Cam Newton Will Show the New Face of The NFL in Super Bowl 50
My position on the NFL is well-known. I prefer the CFL for all the right reasons: the rules make the game more open and more complex. The NFL is to football as the NHL is to hockey. They are both good, fast games abut are constricted by the rules in the case of the NFL and by rink size in the case of the NHL.
Youth Will Be Served
This blog is about the American Football Conference Championship Game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. I was curious about how the two aged quarterbacks might perform against swift, active defences.
Monday night I watched the NFC Championship Game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals because I was curious about the maturation of a swift and active young quarterback, Cam Newton of Carolina.
Did You Know that Africa is a Continent?
Parenthetically, it seems appropriate to write about why some sports teams are called after a State and why some teams are called after a city.
A Perception of Age
It is an amazing fact that men and women in their thirties are considered "old" in the world of competitive team sports. In the fields of gymnastics and figure skating, athletes start before puberty and are thought to be too old to compete at a World Class level when they are merely in their twenties!
So, I have to apologize to all of you who are older than Tom Bradley and Peyton Manning, perhaps by many years, and still don't think of yourselves as old! Here in sunny Florida I have many Jewish friends who refer to themselves as AK's which is an acronym for the Yiddish terms which mean "old fogie".
I've asked them when they began to think of themselves as AK's. The most common answer is "never". They don't "feel" old; they just accept society's (and their children's' and grandchildren's') view of them.
Immobility of Age
We normal men don't begin to feel old until we have to get up from a chair in stages. We might be willing to walk up two flights of stairs but we give up one quarter of the way climbing up a National Monument.
In sports, you're old if you can't outrun a man who stands perhaps 10 cm taller than you and outweighs you by perhaps 30 or more kilograms.
Those big guys can run almost as fast as you ran when you were in high school!
Outrunning Two Future Hall of Famers
Both Manning and Brady looked slow in the Championship game. I fully understand that they know more about football than many Head Coaches! I realize that they read defences better than the defence's coordinators! I know that their throwing strength has not deteriorated much; they can still throw a long downfield pass in traffic and get the ball to arrive at the point of reception in such a way that only their receiver could catch it!
Having said all that, was it not obvious that they both were slow reacting to the fast and ferocious rushes that the opposing defensive lines were able to produce? I don't watch American football often but over the years I have made an exception for Peyton Manning and Tom Brady who, in their prime, were as elegant to watch as a great symphony conductor.
How, then, to account for the many times they were tackled running backwards?
A New Type of Quarterback
In contrast to the Manning-Bradley contest, Cam Newton showed dramatically what a modern superstar quarterback looks like. The modern superstar quarterback can read defences, can see downfield, can execute a wide assortment of passes, and can run the ball both by design and when running becomes necessary because all the receivers were covered and the pass protection had broken down.
The modern superstar quarterback will run rather than throw the ball away. The modern superstar quarterback will exude the joy of competition. He may celebrate on the field but it will always be a celebration of joy rather than a taunting celebration. The modern superstar quarterback will have all the leadership qualities of the great quarterbacks of the past.
Not Everyone Can Do What Cam Newton Does
Many quarterbacks have tried to be the modern superstar quarterback but failed because they lacked one or more of the essential ingredients. Most running quarterbacks don't have the complete package: the leadership qualities, or the ability to read defences.
Cam Newton does not have the beautiful release of Manning or Brady but he has all the ingredients needed to be the modern superstar quarterback.
Denver Will Challenge Newton
Denver will no doubt add wrinkles to their vaunted defence in an attempt to confuse and frustrate cam Newton. I believe that the Denver defence, as good and swift as it undeniably is, will not succeed in frustrating Cam Newton in the Super Bowl. He will frustrate them. He will run around and through them and will exhaust them. Denver will need to substitute often for players whose massive frames will struggle to recover quickly from one play to the next against a quarterback as elusive, fast, and strong as Cam Newton.
Super Bowl Blues
The Super Bowl is usually quite a dull affair. The two week hype is ridiculous. Everything surrounding the game itself is drawn out as much as possible so we can see even more Super Bowl commercials.
This year I will watch the Super Bowl to see if Cam Newton does indeed outplay Peyton Manning. I fully expect this game to be seen as a passing of the torch, a changing of the guard as it were.
Defence Wins Super Bowls but not This Year
Denver had the best defence this season. They are a great unit, without question. So I won't predict a massive blowout as happened to The Arizona Cardinals.
I will predict that as the game goes on it will be eminently obvious that the NFL is no longer the league that Peyton Manning came to 18 years ago.