Cam Newton is an elite quarterback. His team is 11-0, he’s playing like an MVP candidate, he does everything right off the field, he’s clean cut, he’s charitable and he has an enormous smile.
And yet, he’s one of the most polarizing players in the NFL.
“The simple answer to your question is he’s having the most fun,” NFL Network analyst Nate Burleson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I love analogies, so I look at Cam like this: You walk into a lounge where there’s a party and you say, ‘Hey, I’m heading over to the party, do you want to come?’ And for some reason, your eyes keep falling to the corner of the room where this guy is just over there dancing. He’s living in the moment with huge a smile on his face. Eventually you’re going to gravitate toward him because you want to know why is he so damn excited, and how can I feel that same way about life? That’s how Cam make us feel about football.
“When he’s out there on the football field, you can’t help but feel pulled in by his energy,” Burleson continued, “just how genuinely excited he is about making plays. You talk about his smile – and he has that throughout the game. Even in the toughest moments, he has that. There’s teams that we watch – and guys can play angry and they can have their eye brows scrunched. That’s fine. That’s football. That’s the majority of these individuals. But there’s something about a guy that’s having fun.”
In a way, Newton reminds Burleson of Brett Favre – of how Favre would smile at snowy Lambeau when his team took the field in the final minutes with a chance to win the game.
“When he smiled, you smiled,” Burleson said. “You’re in your living room jumping up and down because you felt like you’re enjoying this situation with him. You’re enjoying the party with him. So for me, the reason that Cam is so polarizing is because right now it seems like he’s having the most fun in the league.”