Who is the Carolina Panthers best goal line runner? Is it Deangelo Williams? Can’t be, he has less goal line carries than the four other Williams’s in the league, one of which is a wide receiver. The man is too small, he’s a speedy one, could maybe be useful with some goal line tosses off tackle, but why risk the negative yardage? Jonathan Stewart? He’s consistently knocking defenders on their ass game after game; this guy rarely goes down at first contact. Stewart is a wide running back who’s built low to the ground and can pound the ball right up the middle, but no, he is not the Panthers best goal line runner. We basically don’t have a fullback, most of the time if you see someone in that position it’s one of our tight ends, Greg Olsen or Jeremy Shockey. Fans, the Panther’s best goal line runner is their quarterback!
This past weekend, Cam Newton broke Steve Grogan’s record of 12 touchdowns by a quarterback in a season. Cam broke it with a magnificent trail of fire, taking the ball in 3 times for the day, the last one being the record breaker, number 13. With a halfback lead, Cam Newton fell forward past the goal line, he then popped up onto his feet and performed a classic Superman celebration, but then, as if not realizing he just broke the record, or just a selfless act of a true fans’ man, he runs over to the stands and hands the record breaking ball off to 16-year-old Katie Brown. Brown, who was sporting a homemade “Mrs. Newton” shirt, immediately started to sport a giddy teenage girl kind of fit as well. Of course, later on Panthers assistant equipment manager Don Toner was forced to request Katie to return the ball (obviously in exchange for a handful of other souvenirs), as it is destined to hold a spot in Canton forever.
Katie Brown will always remember that day, that moment, the feel of the ball, as Katie became a fan of Newton while he was at Auburn, pledging that whatever team drafts him, that is the team she will root for. Katie can go to Canton many years from now, and look at that ball, remembering Cam running over to her, pointing at her, smiling that huge grin of his, making her the luckiest fan in the NFL that Sunday.
Now the Panthers organization finally let Cam out of his media muzzle this week to do his first national interview as a Carolina Panther, and I have to say, I loved it. The man has more haters than Obama, and he hasn’t been allowed to retaliate or stand up for himself in person, but what was weird is that he still didn’t say anything. For the past three months, his retaliation has been being a spectacular football player, and that is the way he wants to keep it. “Just sit back and watch the show, man. I can’t worry about what they do, I’m the type of person that, you know, a person might say ‘look at that mountain right there, you can’t do it!’ I’m the type of person to say you wait right here, I’m gonna run up this mountain and get to the top and be like ‘Oh, What’d you say?!’”
Don’t get me wrong, I find some things Cam talks about frightening. Newton compared getting used to losing to trying to train a wild safari animal to be a house animal. “The house that I’m in, is somewhat of a tarnished house where losing is accepted! But I’m trying to change that whether I’m gonna have to turn that house into a safari or I’m just gonna have to get out of that house.” That line scares the living s*** out of me. It’s not that I don’t agree with him, I totally agree. I mean he talks about seeing people just saying “Oh we’ll get it right the next play”, but play goes by and play goes by and the game’s over. I can’t stand that. I just hope Jerry Richardson sees eye to eye with me, Cam Newton, and undoubtedly many others in Panther Nation. I think we’ll be fine though, I think as opposed to pulling a LeBron James, Cam pulls an MJ and with a bit of help, creates the team around him, that he sees to it that HIS team has that same mentality about losing. Furthermore, I think that with a supporting cast including the likes of Steve Smith, Jon Beason, Jeremy Shockey, and Jonathan Stewart, along with young promising players on the team now and that are added to the team in the future who have that drive, this team can do big things. They have that extra push that you see on every down that proves to everyone that no one can stop them from making an impact, from moving their team that much closer to the W.
It starts near the top with our young, success driven head coach named Ron Rivera, who shares that “losing is unacceptable” mentality with Cam. Rob Chudzinski is an innovative offensive coordinator that consistently shows that his combination of well thought out schemes with that so-crazy-that-it-might-just-work spark to it, is the right fit for our explosive quarterback that is Cam Newton. Finally we have our Jim Johnson graduate out of Philly, a young defensive coordinator by the name of Sean McDermott who rolls with the punches and just wont lay down, and who I believe, with a fairly healthy defense and time to grasp the system, will establish a once again feared Panther defense.
As long as Jerry Richardson stays smart, and stays on the path he’s on now, and Panther Nation creates a fan base that a winning team can be proud of, I think we’ll be just fine. Being a Panther fan, I truly feel part of a family, I wish so bad to attend our first home game in what feels like forever (I have finals…) this weekend against a Falcons team that whooped us earlier this year on their turf. The only time I am ever certain that a fight will break out in the stands or on the field is when these scoundrels come to town. So this is it Panther Nation, no more “it’s okay he’s a rookie”, “we’re in a rebuilding year”, “new coach”, “at least we get a high draft pick”; no more excuses. I don’t want to hear those gah damn analysts on the TV, I want to hear you, Panther Nation! Get behind your team, make me proud, make your team proud, and make every single Panther in a uniform, whether it’s some scrub or Cam Newton, never ever want to take off that uniform! It’s time for the December stretch ladies and gents, it’s time for this Panthers team to show what a one year out of 2-14 team can do with SuperCam, the new King of the Queen City at it’s helm!