Is Cam Newton a Hall-of-Famer?
That’s a question sure to launch people into an intense debate. The New England Patriots QB is one of the most polarizing athletes in the world. Just as his style and personality don’t resonate with everyone, many football fans are equally split on his qualifications for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.
One NFL analyst doesn’t think Newton’s resume is shabby, but Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report does believe the former NFL MVP needs to do more to cement his case for a spot in Canton, Ohio.
Is a Super Bowl Title the Missing Link for Cam Newton?
According to Knox, the biggest issue that has “derailed” Newton’s otherwise HOF career has been injuries.
Here is more from Knox’s explanation for Newton needing to do a little more to be Hall-of-Fame worthy.
Unfortunately, Newton struggled with his passing consistency in 2020 (eight touchdowns, 10 interceptions and an 82.9 passer rating) and may be on the verge of losing his starting job. New England re-signed Newton in the offseason but then drafted Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round. If Newton can resurrect his career in New England or elsewhere—a la Kurt Warner—he could still make the Hall of Fame. Newton has never won a Super Bowl, but he has appeared in one. He’s also a three-time Pro Bowler, a one-time first-team All-Pro and has 31,698 passing yards and 190 passing touchdowns on his resume. Perhaps more impressively, he has 5,398 career rushing yards and 70 rushing touchdowns, too. Currently, Newton is 32nd on the all-time rushing touchdowns list. He’s first among quarterbacks by a wide margin—Steve Young is second on the list with 43—and has set the bar for modern dual-threat signal-callers. The 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year and 2015 league MVP has already accomplished enough to command the attention of Hall of Fame voters. A second stint as a high-level starter should put him into Canton. Fortunately, Newton is only 32 years old and has time to put his career back on a Hall of Fame path.
Newton said in a recently released video that last year was the first time he’d been healthy in nearly three years. The 2020 season was far from Newton’s best, but he also caught COVID-19 last year, had to learn a new offense in a shortened offseason and had a horrendous set of passing weapons.
Knox is correct when he points out Newton’s age as something working in his favor. It is amazing how much people act as if Newton is a 38-year-old quarterback who has been in the league for 18 seasons. So much of a sense of urgency is seemingly placed on the upcoming season.
Even Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders said, “this is it,” when referring to the 2021 campaign. We’ve seen players flounder through tough seasons without similar stakes placed on their age-32 season. Why is “this it” for Newton?
Even if Newton doesn’t accomplish anything else in the NFL, the rarity of his rushing numbers from the QB position and his league MVP give his HOF resume some merit.
Also, it is important to note, he wouldn’t be the only QB in league history to be enshrined without winning a Super Bowl. Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Sonny Jurgensen didn’t win the big one. Chargers great Dan Fouts never even made it to a Super Bowl .
Quite obviously, none of them blazed a trail for the mobile quarterback the way Newton has over the past 10 years.
Newton’s Hall-of-Fame Journey Isn’t Likely to End in New England
Well, when you look at what the Patriots did from a roster standpoint to support Newton, at least for the upcoming season, he has the tools in place to have a strong season.
While Bill Belichick has committed to Newton as his starting quarterback until Jarrett Stidham or Mac Jones proves to be better, it is no secret, the latter is going to get his opportunity at some point.
Newton’s contract is up at the end of the upcoming season, and if he plays as well as he can with a set of new weapons, he will have done enough to secure a starting spot with another team in 2022. Maybe then he can put any doubts about his fitness for Canton to rest.