Kim Myers seems to think he should at least be in the conversation. Sure Cam Newton’s numbers are nowhere close to the ones that Peyton Manning has put up in his record setting season, but we have to get down to what the MVP means. The most valuable player to their team. The Denver Broncos have done an excellent job providing Peyton Manning with all the talent you could ask for. He has two receivers who would be the number one guy on any team in Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. Heck, Eric Decker would be the primary receiver on half of the teams in the NFL too. Throw in the emergence of Julius Thomas, a hyper athletic tight end and the resurgence of Knowshon Moreno, it’s no surprise Peyton has put up these kinds of numbers. Not to mention Peyton has one of the best offensive lines in football, so should he truly be considered the front runner for MVP? No.
Cam Newton has done more with less. He has guided a team that is lacking in playmakers to a 12-4 record and the number 2 seed in the extremely competitive NFC. Sure the Panthers have a solid option in Steve Smith, but he is past his prime and not the same Steve Smith who used to dominate week to week. Greg Olsen is a reliable all around tight end, but he is not an elite receiving threat like some of the other top tier tight ends. Brandon Lafell seems to have regressed this season, and Ted Ginn was almost out of the league before getting another shot in Carolina. You give Cam the receiving talent that Peyton Manning has and it is hard not to see Cam putting up 4500+ passing yards and 500+ rushing yards in a season.
Cam Newton also plays behind a line that is suspect, especially on the road. They do have solid veteran tackle Jordan Gross and one of the best centers in pro bowler Ryan Kalil, but injuries at the guard position have forced the Panthers to convert DT Nate Chandler into a right gurad. Byron Bell at right tackle has been beaten all year and seems to have reached his peak as an offensive lineman. Cam Newton was sacked 43 times this season. That is over twice as many times as Peyton Manning (20). Peyton is allowed to sit back in the pocket and allow one of his many receivers to eventually get open. Wes Welker is the king of the slot, Demaryius Thomas blazes to the outside and even Knowshon Moreno is one of the better pass catching backs in the league. Could you imagine what that offense would do if they had a QB with an arm like Cam or the ability for him to run as well?
Defenses have to account for Cam’s ability to run on every play, which means linebackers have to be ready to drop out of coverage and stop Cam from gashing them on the ground. Throw in the fact that Cam’s decision making has improved and he has turned the ball over less the last 2 seasons, it is hard to picture anyone stopping an offense like that from scoring. Some will argue that the Panthers made the playoffs because of their dominating defense and that’s a fair argument. The Panthers defensive unit finished 2nd in scoring and yardage defense behind the Seattle Seahawks, but without Cam Newton on the team, the Panthers are not scoring at all. Rivera admitted earlier in the season what sold him on drafting Cam was talking to other SEC coaches. Those coaches said without Cam, Auburn would not have had more than 7 wins. He has the ability to take over a game and make plays that no other quarterback in this league can. See this 3rd down run conversion against the Patriots for an excellent example.
Cam has also proven that he has the clutch gene. In big moments this year he has made big plays. He has 4 4th quarter game winning drives this season. After struggling all game against his second meeting with the Saints, Cam had one drive left to at least get a field goal. Instead he delivered strike after strike and finally threw Domenik Hixon open for the game winning score. He was obviously hurt that game as well, his ability to run was gone. Forced to be a pocket passer, Cam Newton beat the Saints (without Steve Smith mind you). This shows the evolution and growth that Cam has undergone in his 3rd year in the league.
Peyton Manning is more than likely going to win the MVP award on his statistics alone. There is no doubt he is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step onto a football field, but Cam Newton is more valuable to his team. Tim Tebow won a playoff game with that Denver team minus Wes Welker. Cam Newton is about to have his first chance to show what he can do in the playoffs. He does not care about individual awards. He only wants to bring that Lombardi Trophy to Charlotte and he might just do that this season.