The game was over. The Carolina Panthers had completely destroyed the Arizona Cardinals, 49-15, and Terry Bradshaw was trying to do a postgame interview with Cam Newton. The crowd at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., was still buzzing and yelling when their 6-foot-5-inch, 260-pound “Super Cam,” as he is sometimes called, walked over to the microphone and let out a yell, whipping the crowd into hysterics.
The chants of “MVP, MVP,” began working their way around the stadium, and for the first time in the Panthers’ season, Super Cam looked more like regular-ol’ Cam Newton, the kid from Atlanta who just loves playing football. He couldn’t find the words. Bradshaw even prodded him, asking, “Anything else?”
“Nothing,” Newton answered.
Which about sums it up for the man who wore specially designed cleats during his pregame warmup with the names of all his teammates etched into them. Sunday game wasn’t only the Cam show, since the entire team dominated from start to finish.
But make no mistake about it: Superman was definitely in the building.
Newton finished the game going 19 of 28 for 335 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also ran for two more, including a third-quarter rush that ended with a dive and a flip over two Cardinals before he landied on his back in the end zone.
On the cape of the quarterback who fashions himself a modern-day superhero, the Panthers will make their first trip to the Super Bowl in more than a decade to face walking legend Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
So now all the talk can begin about the flashy quarterback whose postgame wardrobe might be the only storyline bigger then his on-the-field heroics, going against the aging first-ballot Hall of Famer Manning. Except to be bombarded in the coming days with quarterback comparisons and tons of charts and analytics.
There is time for that. As it stands now, Manning is the one with all the records, and Newton is the one chasing the dream. Although, according to Yahoo! Sports, if this storybook season continues to play out for the Panthers, Newton could become one of the few elite players to win a college national championship, a Heisman, a Super Bowl and an MVP.
If Newton and the Panthers play the way they did Sunday night, the question won’t be if the young gun has a chance; it will be how many MVPs and championships they will win before he’s Peyton Manning’s age.