The pairing of Cam Newton and Bill Belichick sparks equal feelings of excitement and apprehension.
The most physically gifted quarterback in the history of the NFL joins forces with the game’s greatest coach.
This is Phil Jackson relocating to Los Angeles to coach Shaquille O’Neal. It’s Tupac Shakur leaving prison to collaborate with Dr. Dre. This is Felix Unger moving in with Oscar Madison.
It’s the oddest and most fascinating coupling in sports.
The one-year, incentive-laden deal Cam Newton accepted to play for the New England Patriots is exciting for those of us infatuated with Cam’s career and those us infatuated by the Belichick-Tom Brady divorce.
Hell, it’s exciting for news for anyone in need of a distraction from the political and racial polarization promoted by the mainstream media.
Newton has wisely selected Belichick to mastermind the resurrection of his career. And Belichick has wisely cut a deal with the lone free-agent quarterback capable of making the Patriots a Super Bowl threat in the immediate aftermath of Brady’s departure to Tampa Bay.
Newton is the antithesis of Brady. Newton was a can’t-miss prospect out of high school, a Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn and the number one overall pick of the draft. Newton possesses the physical tools to play linebacker, tight end, wide receiver, defensive end, strong safety and left tackle. He’s known more for his running ability than his throwing.
Brady was a 2-year starter at Michigan, a decent player, a sixth-round pick. Brady has admitted quarterback is the only position he could play in football. He runs about as well as an offensive lineman. He is, however, the greatest quarterback of all time. He’s maximized every bit of talent he has.
Cam Newton? Not so much. He led the Panthers to one Super Bowl and won the league’s MVP award once. He’s a questionable leader. He’s been slowed by injuries. At age 31, he’s at a career crossroads. He has to beat out Jarrett Stidham, play at a high level for 16 games and remain healthy or his time as a franchise quarterback is over.
That’s why I’m apprehensive.
Cam going to New England could play out like the plot for the movie Get Out.
Belichick has had great success with his coffee mug and spoon putting talented NFL divas in a trance and turning them into choir boys and winners.
Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison and LaGarrette Blount had tremendous success in New England. They excelled under Belichick’s tutelage.
But Albert Haynesworth, Chad Johnson and Antonio Brown flamed out.
Can Bill Belichick’s starting quarterback rock The Weeknd’s old hairstyle, Mary Poppins’ scarf and Cab Calloway’s zoot suits to postgame press conferences?
Cam loves attention. He likes the privileges that come along with being a franchise quarterback. He loves building his brand with videos posted to social media.
Tom Brady dealt with being treated like every other player on the 53-man roster. Can Cam handle that?
If he can, I think the Patriots win the AFC East and Cam is the most sought-after free-agent quarterback next offseason. If he can handle it, Cam could be New England’s quarterback the next five years, win another Super Bowl and firm up his Hall of Fame resume.
If he can’t handle it, Belichick will figure it out before Week 1 and cut him.