Cam Newton

For other uses, see Cam Newton (disambiguation).
Cam Newton

refer to caption

Newton in 2014
No. 1Carolina Panthers
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1989-05-11) May 11, 1989
Place of birth: Atlanta, Georgia
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Atlanta (GA) Westlake
College: Florida, Blinn, Auburn
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2016
TDINT: 128–71
Passing yards: 20,449
Completion %: 59.2
Passer rating: 87.4
Rushing yards: 3,475
Rushing touchdowns: 47
Player stats at

Cameron Jerrell Newton[1] (born May 11, 1989)[2] is an American football quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Auburn and was drafted as the first overall pick by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft. Newton is the only player in the modern era to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship, and become the first overall pick in an NFL draft within a one-year span.[3] He was the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, is a three-time Pro Bowler, and was named to the NFL All Pro First Team in 2015.

In his rookie year, Newton broke all-time NFL rookie records for passing and rushing yards. He became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Peyton Manning's first-game record by 120 yards. He also broke Otto Graham's 61-year-old record for passing yards by any quarterback in an NFL debut.[4] Newton went on to become the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.[5] He also ran for 14 touchdowns, more in a single season than any quarterback in NFL history, breaking Steve Grogan's 35-year-old record.[6]

In 2015, Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in the same season (35 passing, 10 rushing).[7] He also became the only quarterback ever to have 300 yards passing, 5 touchdown passes, and over 100 yards rushing in the same game.[8] Newton capped off the 2015 season by capturing MVP honors and leading his Panthers to a 15–1 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50.

High school career

Newton attended Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia, where he played for the Westlake Lions high school football team. As a 16-year-old junior, he passed for 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for 638 yards and 9 touchdowns, gaining the attention of major college programs. His senior year he was rated a five-star prospect by, the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, and the 28th player overall. He received scholarship offers from Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech.[9] He committed to the University of Florida at the beginning of his senior year, becoming part of the top-rated recruiting class in the country for 2007.[9]

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Cameron Newton
Atlanta, GA Westlake HS 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 250 lb (110 kg) 4.51 Sep 7, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:5/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN grade: 81
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 14 (QB)   Rivals: 2 (Dual-threat QB)  247Sports: 3 (Dual-threat QB)  ESPN: 9 (QB)
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career

University of Florida

Newton, far left, with Dan Mullen, John Brantley, Tim Tebow and Bryan Waggener during his freshman season at Florida

Newton initially attended the University of Florida, where he was a member of the Florida Gators football team in 2007 and 2008. As a freshman in 2007, Newton beat out fellow freshman quarterback John Brantley as the back-up for eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. He played in five games, passing for 40 yards on 5-of-10 and rushing 16 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns.[10] In 2008, during his sophomore season, Newton played in the season opener against Hawaii but suffered an ankle injury and took a medical redshirt season.[11]

On November 21, 2008, Newton was arrested on felony charges of burglary, larceny, and obstruction of justice on an accusation that he stole a laptop computer from another University of Florida student. He was subsequently suspended from the team.[12] Campus police "tracked the stolen laptop to the athlete...Newton tossed the computer out his dorm window in a humorously ill-advised attempt to hide it from cops."[13] All charges against Newton were dropped after he completed a court-approved pre-trial diversion program. "I believe that a person should not be thought of as a bad person because of some senseless mistake that they made," said Newton in 2010. "I think every person should have a second chance. If they blow that second chance, so be it for them."[14] Newton announced his intention to transfer from Florida three days before the Gators' national championship win over Oklahoma. In November 2010, Thayer Evans of Fox Sports reported that Newton faced potential expulsion from the University of Florida for three instances of academic dishonesty, prior to transferring.[15][16]

Blinn College

In January 2009, Newton transferred to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, to play for head coach Brad Franchione, son of Dennis Franchione. That fall he led his team to the 2009 NJCAA National Football Championship,[17] throwing for 2,833 yards with 22 touchdowns and rushing for 655 yards.[18] He was named a Juco All-America honorable mention and was the most recruited Juco quarterback in the country.[18] Newton was ranked as the number one quarterback from either high school or junior college by and was the only five-star recruit.[19][20][21] During Newton's recruitment, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Auburn were his three finalists. He eventually signed with the Auburn Tigers.[22]

Auburn University

Newton started the first game of Auburn University's 2010 season, a home win over Arkansas State on September 4, 2010. Newton accounted for 5 total offensive touchdowns and over 350 yards of total offense. He was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week following his performance.[23] Three weeks later Newton had a second break-out game with 5 total touchdowns and over 330 total offensive yards against the South Carolina Gamecocks.[24]

On October 2, 2010, Newton led Auburn to a 52–3 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. He completed three touchdown passes, one of which went for 94 yards. It was the longest touchdown pass and offensive play in Auburn football history. On October 9, 2010, Newton led Auburn to a 37–34 victory over Kentucky. He passed for 210 yards and rushed for 198 yards including 4 rushing touchdowns. On October 16, 2010, during the Arkansas game, Newton ran for three touchdowns and threw one touchdown pass.[25] Following these performances, media reports began to list Newton among the top 5 candidates to watch for the Heisman Trophy.[26][27]

Newton (top) warming up prior to the 2010 Iron Bowl

On October 23, 2010, Newton led Auburn to a 24–17 victory over the LSU Tigers. He rushed for 217 yards in the game, giving him 1,077 yards for the season, and set the SEC record for yards rushing in a season by a quarterback—a record previously held by Auburn quarterback, Jimmy Sidle, that had stood for over 40 years. After this game, Newton became just the second quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in the conference's history. He also broke Pat Sullivan's school record for most touchdowns in a single season—a record that had stood since 1971—with 27. Both of these records were broken on the same play: a 49-yard touchdown run in which Newton escaped two tackles, corrected himself with his arm, eluded two additional tackles, and dragged a defender into the endzone for the touchdown. The play was described as Newton's "Heisman moment".[28][29][30] Auburn received its first No. 1 overall BCS ranking, and Newton was listed as the overall favorite for the Heisman.[31]

By halftime of the game against Georgia, Newton became the first SEC player to ever throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.[32] With the victory, Auburn extended its winning streak to 11–0 and clinched the SEC West, allowing them to play in the SEC Championship game. Newton led Auburn to a 28–27 victory over Alabama in the Iron Bowl after being down 24–0. The 24-point come-from-behind victory was the largest in the program's 117-year history. He passed for 216 yards with three passing touchdowns and ran for another.

Newton led Auburn back from a 24-point deficit to defeat rival Alabama.

On December 4, 2010, Newton led the Tigers to an SEC Championship, their first since 2004, by defeating South Carolina 56–17, setting an SEC Championship Game record for most points scored and largest margin of victory. Newton was named the game MVP after scoring a career-best six touchdowns (four passing and two rushing). With his performance, Newton also became the third player in NCAA FBS history to throw and run for 20-plus touchdowns in a single season (along with former Florida teammate Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick, who reached the milestone earlier the same day).[33] Newton was named the 2010 SEC Offensive Player of the Year as well as the 2010 AP Player of the Year. He was also one of four finalists for the 2010 Heisman Trophy, which he won in a landslide victory.[34][35] He is the third Auburn player to win the Heisman Trophy (along with Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson).

Following the victory in the SEC Championship, Auburn was invited to participate in the school's first BCS National Championship Game. The game took place on January 10, 2011, in Glendale, Arizona, with Auburn playing against the Oregon Ducks.[36] In a game that Steve Spurrier predicted to score as high as 60–55,[37] Auburn beat Oregon just 22–19 to win the BCS National Championship. Newton threw for 262 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed 22 times for 65 yards, though he lost a fumble that later allowed Oregon to tie the game with limited time remaining. Once Auburn received the ball, Newton drove the Tigers down the field to win the game on Wes Byrum's last-second field goal. Media outlets wrote Newton was upstaged by teammate Michael Dyer (the game's Offensive MVP) and Auburn's defense, which held the high-powered Oregon ground game to just 75 yards[38] On January 13, three days after winning the BCS National Championship, Newton declared for the 2011 NFL Draft, forgoing his senior season.[39]

2010 Heisman Trophy Finalist Voting[40]
Finalist First place votes
(3 pts. each)
Second place votes
(2 pts. each)
Third place votes
(1 pt. each)
Total points
Cam Newton 729 24 28 2,263
Andrew Luck 78 309 227 1,079
LaMichael James 22 313 224 916

Eligibility controversy

Newton receiving a snap in 2010 against the LSU Tigers

Newton spent much of the second half of the 2010 football season embroiled in a controversy regarding allegations that his father, Cecil Newton, had sought substantial sums of money in return for his son playing for a major college football team, in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules.[41] In early November 2010, several Mississippi State University athletic boosters reported to the media that, during their recruitment of his son out of Blinn College nearly a year earlier, Cecil Newton said that it would take "more than just a scholarship" to secure his son's services. This demand was communicated by booster and former Mississippi State football player Kenny Rogers to fellow boosters and former teammates Bill Bell and John Bond. Rogers said in a Dallas radio interview that Cecil Newton said it would take "anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000" to get his son to transfer to Mississippi State.[42] Auburn maintained throughout the investigation, which had begun several months before the public was made aware of it,[43] that they were not involved in any pay-for-play scheme and that Cam Newton was fully eligible to play.

On November 30, Auburn declared Cam Newton ineligible after the NCAA found evidence that Cecil Newton solicited Mississippi State $120,000 to $180,000 in exchange for Cam Newton's athletic service, a violation of amateurism.[43] Auburn immediately filed to have him reinstated on the basis that Kenny Rogers could not be considered an agent and that Cam Newton was not aware of his father’s illegal activity.[43] The NCAA almost immediately sided with Auburn and reinstated Newton the next day on December 1, declaring him eligible for the 2010 SEC Championship Game three days later, stating that there was not sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn had any knowledge of Cecil Newton's actions.[44] Auburn subsequently limited the access Cecil Newton had to the program as result of NCAA findings. Also, due to increased pressure by the media and the NCAA investigation, Cecil Newton announced he would not attend the Heisman Trophy Ceremony.[45] The NCAA reinstatement did not clear Cecil Newton of any wrongdoing; it did, however, establish Cam Newton's eligibility as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, which he won in a landslide victory with 2,263 points and 729 first-place votes.[46]

In October 2011, the NCAA officially closed its 13-month investigation into the recruitment of Cam Newton, unable to substantiate any allegation or speculation of illicit recruiting by Auburn,[47][48] and concluded that Cecil Newton only solicited a cash payment from Mississippi State and no other institution attempting to recruit his son.[43] The investigation, which consisted of over 50 interviews and the reviewing of numerous bank records, IRS documents, telephone records, and e-mail messages, resulted in no findings that would indicate Auburn participated in any pay-for-play scenario in signing Cam Newton.[49][50] The NCAA said that the allegations failed to "meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media" and that the allegations were not "based on credible and persuasive information".[48][50] The NCAA's Stacey Osburn said "We've done all we can do. We've done all the interviews. We've looked into everything and there's nothing there. Unless something new comes to light that's credible and we need to look at, it's concluded."[51]

College honors and awards

College stats

Year Team Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Att Yds Avg TD
2007 Florida 5 10 50.0% 40 4.0 0 0 16 103 6.4 3
2008 Florida 1 2 50.0% 14 7.0 0 0 5 10 2.0 1
2009 Blinn 204 336 60.7% 2,833 8.4 22 5 108 655 6.1 16
2010 Auburn 185 280 66.1% 2,854 10.2 30 7 264 1,473 5.6 20
Career 395 628 62.9% 5,741 9.1 52 12 393 2,241 5.7 40

Professional career

In late January 2011, Newton began working out with George Whitfield Jr. in San Diego.[52] Whitfield has worked with other quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger and Akili Smith. On April 28, 2011, Newton was selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.[53] He was the first reigning Heisman Trophy winner to go first overall since Carson Palmer in 2003. He also was Auburn's fourth No. 1 selection after Tucker Frederickson (1965), Bo Jackson (1986), and Aundray Bruce (1988).

During the 2011 NFL lockout, he spent up to 12 hours a day at the IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, FL, spending up to two hours per day doing one-on-one training with fellow Heisman Trophy winner and ex-Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke.[54]

Before the draft, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson asked Newton to maintain his clean-cut appearance after Newton told Richardson he had no tattoos or piercings and was thinking about growing his hair longer.[55] Although this is similar to a policy the New York Yankees has on all of its players, this gained some controversy on Richardson's part due to the fact that other players (most notably Steve Smith and Jeremy Shockey) had visible tattoos and, in Shockey's case, had longer hair earlier in his career with the New York Giants. Reactions were so strong that some even accused Richardson of racism.[56] Despite this, Newton agreed to Richardson's dress code policies as a condition of being drafted first overall.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BPWonderlic
6 ft 5 in 248 lb33¾ in9⅞ in 4.59 s 1.58 s 2.60 s 4.18 s 6.92 s 35 in 10 ft 6 in N/A reps21
All values from 2011 NFL Scouting Combine.[57][58]

2011 season: Rookie season

Newton in his rookie season

On July 29, 2011, Newton signed a four-year contract, worth over $22 million, with the Carolina Panthers that was fully guaranteed.[59] After unsuccessfully negotiating with quarterback Jimmy Clausen for the No. 2 jersey Newton wore at Auburn, he decided to keep the No. 1 jersey that the Panthers had assigned him after the draft.[60][61] His quarterbacks coach was Mike Shula, former head football coach of his college rival Alabama. A month later on September 1, 2011, he was named the Panthers' starting quarterback, ahead of Derek Anderson and Clausen.

In his NFL debut game on September 11, 2011, Newton was 24–37 passing for 422 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, in a 28–21 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals. With a quarterback rating of 110.4, he also rushed for a touchdown, and became the first rookie to throw for 400+ yards in his first career game. His 422 passing yards broke Peyton Manning's rookie record for most passing yards on opening day.[62]

In his second career game, a 30–23 home loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Newton broke his own record, set the weekend previously, with 432 yards passing, throwing and rushing for a touchdown.[63] Newton's 854 passing yards through the first two games of the season, the most in league history by a rookie,[64] broke the NFL record of 827 set by Kurt Warner in the 2000 season and stood as the most by any quarterback in the first two weeks of the season until New England's Tom Brady broke the mark again later in the day with 940.[64] He also became the only player to begin his career with consecutive 400-yard passing games[65] and broke the Carolina Panthers franchise record of 547 yards previously held by Steve Beuerlein.[66] After Newton's second career game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers commented, "I think someone said in the locker room that I'm kind of glad we played him early in the season because when he figures it out fully, he's going to be even tougher to stop."[66] Newton's three additional interceptions against the Packers tied him for the most interceptions thrown in the league. His total passing yards over the first three games was 1,012 yards.

The Panthers recorded their first victory of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars 16–10. Newton threw for 158 yards and 1 touchdown. The Panthers played the Atlanta Falcons, losing 31–17 while passing for 237 yards with no passing touchdowns. Newton increased his team's record to 2–5 with a week 7 win over the Washington Redskins 33–20. He threw for 256 yards and 1 touchdown, completing 18 of his 23 passes. He also rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown, including one run for 25 yards. This performance brought Cam a passer rating of 127.5, his highest yet. With Carolina's win over the Indianapolis Colts, Newton became the fourth rookie quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards in his first season, joining Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, and Sam Bradford. Newton set the NFL rushing touchdown record for quarterbacks on December 4, 2011, rushing for his 13th touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter against Tampa Bay. It was his third of the game which resulted in a 38–19 win. In that game, he also caught a 27-yard pass from WR Legedu Naanee, making him a triple threat.[67] On December 24, 2011 in a 48–16 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton threw for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns and also rushed for 65 yards and a score. In the process, he broke Peyton Manning's record of 3,739 yards passing for a rookie. On January 1, 2012 against the New Orleans Saints, Newton threw for 158 yards and becoming the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards. He finished his rookie season with 4,051 yards. Over the course of the season, when Newton had a turnover, the team was 0–10; when he had no turnovers, the team went 6–0.

On January 22, 2012, Newton was named to be heading to the Pro Bowl after the New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Because Eli Manning was one of the three quarterbacks for the NFC to be selected, and with Newton being picked as the NFC alternate later in December, Newton was able to play in the Pro Bowl with Manning headed to the Super Bowl. He finished the Pro Bowl with 186 yards along with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Newton was named both AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year on February 4, 2012. He became the second straight number one pick to win the AP Rookie of the Year, after Sam Bradford won it the previous season. He was also the first Panther to win the Offensive award, but the second Panthers rookie of the year, following Julius Peppers, the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002. Cam received his Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year awards on the inaugural NFL Honors award show, with 47 of the 50 possible 50 AP votes (the other 3 going to Andy Dalton). He also landed the number 5 and 2 play of the year with his 49-yard touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5), and his touchdown fumblerooski to Richie Brockel vs. the Houston Texans. He has the nickname Superman due to his touchdown celebration. Newton was rated as the 40th best player in the NFL on the NFL Top 100 player list.[68] His rookie season was when he started the Carolina Panther tradition "Sunday Giveaway", where the Panthers offensive players typically give away the football that they just scored a touchdown with to kids in the stands.[69]

2012 season

Newton in 2012

Cam Newton's second season got off to a bumpy start at the Buccaneers when the Panthers lost 16–10 in spite of Newton going 23/33 for 303 yards and a touchdown, but with 2 costly interceptions. A week later, Newton would get his first victory of the season over the Saints in a 35–27 home win, going 14/20 for 253 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 71 yards and an additional touchdown. 4 days later, the Panthers began week 3 in a home game against the Giants. Newton struggled in the 36–7 loss as he went 16/30 for 242 yards for 3 interceptions, despite rushing for the Panthers' only touchdown of the game. A week later, the Panthers traveled to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. Cam Newton would lead the Panthers to a 28–27 lead late in the 4th quarter, however, after a costly fumble turned what would have been a game sealing first down into a 4th and short, the Panthers chose to punt, and the Falcons subsequently drove into field goal range from their own 1-yard line to cap the 30–28 victory. The Panthers returned home for a week 5 duel against the Seattle Seahawks, where Cam went 12/29 for 141 yards in the 16–12 loss. Returning from their bye, the Panthers stayed home to take on the Cowboys, where Cam went 21/37 for 233 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the 19–14 loss. A week later, Newton was 20/39 for 314 yards with 2 interceptions in a 23–22 road loss to the Bears. Cam led his team to a 21–13 victory over the RG3-led Redskins a week later in the final regular season loss for Washington in what would be known as "Redskins Rule" year. Newton would go 13/23 for 201 yards with a touchdown while rushing for 37 yards and a touchdown. The Carolina offense struggled against the Broncos a week later, with Cam passing for 21/36 for 241 yards with 2 touchdowns, but two costly interceptions, a career-high 7 times against Cam ultimately led to a lopsided Panthers loss. The Panthers' struggles continued when another late-game lead was blown in what would eventually be a 27–21 home loss in overtime against the Buccaneers. Later, in Cam's first career Monday Night Football game, the Panthers performed well against a collapsing Eagles team without their quarterback, Michael Vick. While Vick's backup Nick Foles struggled, Newton had a stellar night, going 18/28 for 306 yards and 2 passing touchdowns with an additional 52 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing in the 30–22 win. After losing to a Chiefs team playing inspired football following the Jovan Belcher tragedy, the Panthers returned home for Round 2 of 2012's I-85 rivalry. Newton and the Panthers upset a 1-loss Falcons team, where Cam threw 23/25 for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for a career-high 116 yards and a career long 72 rushing touchdown as the young quarterback completed his 4th straight game without a turnover. The Panthers eventually finished their season without a loss, and although this team-rally failed to impact the Panthers' playoff hopes, many believe this ultimately saved the job of their head coach, Ron Rivera, for at least another season. Though this season could be seen by some as a "Sophomore Slump," it should be noted that although Cam's season was not as "spectacular" as his rookie season, he did improve in many statistical categories, improved on his efficiency, and cut back on his turnovers. Cam's noticeable decline in rushing touchdowns is due partially to the Panthers signing Mike Tolbert before the season began. Tolbert, a versatile fullback, was able to score with goal line touchdowns as Cam had his rookie season. Though this change may have disappointed many fantasy football owners, Cam was not tackled as often by defenders who could anticipate him rushing the ball in red zone situations. Newton also led the league in Yards Per Completion (13.8) [70] and was 2nd in Yards Per Attempt (8.0) behind Robert Griffin III. Newton was rated as the 46th best player on the NFL Top 100 list.[68]

2013 season: first playoff appearance

Newton in 2014 Pro Bowl.

Newton and the Panthers had a slow start in Week 1 against the Seahawks as Newton threw 16/23 for 125 yards and a touchdown and was also sacked once in the 12–7 loss at home. A week later, Newton faced the Bills in which the Panthers led the majority of the game but the young quarterback struggled as he went 21/38 for 229 yards for 2 touchdowns but also threw an interception and was sacked 6 times in the surprising 24–23 loss on the road. In Week 3, the Panthers returned home to take on the Giants. Newton went 15/27 for 223 yards for 3 touchdowns, an interception, a sack, and rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown which would be his first of the season in the 38–0 win despite being sacked once. Coming off their bye week, Newton struggled on the road against the Cardinals as he went 21/39 for 308 yards while throwing 3 interceptions, being sacked 7 times and losing a fumble in the 22–6 loss, he would rebound a week later against Minnesota as he went 20/26 for 242 yards while throwing 3 touchdown passes and being sacked once but also ran for 30 yards and a touchdown in the 35–10 road win. The season turned out to be a success, with Newton leading his team to a 12–4 record and a first round bye in the playoffs. Newton was selected for the 2014 Pro Bowl. The week after he lost his first NFL playoff game to the San Francisco 49ers. [71] Newton was drafted 3rd in the first annual Pro Bowl Draft, by Team Sanders. Newton played the second and third quarter, and rushed for a touchdown. Newton was rated as the 24th best player on the NFL Top 100 list.[72]

2014 season: injury-plagued season

A couple months following the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, on March 21, 2014, Newton underwent surgery to "tighten" up his ankle ligaments, which Newton admitted he had dealt with since his college days at Auburn University.[73] The estimated recovery time was four months, which caused him to miss training camp and the first preseason game.[74] During the third preseason game against the New England Patriots, Newton suffered a hairline fracture on his ribs after a hit from Jamie Collins.[75] Newton's streak of starting 48 consecutive games was snapped during the Panthers opening game 20-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[76] Newton made his debut during Carolina Panthers home opener against the Detroit Lions in week 2. He recorded 300 yards of offense with a touchdown, no turnovers, and a 100.2 quarterback rating en route to a 24–7 victory.[77] Through his first 3 starts in the season, Newton recorded a 110.8 quarterback rating against the blitz.[78] During the Panthers week 5 victory against the Chicago Bears, Newton led the Panthers from a 14-point deficit and was named to the Pro Football Focus (PFF) Team of the Week for his performance.[79] Senior producer of NFL Films Greg Cosell and respected Football Outsiders columnist and Pre Snap Reads owner, Cian Fahey, both noted Newton's clear development and growth as a pocket passer.[80][81][82] During the Panthers Week 6 37–37 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals, Newton accounted for 91% of the offense, recording 29/46 completions for 286 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception along with 17 rushing attempts for 107 yards and a rushing touchdown, the most since the 2012 Week 14 win against Atlanta, when he had 116 on nine carries.[83] Through the first six games in the season, Newton averaged 2.53 seconds to attempt a pass (2.73 in 2013) and has had the ball out in under 2.5 seconds on 51.8% of his drop-backs (40% in 2013).[84] Newton had arguably his best game of the season in a 41–10 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Newton completed 21–33 passes for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns. Along with that he had 83 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in that game and with this performance, Newton has had four games with at least 200 passing yards and 80 rushing yards with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. That is the most such games in NFL history.[85] Two days following the Saints game in which he was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Newton was involved in a well-publicized car crash in which he fractured two vertebrae in his lower back. He missed only one game and returned to the field a week later in a match against the Cleveland Browns to make the final end-of-season push to win the NFC South division and once again make the playoffs.

Newton led the Carolina Panthers to the first back-to-back division titles in the NFC South since the formation of the division and became the first quarterback since Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four seasons with at least 500 rushing yards.[86] During the season, Newton also tied John Elway, Otto Graham, and Y.A. Tittle for 10th all time in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 33.[87] Further, with his four victories in December, Newton ranked second in the NFL in December wins over the past four years with 14 only behind Tom Brady.[88] Newton’s 33 rushing touchdowns were the most by a QB in his first four seasons. He is also the only player in NFL history to have 10,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his first four seasons and the first to have at least 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in four consecutive seasons.[89]

The following week, Newton led the Panthers to their first playoff win in nine years in the wildcard round over the Arizona Cardinals, throwing for 198 yards and two touchdowns while running for 35 yards.[90]

Newton and the Panthers were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks 31–17 in the divisional round of the playoffs. Newton was 23–36 for 245 yards with 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and 37 rushing yards. Despite missing two games and dealing with ankle, rib, throwing hand, and back injuries through the entire season, Newton was rated as the 73rd best player in the NFL on the NFL Top 100 player list.[91]

2015 season: MVP season and Super Bowl appearance

Newton in Super Bowl 50

On June 2, 2015, the Panthers and Newton agreed to a five-year, $103.8 million contract extension.[92] Through the 2015 preseason, Newton graded as PFF's best quarterback.[93] During the season-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Newton finished with 175 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, while rushing for 35 yards. This was the first NFL opening-day victory for Newton (the Panthers won their opener in 2014 with an injured Newton on the sidelines).[94] During the Panthers' week 2 victory over the Houston Texans, Newton finished with 195 yards passing, 2 passing TDs, and 1 interception, while rushing for 76 yards and 1 TD. In week three against the New Orleans Saints, Newton passed for 315 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions with a rushing touchdown. It marked the 26th game in Newton's career in which he had a passing and a rushing touchdown, ranking 2nd all time in NFL history behind only Steve Young (31).[95] Further, it marked the 14th time in his career where Newton notched two-plus touchdown passes and at least one rushing touchdown, third-most in the NFL since 1960, behind only Steve Young (17) and Fran Tarkenton (16).[96] Through the first three games of the season, Newton accounted for 76% of the total offensive yards and 88% of the total touchdowns the Panthers generated.[96] Newton helped lead the Panthers to a 3–0 start, the first time they had done so since the 2003 NFL Season. Several experts noted Newton's continued growth as a quarterback; Gil Brandt noted Newton's improving internal clock in the pocket, citing his career low sack percentage of 4.8% in the early season;[96] senior NFL columnist for, Pete Prisco, noting Cam's improved pocket patience, mechanics, and ability to read defenses;[97] Cian Fahey noted Newton's development into a refined pocket passer with the athleticism to diversify any offense with a multidimensional run game.[98] In the following week, during a 37–23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton went 11 of 22 passing for 124 yds and 2 TDs while leading the team in rushing with 51 yards to give the Panthers a 4–0 record for the first time since 2003.[99] As a rusher, through the first four weeks, Newton ranked 3rd in the NFL in rushes for first downs.[100]

Following a week 4 bye, Newton threw for 269 yards, 2 interceptions, and a touchdown and rushed for 30 yards and a touchdown while leading the Panthers to victory against the Seattle Seahawks. It marked just the 3rd home Seahawks loss in the Russell Wilson era.[101] It also marked the first franchise win in Seattle and Newton's 9th career fourth-quarter comeback win.[102] During the game, Newton also recorded the 36th career rushing touchdown of his career; over that span, only Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson were the only players to record more rushing touchdowns since 2011.[103] Through the first 5 weeks of the season, Newton recorded a career high 67.6% of passes under pressure.[104] The following week, Newton led the Panthers to a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, earning the Panthers their first 6–0 record in franchise history; during the game, he threw 3 interceptions and recorded his 28th game with a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown.[105] In week 8, against the Colts, Newton threw for 248 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, as the Panthers moved to 7–0 with a 29–26 overtime victory; with the win, Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to earn a comeback victory with his team trailing in overtime.[106]

The following week, Newton led the Panthers to their first 8–0 start in franchise history with a 37–29 victory over the Green Bay Packers; Newton went 15–30 for 297 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, 1 interception to go along with 9 rush, 57 yards, and 1 touchdown.[107] Further, for the first time in his career, Cam Newton threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns in a single half.[108] For his game against the Packers, Newton was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[109] The following week, during the Panthers 27–10 victory over the Tennessee Titans, Newton went 21 for 26 passes for 217 yards and 1 passing touchdown while recording 9 rushes for 23 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. Newton began the game with 11 straight completions, tying his career best in a single game (vs. Bucs on 11/18/12).[110] The following week, Newton led the Panthers to a 44–16 victory over the Washington Redskins. During the game, Newton threw for a career-high 5 touchdown passes and became the only QB in NFL history with 100+ pass TD and 25+ rush TD in his 1st 5 seasons.[111] For his efforts, Newton was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.[112] During the Panthers 33–14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Newton completed 16-of-27 passes for 183 yards, including going 8-of-16 on third downs, and rushed 12 times for 45 yards and a touchdown.[113] During the Panthers 41–38 victory over the New Orleans Saints, Newton finished with 380 combined passing and rushing yards and 5 touchdown passes. He was 10 of 14 for 154 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 147 QB Rating under pressure. He also led the game-winning 75-yard touchdown drive to the Panthers undefeated through their first 12 games.[114] For his performance, Newton was named NFC Offensive Player of the week for the third time in five weeks. The last time a player achieved that feat was 2007, when Tom Brady of the New England Patriots won three player of the week awards in five weeks while quarterbacking the New England Patriots during an undefeated regular season.[115] The following week, during the Panthers 38–0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Newton completed 15 of 21 passes for 265 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and finished with a career-high quarterback rating of 153.3.[116] The Panthers amassed 225 yards of offense in just the first quarter of the game; a franchise record. During the Panthers thrilling 38–35 victory against the New York Giants, Newton went 25 of 45 for 340 yards and 5 passing touchdowns while adding 8 rushes for 100 yards. Newton also led the Panthers on his 12th-ever game-winning drive, and his fourth of the season.[117] For his efforts, Newton was again named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Newton became the NFL's first player to win the award four times in a seven-week span since San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.[118]

Through the first 15 weeks of the NFL season, Newton led the Panthers to a 14–0 record. During that span, he also threw the second-most touchdown passes and led the NFL with 40 combined passing and rushing touchdowns. Newton was on the field for 660 of Carolina's 923 plays in which he was either the decision-maker or ball carrier after the snap, which accounted for 72 percent of the Panthers' total snaps. Further, Newton had the second-lowest percentage of passing yards gained after the catch among NFL quarterbacks and 40 of Carolina's 49 touchdowns this season were either thrown or run by Newton.[119]

In a 38–10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the regular season finale, Newton tied his season-best completion percentage (80.77), threw for almost 300 yards and added a pair of touchdowns (with another two coming on the ground). His passer rating of 139.3 was the second best mark he posted all season. For his efforts, he was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the fifth time in the season.[120] Newton became the first player to win five NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards in a nine-week span within a season and his five awards tied for the most in a season in NFL history (Tom Brady, 2007).[121] Newton's 45 total touchdowns during the regular season marked the most touchdowns by a single player since 2013. Newton was selected as the 2015 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year by the PFWA.[122]

Newton during Super Bowl 50

Newton and the Panthers finished the season with a 15–1 record, a franchise best, and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. They defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional round 31–24, despite nearly blowing a 31–0 lead, and went on to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 49–15 in the NFC Championship game to face the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. In the NFC championship game, Newton completed 19 of 28 passes for 335 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns.[123] The Panthers' 49 points were the highest in NFC Championship history.

On February 6, 2016, Newton was named NFL MVP.[124]

In Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016, which pitted the Panthers' top-ranked offense against the Denver Broncos' top-ranked defense, the Panthers lost by a score of 10 to 24. The defense of both teams performed extremely well and led to both offenses struggling terribly throughout the game. Newton was sacked 6 times and Manning was sacked 5 times (Ted Ginn was also "sacked" on a designed reverse and throwback play that failed), both quarterbacks fumbled twice (Newton losing both of his and Manning losing one of his), and both threw an interception (Newton's tipped off the hands of his receiver and Manning's was a case of not seeing a defender in coverage). Despite the offensive failures, the game was generally a one-score affair until a few minutes left in the fourth quarter.

A key play of the game occurred in the first half, on a 3rd-and-10 from the 15-yard line, when Broncos linebacker Von Miller knocked the ball out of Newton's hands while sacking him. Defensive end Malik Jackson recovered it in the end zone for a Broncos touchdown, giving the team a 10–0 lead. This was the first fumble return touchdown in a Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXVIII at the end of the 1993 season.[125] Another key play occurred with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter of regulation with the score 10 to 16. Carolina got the ball on their own 24-yard line with a chance to mount a game-winning drive, but Von Miller again stripped the ball away from Newton, with the Broncos recovering. Newton would later earn criticism for awkwardly trying to fall on the loose ball as he approached it, when film angles appeared to show he initially had a clear path to dive on it.[126] Newton finished the game going 18 of 41 for 265 yards, and was the team's leading rusher with 45 yards on six carries.[127]

In the Super Bowl 50 post-game interview, occurring within twenty minutes after the game, and with Newton able to only throw a hoodie on over his pads before being rushed to a podium, Newton answered reporters' questions mostly in monosyllables, did not make eye contact, and walked away from the interview room two and a half minutes into the session.[127] In defense of his post-game behavior, Newton told reporters the next day: "Who likes to lose? You show me a good loser and I’m going to show you a loser. It’s not a popularity contest. I am here to win football games."[128] Newton later apologized for his actions, but stood by his emotions at the time.

Newton was rated as the # 1 best player in the NFL by his peers on the NFL Top 100 player list. For the season, Newton has sold the 7th most merchandise from March 2015 to February 2016.[129]

2016 season

In the opening game of the 2016 season, against the Broncos, Newton surpassed two of Steve Young's NFL records, one for the most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with his 44th, and the other for most games with a passing and rushing touchdown, with his 32nd.[130] This also tied Otto Graham's all-time professional American football mark of 44 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.[131] Newton also completed 18 of 33 passes for 194 yards, a touchdown and one interception in the 21–20 loss.[132]

NFL career statistics

Regular season statistics Passing Rushing Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Cmp Att Pct Yds Avg TD INT Rate Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2011 Carolina Panthers 16 16 310 517 60.0 4,051 7.8 21 17 84.5 126 706 5.6 49T 14 5 2
2012 Carolina Panthers 16 16 280 485 57.7 3,869 8.0 19 12 86.2 127 741 5.8 72T 8 10 3
2013 Carolina Panthers 16 16 292 473 61.7 3,379 7.1 24 13 88.8 111 585 5.3 56 6 3 1
2014 Carolina Panthers 14 14 262 448 58.5 3,127 7.0 18 12 82.1 103 539 5.2 22 5 12 5
2015 Carolina Panthers 16 16 296 495 59.8 3,837 7.8 35 10 99.4 132 636 4.8 47 10 5 4
2016 Carolina Panthers 8 8 161 277 58.1 1,994 7.2 10 7 82.0 57 261 4.8 28 4 1 1
Totals 86861,6012,69559.420,2577.51277187.66563,4685.3 72T 47 3316
Playoffs statistics Passing Rushing Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Cmp Att Pct Yds TD INT Rate Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2013 Carolina Panthers 1 1 16 25 64.0 267 1 2 79.9 10 54 5.4 11 0 0 0
2014 Carolina Panthers 2 2 41 68 60.3 444 4 3 80.8 18 72 4.0 13 0 3 2
2015 Carolina Panthers 3 3 53 91 58.2 761 3 2 87.3 27 95 3.5 14 2 2 2
Totals 6 6 110 184 59.8 1,472 8 7 83.9 55 221 4.0 14 2 5 4

NFL accomplishments and records


Rookie records

Records and achievements

Carolina Panthers franchise records

Personal life

Newton in 2011.

Newton is the son of Jackie and Cecil Newton Sr., who was cut as a safety from the pre-season rosters of the 1983 Dallas Cowboys and 1984 Buffalo Bills,[175][176] and the younger brother of Cecil Newton, Jr., a center who most recently played for the Baltimore Ravens.[177] His youngest brother, Caylin, is starting quarterback for Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia.[178] Newton was also a talented baseball and basketball player as a youth but developed a fear of being hit by a pitch in baseball and could not avoid foul trouble on the basketball court. He stopped playing baseball at 14 years old and quit basketball shortly into his high school career.[179]

Newton is a Christian. Newton spoke about his faith after winning the 2011 BCS National Championship Game saying, "It’s just a God thing. I thank God every single day. I’m just His instrument and He’s using me on a consistent basis daily."[180]

In addition to his commitment to football, Newton participates in motivational speaking.[181]

On December 9, 2014, Newton was involved in a car crash in Charlotte; his vehicle flipped. Newton suffered two back fractures and was held overnight at the hospital for observation. Witnesses claim that the truck Newton was driving rolled over multiple times.[182] Newton would make a full recovery in 12 days.

Newton graduated with a degree in sociology in the spring of 2015.[183]

Newton is a self-proclaimed pescetarian.[184]

Newton partnered with Southern department store chain Belk on his own clothing line, MADE by Cam Newton.[185]

On December 30, 2015, Newton confirmed on Twitter that he and his longtime girlfriend Kia Proctor, had welcomed a son named Chosen Sebastian Newton on December 24, 2015, in Atlanta. He also tweeted "I've been quiet about this because I didn't want to create a distraction for my team and appreciate the privacy in this joyous time"[186][187]

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