Steve Smith, Julius Peppers and Luke Kuechly. All great players, all deserving of their spot in Carolina Panthers history.
Those were the three candidates when the Panthers posted an innocuous question on Twitter Wednesday: Who is the GOAT among Carolina players?
It’s mid-June and all NFL teams are just passing time until training camp. But ... how can the Panthers possibly forget Cam Newton on that list?
Cam Newton was great for Panthers
Newton is the only No. 1 overall pick in Panthers history. He’s the only player in team history to win NFL offensive rookie of the year. He’s the only NFL MVP the Panthers have ever had. That season he led the team to a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl, the best season in team history.
Along his nine seasons with the Panthers he left a great deal on the field for them, before the team cut him this offseason. The Panthers used him as a true dual-threat quarterback as he set records for rushing attempts. Many of those runs were designed. Newton is only 31 years old but hasn’t been signed by anyone else, in part because his aging process resembles a running back more than a normal quarterback.
It was probably an oversight by the social media team, though that seems a bit hard to believe. It’s not like Newton isn’t the player most closely associated with the franchise’s history. Even if it was just a mistake, it seems a bit disrespectful.
Newton was cut this offseason
Again, this is all pretty innocuous. Today the Panthers are asking about the GOAT, tomorrow maybe they ask about the greatest play in team history. No big deal, even though most of the comments on the tweet seemed to include the word “Cam.”
Newton probably has more to worry about than whether he was included in a Twitter poll by his former team, but it’s still curious. It will be interesting to see how Newton is embraced by the team as time goes on — his departure was rather unceremonious, though most NFL breakups are. Still, Newton gave the Panthers some great years, became one of the biggest stars in the NFL and got them close to a Super Bowl title with just the second NFC championship in team history. If they want to replace that Jerry Richardson statue, Newton doing the Superman celebration wouldn’t be a bad choice.
Smith, Peppers and Kuechly are all great players. But there’s really no doubt who should be first on the Panthers’ GOAT list.
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