However, my first take of Cam Newton didn’t occur on CBS, ESPN, or during a mop-up game when he was back in Florida. The first time I saw Cam Newton play football came on Halloween of last year, on a dreary, desolate, and dry day down in Corsicana, Texas at a non-descript field with crowds much smaller than what he saw this season.
Last year, B-Lew, Bean (my first roommate from the Navarro days), and I headed down I-45 to shock the world at the annual Battle of Region 14 between the Blinn Bucaneers and the Navarro Bulldogs. See, B-Lew went to Blinn ten years ago and Bean and I went to Navarro, so we decided to head on down there and see what these teams were talking about.
While we were on the way, all B-Lew was telling me about was Cam Newton; the Blinn QB who transferred from Florida. Once we got there, and I saw the man, he looked the part, but he didn’t really do anything to make me a believer. Navarro won the game, I gloated because my team won, and B-Lew heard my mouth the entire way back for having us take this drive to Corsicana and for wasting my time by hyping this kid up.
Needless to say, I was wrong; very wrong. As a matter of fact, it was the last time he’s lost a start as a starting college quarterback. Newton came right back and led that same Blinn team to a National Championship against my Navarro Bulldogs just weeks later.
The impact Newton is having this season is bigger than what is on the field. Did Carson Palmer, Eric Crouch, Matt Leinart, or Troy Smith have this much scrutiny while they were playing QB earlier this decade? Were Jason White, Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Sam Bradford, Ken Dorsey, Colt McCoy, or countless other quarterbacks under this much pressure to not only compete, but have to block out distractions from the media at this high a level?
Seven of those QBs won the Heisman, and four won the national championship, but none of them had to go through what Newton went through to get there. People brought up old stuff to disgrace Newton’s name (cheating on tests and stealing a laptop) with when they ran out of original lies and slander, but he not only continued to win, he got better each and every week.
When you factor in the numbers and the moments (because, to me anyway, moments do matter), has there really a quarterback better than this man in college football the past ten years? This article isn’t meant to wholeheartedly say it is, but it is to trigger the discussion.
When you see a man get carried off the field by his teammates, a man who smiles all the time (even in the heat of the moment at Bryant-Denny against Alabama), and a man who can beat you before the game even starts, it's not be far-fetched to suggest he’s Numero Uno of Quarterbacks from 2000-2010. The big throws, the long runs, the short runs, the leaps into student sections. You name it, and he’s done it all.
The man is such an obvious and overwhelming favorite to win this year’s Heisman that Ed and I saw no point in even running a post to discuss other possible winners, as we have done previously. The other candidates are just there, because Newton can’t take up four seats on his own. They get a free trip to the Downtown Athletic Club, but there’s no way in hell any of them will win the Heisman, and if you put any of the quarterbacks that have won the Heisman up against him since 2000, they wouldn’t have much of a shot of their season topping his either.
Take it from someone who wasn’t a believer of Newton when I first saw the man play in person on October 31, 2009: it’s gonna be a while before we see another Cameron Newton in college football, and it won’t be solely because of his extraordinary exploits on the field, but also because of what he’s endured off of it, and because of that, he’s the man.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!