The Ultimate Weapon Gets More Ammo

Posted: September 12, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
Tags: , ,

There’s always the tendency to want to take the crown to the throne; to not want to build up expectations for an athlete too high, too soon. There are some instances however, where you just know right away that there is something is the real deal. Cam Newton created those moments one after another in his NFL debut on Sunday.

Newton’s assault on the record book is clear now. He became the first player to throw for over 400 yards in his debut (he finished with 422), and what was more was just how he did it. He used every bit of his rare mixture of speed, arm and strength to take apart the Arizona Cardinals’ defense on repeat, completing an impressive 24 passes to hit on nearly 65% of his passes. The stats were real, and the impression was made, once again.

Newton set the bar higher than any other rookie has in a year, in just four quarters.

It’s more than just a numbers game though, as he went over and above just what stats define. The stats will tell you he leads the NFL in passing yards. It will say he totaled as many touchdowns in his first game as more accomplished NFL dignitaries Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees did in their debuts. However, what he did go over and above statistics, he proved everyone wrong. When he was drafted, nobody said he was ready, and the claims of “why” were heaped on him non-stop. He couldn’t make the transition from the college game. He can’t throw or read NFL defenses. He’s immature and can’t lead a team. Well, he not only checked all of these concerns off the list in just four quarters; he ripped the list in half and burned it.

However at the end of it all, the most important number is the smallest of them all: one. That’s the number of losses he has in his NFL career. Despite making the two-win in 2010 Panthers look more relevant than they have since they were challenging for a Super Bowl back in 2004, he still learned the biggest lesson he needed to have at the perfect time: how to not be enough. At the end of the day, he sat on the bench in the same stadium that he finished arguably the greatest single season effort by any player in College Football history with a National Championship, and realized even his amazing performance wasn’t enough. It was the first time he had lost a game that mattered in nearly two years.

After everything he did the for the first 58 minutes of the game, he had a chance to make yet another of the seemingly undeniable drives he has come to make look so easy. Between a mixture of running through, throwing over and jack hammering his way into the endzone to grab victory at his own will. But what happened? He went 0 for 3 in shots into the endzone to win the game, and the Panthers had to watch Kevin Kolb run the clock down, and win his debut.

Does this decrease the effort? Absolutely not, if anything it arms him yet another weapon that he proved to be dangerous when given in the past: a chip for his shoulder. He watched his ideal reality be lived through his opponent that he clearly had outdid…until the end of the race. He had to confront the fact that he wasn’t enough.

The significance of what he did only matters to the headlines, fantasy footballers and merchandisers who sell shirts with his name on it. Because to Cam, it means absolutely nothing at all without a win.  It’s what drives him, and for all of the highlights and smiles that he puts forth, underneath him is a furnace worth of fire that makes him into the winner he is, and now wants to be more than anything else at pro level.

In defeat, Newton became more dangerous than he ever has been before...think about that.

This loss was the perfect end for his amazing first day on the job. He played amazing, better than any other rookie has ever played, and it ended up not being enough. Now, he’ll have yet another weapon to add to the buffet of skills he has, that cannot be challenged, counted or turned against him: desire. Be easy Panthers fans, this will be the best loss you ever had. Like Steve Smith said after the 28-21 loss, “He was everything that everyone didn’t expect him to be.” Now he has all the tools to continue both being, and not being, that at the same time.

Good loss, rook.

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Comments
  1. The biggest thing you forgot in this was the fact that he freed Steve Smith from the shackles that had been put on him by Delhomme, Moore, and Claussen. Steve Smith is one of the 10 best receivers in football, and he balled out yesterday. And he didn’t get into any fights lol

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