Coming from what was regarded as the worst division in the league last season, the Panthers have taken the NFC South and the NFL by storm.
Currently ranked number two behind the Patriots in many NFL Power Rankings, the Panthers are riding a 13-game winning streak in the regular season, dating back to last year.
And, it has everything to do with quarterback Cam Newton.
Love him or hate him, you have to give Newton credit. Here’s why:
He plays with passion.
You don’t see many quarterbacks these days who seem to play just for the love of the game. Newton is one of those who ultimately shows his excitement both on and off the field.
Just last week, Newton was criticized by both the Tennessee Titans and a mother, for his touchdown celebration, saying it was “distasteful” and even “arrogant.”
But if you watch Newton every week, he plays with that fiery passion and energy.
It’s something you don’t see in older quarterbacks that is both refreshing and inspiring.
Eccentric and energetic, Newton has spent five years using his personality to bring out the best of the team.
He is an all-around good guy.
If you saw Newton chase down the ball tossed away by Julius Peppers just a couple of weeks ago, you saw that he didn’t want to save the football or spike it.
He wanted to give it away to a young fan in the first row of the stands.
He gave it away not knowing the backstory but because he wanted to please his fans. And this isn’t the first child he’s helped.
He has helped so many through his charitable Cam Newton Foundation, which helps improve the lives of children, with an emphasis on education.
He has a good head on his shoulders, which is something you don't find often in young athletes. If people want to learn to not only be a good athlete, but a good person, then this is the guy.
He works hard.
Being a talented NFL player doesn’t come easy. However, Newton has a history of working hard to get to where he is.
After playing at the University of Florida for two years, he took some time at a local junior college before getting right back into the competitive game at Auburn University.
He also took time during the NFL offseason to complete his degree at Auburn. He graduated in the spring of this year.
Newton’s dedication to both the sport and his own education serves as a reminder that hard work gets you places.
He is a team player.
Despite the massive talent Newton possesses, he is always aware of just what helped to get him there, and that would be his team.
Newton’s post-game interviews go into detail about what his team has done behind him to help make the game a success for the squad.
While recent games have put the spotlight specifically on Newton, he has done a good job diverting the attention back to the team’s success, not just his actions.
With a talented team, Newton doesn’t take all the credit and that is admirable in today’s sports world.
He’s not afraid to speak the truth.
Newton has been in the league for five seasons and has started every game he has played. With his experience in the league, he has always used his post-game interviews to tell the truth.
Most recently, he told the Titans and fans about his reaction to their distaste, not holding anything back.
Regarding his touchdown dance after his rushing score, Newton said:
I’m a firm believer if you don’t like me to do it, then don’t let me in the end zone.
When he plays badly, he admits it. In fact, he owns up to it.
He is not afraid to admit to his mistakes and defend himself when necessary, which makes him a role model in both sports and life.
With younger generations idolizing athletes who cheat and lie, maybe it is Newton’s time to become a positive influence for the future athletes and children in the world.