Including the playoffs, Cam Newton has accounted for 50 total touchdowns (38 passing and 12 rushing). And to the devastating weapon that his mobility provides, he has added an ability to throw accurately from the pocket, including downfield.
If you wondered how the Panthers would score when Kelvin Benjamin went down back in August, you weren't alone. Newton took mostly anonymous skill players and crafted the league's highest-scoring offense. This one isn't even close. There are players who had great years (like Arizona's Carson Palmer and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown). There are those who thrived despite major hurdles (like New England's Tom Brady). But Cam Newton is the only player who enjoyed a great year while overcoming setbacks (like losing his best wide receiver) and leading his team to a 15-1 record.
Newton basically did what people thought he couldn't do: He made the people around him better. ... he was the best player in the NFL this season. Cam Newton has played outrageous all season long. Leading up to the Super Bowl, he's combined for 50 touchdowns -- only nine other players in NFL history have been able to do that (seven of those players won the regular-season MVP). Just imagine the wild results if Cam Newton had Kelvin Benjamin on the field just once this year. There's nothing to debate here.
Newton should run for office after this season. Cam Newton has redefined the quarterback position. He can drop back like Tom Brady or he can scramble like ... well, Cam Newton. He's beaten every good team in different ways and elevated the play of guys around him, which is the true definition of this award. Cam Newton. As one of the 50 voters for The Associated Press NFL awards, I didn't hesitate to give him my vote. No player did more for his team, carrying a pedestrian group of receivers. And Newton was clutch in big moments (see: fourth-quarter comebacks at Seattle and New Orleans), brilliantly leading Carolina to a 15-1 record with arm, legs and smile. If you remove Cam Newton from that Carolina Panthers team, they are a 6-10 ball club watching the playoffs at home. Since the first month of the season, Cam Newton has been my choice to win the MVP award. Without a true No. 1 wide receiver and two new offensive tackles, Newton's performance was off the charts in leading the Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season finish. With the enthusiasm and leadership that he's brought to this team, there's no one even close to deserving the honor like Newton.
Cam's improved in all phases of the game. He posted a career-high 99.4 passer rating, up from 82.1 last season. He threw for a career-high 35 touchdowns, up from 18 last year. The Carolina offense scored 500 points, up from 339 last year. Cam Newton had 45 total touchdowns during the regular season. Cam Newton is the obvious choice. Next question.
Actually, before we go, I happened to notice how similar Newton's 2015 numbers are to another MVP quarterback:
**Steve Young in '94:** 35 TD, 10 INT, 112.8 passer rating, 5.1 yards per rush, 7 rush TD.
**Cam Newton in '15:** 35 TD, 10 INT, 99.2 passer rating, 4.8 yards per rush, 10 rush TD.
Eerie, huh? Young won the Super Bowl that season over a good defensive team, with much of the attention on him (like Cam) because he had replaced Joe Montana. We'll see how Super Bowl 50 goes for Newton. Isn't it obvious? Cam Newton was extraordinary this year, and the Panthers don't make the playoffs without him. I think he's going to win in a landslide. Obviously, it's Cam, as we foretold after Week 3 on the DDFP. (And that conversation everyone's having about Cam & race right now? We had that after Week 3, too.)
Quick acknowledgment of the historic three years Antonio Brown's put together: 375 rec/5,031 yds stacks up with the best ever. (Even you, Jerry.) Cam Newton's just changed the whole game. He takes a different approach than most quarterbacks in this league. When Kelvin Benjamin went down, everyone wrote Carolina off, but Cam put the team on his shoulders and won 15 games. And he has the whole world dabbing. Cam Newton: He led his team to 15 wins without a true No. 1 receiver. His presence as a runner and passer in the Mike Shula attack gave the Panthers an offense that was very hard to defend. Newton's been the most consistent player all year, and he made the biggest improvement of anyone. Cam Newton's worked into this spot because of how he's played the game without what some people would call big-time names. He's played exceptionally well, and guys have stepped up around him.