Tom Brady is without a doubt one of the greatest quarterbacks our generation has ever seen. He has built walls, climbed them, and made incredible additions to the wonder that is football architecture. Words cannot describe my respect for Brady: The rings, the talent, the fortifying leadership…you’d have to study a dictionary for 3 weeks to even find the vocabulary to do his career justice.
Being that the NFL is a win-now league, I tend to think in the now – the present.
Who is the present?
Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Cam Newton. Not only are these gentlemen the present, but they are also the future. They are a league of revolutionary quarterbacks, who have taken the league by storm with innovative skill-sets and great football minds. Who started this movement? Who is responsible for changing the NFL as we know it?
The one and only Cameron Newton.
I have to admit, I was never a guy who bought into Newton 100%. His accuracy was bipolar, and he never really extruded the leadership that it takes to be successful in this league.
But on November 18th, 2013, my whole perception changed.
There I was, sitting on my couch, with 10 minutes to go until the start of Monday Night Football.
Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots.
Tensions were high at this point in the season, and my foot was tapping out of control as if I was auditioning for Thoroughly Modern Millie. However, as the game went on, my nerves were eased by a revitalized Cam Newton. He connected with his receivers with precision and show-stopping staunchness, while his legs were simply unbeatable. He went on to win the game against the great duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, on the biggest stage in football nonetheless.
Not only that, but he outplayed Brady, and it wasn’t even close.
I was ecstatic and in shock. Screw the controversial call that ended the game. Screw the relentless assault of the refs’ intelligence. This was not only a win for Cam Newton, but a loss for all of his doubters.
I always knew that Newton was something special, but in that moment, I knew he wasn’t too far away from being great.
So why do I believe that Cam Newton will have a better season than Tom Brady in the upcoming season? It’s simply inevitable. As fantastic as Tom Brady is, there’s no denying he is declining. Let’s take a look at his numbers:
Tom Brady (2011-13)
Now, let’s take a look at Newton’s:
Cam Newton (2011-13)
As you can see, Brady’s stats, while still solid, continue to decline in the important areas. Newton’s 2013 stats, however, are the greatest they’ve ever been. He took a dip in yardage, but the head of Carolina’s offense became smarter, more efficient, and more team-friendly. Some may use the term ‘off-year’ for Brady’s 2013 season, but a player of his caliber is too strong for such weak excuses. Plus, while focusing on Brady’s individual play, he seems to have taken a step back with his mechanics.
Will we continue to see this trend in their stats? I certainly believe so. Cam continues to progress, both on the field and off the field, and it shines through in his gameplay.
Stats are only half of my reasoning, though.
The Cam Newton I saw play Monday Night Football would have made anyone a believer. He no longer wanted to be the guy winning it all. He wanted to be the guy leading his men to victory. Now, mindset might be underestimated by some in football, but that is a terrible mistake. 60% of Newton’s numbers in 2013 were talent, the other 40% were heart. A pure motivation to win is a quarterback’s greatest weapon, not his arm, and with a disappointing end to the 2013 season, the motivation for Newton is even stronger. Motivation is what will finally catapult Newton to greater numbers in 2014, not skill.
While Brady’s numbers continue to get worse, I would never discredit Brady’s performance on the field. The fact remains that the greatest Patriot of all-time is still leading his team 16 games out of the year, producing outstanding wins and constant playoff appearances.
That being said, Cam and Tom’s 2013 numbers are just too close for comfort. I fully expect Newton to leap-frog Brady in 2014 and have his best season yet. Should Patriots fans be worried by this? Of course not. Brady will continue to stun the league until the day he retires. However, a new era of quarterbacks is being brought in. Cam Newton will be a better player in 2014, but Tom Brady will remain a giant among men.
And that, my friends, is the beauty of the NFL.