Cam’s football IQ was not the only thing under scrutiny. His past at Florida and the scandals surrounding his alleged six figure recruitment by Mississippi St and Auburn led many to question his maturity. Former coach Steve Mariucci wanted to know “where is this kid going to be when he gets a paycheck,” and he wasn’t thinking the answer was going to be the Pro Bowl.
Newton’s most scathing pre-draft review came from Pro Football Weekly, claiming:
It was clear Cam was adjusting. All through this, his on the field play never suggested he couldn’t make it or even become great one day. He was young. He was accustomed to success, and he had always been the best athlete on the field. Winning had always come easy, but it was now allusive. Simply put, Cam was developing. If development wasn’t required, they wouldn’t make rookies buy doughnuts or carry pads in training camp.
This is what the mainstream media sharks craved, and Cam’s sideline and press conference performances were the proverbial blood in the water. The media machine doesn’t want to wait for athletes to develop into greatness. Wait? Hell no, they need to sell the story now. That’s why they jumped ship for the newest flavor of the week and used Cam as a side story to exploit when they needed a little filler. (The same thing is going on right now in Washington with RGIII, who just last year everyone praised for his maturity.)
Haters said he could put up big stats, but couldn’t win. Cam led the Panthers to a 11-4 season, including a franchise record 8 game winning streak. He was instrumental in beating the San Francisco 49ers in Candlestick, the Patriots the following week on MNF, and the New Orleans Saints to take the divisional lead. A win on Sunday will lock up the division and gain the Panthers their first playoff appearance since 2008.
Haters said he crumbled under pressure. Cam led 4th quarter game winning drives against the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints.
Haters said he couldn’t be a pocket passer. Cam has completed 62% of his passes, thrown 22 TDs with only 12 INTs.
Haters said he was immature and a liability. He has matured significantly and continues to develop into an important team leader both through action and attitude. Cam Newton has simply not been the liability that the critics claimed he would be. Instead, he has been an essential leader both on and off the field. Those critics still fail to mention Cam’s much improved press conferences that put the team first and always acknowledge Carolina’s defensive identity.
It’s at this moment Cam’ron’s Purple Haze album finally makes sense. As he said, “see the problem is” Cam “ain't goin nowhere.” Killa Cam is here to stay. He has arrived, forcing the haters to even acknowledge it!