has been the NFC Offensive Player of the Week nine times. Cam Newton is in the top 100 all time of the following career passing categories: yards, touchdowns, yards per game, yards per attempt, game winning drives, and comebacks. Cam Newton is 176th all time in rushing yards and 60th in career rushing touchdowns. His rookie records include: combined touchdowns (35), combined yards (4,784), and being the first rookie to have consecutive 400 yard passing games. He held the record for rookie passing yards (4,051) until Andrew Luck surpassed that the following year.
Cam already holds the records for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history, most games played with a passing and rushing touchdown, most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season, most combined yards in a player’s first five seasons, most passing yards by a quarterback in a debut game, and fastest player to throw for 1,000 yards. The following are just a few of the achievements that Cam Newton was the first in NFL history to accomplish: first (and only) player with 30 passing and 10 rushing touchdowns in the same season, first quarterback (only fifth player overall) with 500 rushing yards/five rushing touchdowns/4.8 yards per carry in five consecutive seasons, first quarterback to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and NFL MVP in his career, first player with at least five rushing and five passing touchdowns in his first five games, first quarterback with 20 rushing touchdowns his first two seasons, first player with over 4,000 passing yards and 10 or more rushing touchdowns in the same season, first player with over 4,000 passing yards and over 500 rushing yards in the same season, first player to have at least 3,000 passing yards and at least 500 rushing yards in five consecutive seasons, first quarterback with 10 or more rushing touchdowns in multiple seasons, first starting quarterback to win the NFC South in consecutive seasons, first quarterback to win a comeback victory after trailing in overtime, first player in the Super Bowl era to throw for 300 yards and rush for multiple touchdowns in a playoff game.
Those are just his NFL accolades, let’s not get into his Panthers franchise records.
Chances of getting in - 100%
There is absolutely no way Cam Newton does not end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, Super Bowl wins be damned. The man is compiling a nearly Hall of Fame worthy resume if he was just a quarterback. If he plays seven more years and puts up the exact same passing output he’d be sitting at over 50,000 passing yards and over 300 passing touchdowns, not to mention what would be 26 fourth quarter comebacks. Those numbers would put him in the top ten all time in passing yards and passing touchdowns. That would also put him in the top 15 all time in fourth quarter comebacks. As a passer Cam Newton is on his way to being one of the 10 best in the history of the NFL.
Some doubters would say that Cam is not a good enough passer to be in the Hall of Fame, despite the facts (COMPLETION PERCENTAGE SAYS HE SUX!!!1!). So what about his resume as a runner? Despite constant assurance from the coaching staff that Cam will run less, he set a career high in rushing attempts and yards this past season. Obviously as his body begins to decline athletically he will not put up the same gaudy rushing stats. He would need to get to just under 6,000 rushing yards to be in the top 100 all time, which is doable for him with just three more good rushing seasons. If he can get to 100 rushing touchdowns, that would squarely put him in the top ten all time. Even if his speed and agility waver over his later years, his size and strength will not, so he will still be a viable redzone rushing threat well into his thirties. Taking that into consideration, 100 career rushing touchdowns does not seem that far-fetched for Newton.
Cam Newton’s resume as a combined offensive weapon is already Hall of Fame worthy in my opinion. The list of accomplishments and awards blows other resumes out of the water. As he continues his career, he will undoubtedly add to this list, and whether or not he adds a Super Bowl ring, Cam Newton will one day be enshrined in Canton. Appreciate what you are witnessing Panthers fans. Cam Newtons don’t come around very often.