Will Cam Newton’s appeal extend beyond Super Bowl 50?

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been front and center in the media coverage leading up to Super Bowl 50.

Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton has been front and center in the media coverage leading up to Super Bowl 50.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Super Bowl 50 is days away and as the Carolina Panthers prepare to face the Denver Broncos, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been the centerpiece of media sessions. Newton has had to answer copious questions about being an African-American quarterback, his on-field celebrations and his personality, among other things. Newton’s responses are now being commonly accepted and it seems he is as well, a huge change from how he was covered earlier in his career.

Newton with one of his signature celebrations after scoring a touchdown

Newton with one of his signature celebrations after scoring a touchdown

In the first two seasons of Newton’s career with the Panthers, there was a lot of losing and blame to go around for those losses. The former Number one overall draft pick and Heisman Trophy  winner found out the hard way that every aspect of his game would be scrutinized as the team struggled. Newton was even called by former teammate Steve Smith, Sr. and current head coach Ron Rivera, “Mr. Mopeyhead” for the way he apparently sulked when the team struggled. Reflecting on that difficult period, leading into his third season, Newton said:

“It was very disgusting. That’s as blunt as I can be. I could say other words as well. We went back on YouTube and looked at Cam Newton’s post game interviews. I was like “oh my God,” I see what people see. I see how people are viewing me. When they see this selfish player, or see this childish temper tantrum that I was throwing, I’m like “that’s why people look at me like that”

Newton (l) and Rivera (r) have grown together to help lead this team to the franchise's second super bowl appearance.

Newton (l) and Rivera (r) have grown together to help lead this team to the franchise’s second super bowl appearance.

Newton’s third season was in 2013, a year in which the Panthers won their division with a 12-4 record and earned a first round bye. Though they lost in the second round of the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers, the team has grown together and has not missed the playoffs since that season.

While Newton has been clear in recognizing the need to mature on and off the field, it is clear that he has the support of his team and in particular his head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera has been the Newton’s head coach since he entered the NFL. Rivera’s past experience as a player for the Super Bowl winning ’85 Chicago Bears has helped shape his view of how to govern his team. Rivera has admitted that he embraces players individuality as long as they work together as a team on the field.

Newton (l) and Manning (r) are the first pair of former #1 overall selections at quarterback to face each other in the super bowl.

Newton (l) and Manning (r) are the first pair of former #1 overall selections at quarterback to face each other in the super bowl.

The Broncos and their top rated defense hope their quarterback Peyton Manning has one more vintage performance left in him to help pull off the upset over Newton and the Panthers. Manning, for his part acknowledged how much he has had to change this season stating, “I haven’t been stubborn. I have been flexible.”

Newton has been given the opportunity to have his personality and style of play embraced by his organization over the last few seasons and the results have been resounding. The Panthers enter Super Bowl 50 with a 17-1 record and the overwhelming favorites to win it all. With this being the fourth straight Super Bowl with an African-American starting quarterback, maybe there is growing acceptance for different ways to win at the quarterback position.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr., is a senior writer at OnPointPress.net and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets.  Contact me directly at (470)755-9940 for your health insurance questions and concerns.

Russell Wilson’s quiet leadership is exemplary among black quarterbacks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On  Sunday, February 1, 2015, Russell Wilson has a chance to become back-to-back Super Bowl champion. There are only a handful of quarterbacks that have that distinction on their resume, most recently his opponent on Sunday, Tom Brady. However, Russell Wilson has already achieved an historic accomplishment by being the first African-American quarterback to reach the Super Bowl in consecutive years.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Wilson is the fourth African-American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. In 2004 Donovan McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl and in 1999 Steve McNair also led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl. McNair and McNabb fell short of leading their teams to victory and were ultimately unsuccessful in winning the Super Bowl.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

In 2012, Colin Kaepernick surprised many by leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in just his 10th career start. He narrowly missed a second opportunity to appear in the Super Bowl last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Wilson, Kaepernick, and Cam Newton are few of the young African-American quarterbacks who are changing perceptions about the position with their varied styles of winning.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

In 1987 Doug Williams guided the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl and was victorious over the Denver Broncos. Williams’ Super Bowl appearance is not only distinctive because he is African-American, but also because of his superb performance that day. Williams orchestrated a 42 -10 rout of the Denver Broncos with 340 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, en route to being named Super Bowl MVP. As successful as Williams and the Redskins were that day, they were unsuccessful in repeating the following year.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week's media sessions.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week’s media sessions.

Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks hope to add their names to the history books with repeat Super Bowl victories on Sunday against the New England Patriots. While many of Wilson’s teammates like Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman have become major headlines during media week, Wilson has flown under the radar. However, his importance to the game cannot be understated.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson is the unquestioned leader on offense and will have to play a much better game than he did in the NFC championship game if the Seahawks are to prevail this Sunday. So far in his career Wilson has been successful in overcoming challenges, so there’s no reason to believe Super Bowl XLIX will be any different.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. Is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Cam Newton cites higher power as he recovers from car crash

Newton was introspective during his first appearance since his car accident Tuesday afternoon.

Newton was introspective during his first appearance since his car accident Tuesday afternoon.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returned to the team’s facility on Thursday just two days after a two-car accident. Newton sustained two fractures in his lower back during the accident and has been ruled out for this weeks game for the Panthers. However, Newton is more focused on his good fortune in surviving the car accident, rather than what happens on the football field.

“As far as when I’m coming back, who cares? I’m just thankful to have breath in my lungs,” said Newton as he answered questions during a seven-minute press conference on Thursday. Newton expressed how thankful he is to be alive sharing, “I’m on somebody’s fantasy [team] and I think it’s the man upstairs.”

Newton answered questions Thursday after spending a day in the hospital following his car accident.

Newton answered questions Thursday after spending a day in the hospital following his car accident.

Newton told the media that he was fully aware throughout the process of the accident and was able to give specific details of the crash. The Panthers have ruled Newton out for this Sunday’s game but have not made a determination as to how long he will be out for the season.

The Panthers may have slim playoff hopes but as far as Newton is concerned, he’s just happy to be alive.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Breaking: Cam Newton involved in car crash, status unclear

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (l) is being attended to at the scene of his car accident today.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (l) is being attended to at the scene of his car accident today.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Cam Newton was involved in a two-vehicle car accident today in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The truck Newton was driving as lifted off of its side after the accident, but clearly damaged during the crash.

The truck Newton was driving as lifted off of its side after the accident, but clearly damaged during the crash.

The truck that Newton drives was seen turned over on its side after the accident. Images of Newton being carried into an ambulance followed shortly. According to numerous sources, Newton suffered two transverse fractures in his lower back. His status for the remainder of the season has yet to be determined.

More information about Newton’s health and details about the accident will be made available in the near future.–OnPointPress.net–

Will Russell Wilson’s success change the perception of black quarterbacks?

 

Super Bowl 48 champion Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 48 Champion Russell Wilson.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Year after year football fans were reminded that the only African-American starting quarterback to win the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl was Doug Williams in 1988. It was more than just reciting a fact, it was like a trivia question on some historical event unlikely to be matched. To date, there have been 48 Super Bowls and 96 starting quarterbacks. Five of the starting quarterbacks have been black, including last year’s runner-up Colin Kaepernick and this year’s winner Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 22 champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Super Bowl 22 Champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Wilson’s success will definitely have an impact on the league going forward. Kurt Badenhausen, writer for Forbes.com, points out that “[Joe] Flacco…,[Aaron] Rodgers…, and [Drew] Brees signed a $100 million deal,” shortly after winning the Super Bowl. He also highlights that, “Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are the most marketable players in the NFL.” While there have been a good number of African-American quarterbacks to start and succeed in the NFL, Williams and Wilson continue to change the narrative so that black quarterbacks should be viewed as winners as well.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Yet there are many who believe Wilson joining the illustrious company of Super Bowl- winning quarterbacks is insignificant. ESPN’s Michael Smith on his show Numbers Never Lie (NNL), the day after the Super Bowl stated, “I would like to think we have moved past the point where the color of the skin matters…when it comes to quarterbacks.” He would go on to point out the number of black quarterbacks in the league currently and the high probability that highly touted college prospects Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston will also join that list. There are clearly more starting opportunities given to black quarterbacks now than there ever have been in the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick at Super Bowl 47.

Colin Kaepernick  (c) at Super Bowl 47.

However, the number of African-Americans that are deemed “franchise quarterbacks” is quite small. Franchise quarterbacks are not only given an opportunity to start for their team but are given long-term contracts worth $100 million dollars or more. These rewards come to quarterbacks whose teams feel are the long-term solution for the quarterback position, and who generate confidence of a Super Bowl victory. In this regard, there is still significant room for improvement for racial equality as it appears the determination of franchise quarterback is still easier to achieve for white quarterbacks than anyone else.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing 2 different $100 million contracts.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing two different $100 million contracts.

Currently, the only black quarterback in the NFL who has signed a $50 million dollar guaranteed contract (or contract extension) or greater since the 2010 season is Michael Vick. In the meantime, there have been at least six of those types of contracts signed by white quarterbacks since the end of the 2012 season alone. Franchises show their belief in the future of the players by signing them to long-term lucrative contracts, not just giving them a chance to prove themselves on the field.

Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are both signed to rookie contracts that paid them less than a million dollars for this entire season ($526,220 and $740,840 respectively). ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano explains, “When you’re still a couple of years from really having to pay your franchise quarterback…your GM’s offseason priority list becomes a lot more fun.” With their recent success, there is little doubt that their teams will sign them to lucrative deals in the future.

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

The true test of the evaluation of the black quarterbacks will come when other young black quarterbacks with less success than Wilson and Kaepernick, but showing just as much promise, are available for contract extensions. Will Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Geno Smith be given the same faith by their franchises with long-term contracts as Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, or Jay Cutler? Black quarterbacks are beyond the point of proving that they deserve an opportunity. At this point, if the franchises truly believe in these young men, they will show them the money.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

The NBA could achieve talent, economic parity, if it embraces the NFL’s draft model

 

 

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest -ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The popularity of the National Football League (NFL) has grown over the past twenty years, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) has seen peaks and valleys in its television interest, fan loyalty and attendance. The NFL has been able to generate greater parity and excitement for its teams in more small market cities compared to the NBA equivalent because star players from college football teams are guaranteed to go to the NFL teams that performed the worst in the previous season but the opposite is true in the NBA.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

The NFL draft model ensures that the team with the worst record in the league will receive the first pick. There is also a provision that precludes a team from receiving that coveted first pick in consecutive years. On the other hand, the NBA has a draft lottery that gives a weighted chance at the first pick in the draft according to the records of the teams that did not make the playoffs. The team with the worst record has, at best, a twenty-five percent chance at procuring the top choice in the draft. The small market teams in the NBA would greatly benefit from the NFL draft model as it would give them a better chance to land big name players from college. This would then grow their fan bases.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

The NFL has seen small-market teams with terrible seasons rebound quickly with the selection of the right players in the draft. In conjunction with other moves in free agency, this results in quick improvements. The Carolina Panthers drafted Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 draft and the team is having its best success in several seasons this year. The Indianapolis Colts drafted second generation NFL quarterback Andrew Luck first overall in 2012 and made the playoffs the very next season. These players were big names in college and helped create excitement for the fans of their respective teams while improving the performance of those teams as well.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

Conversely, in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery for the third time in ten seasons and picked Anthony Bennett first overall last season. The New Orleans Pelicans (Hornets at the time) selected Anthony Davis with the first pick in the 2011-12 draft. Those teams have yet to see their teams improve to playoff material, yet but many believe that those teams have bright futures. The challenge for the NBA is to have small market teams land stars that can help generate widespread interest which would eventually translate to more money for those franchises.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to draft Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons; moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons, moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder organization is the most referenced small market team, loaded with young stars through the draft in the NBA. The challenge for other NBA teams is to land young exciting players that become top-tier talent that can eventually transform a team to a title contender. Small market teams in the NBA have an additional challenge of retaining young stars they initially draft. Some of the biggest stars in the NBA change teams in pursuit of a championship. Parity in the NBA is difficult because many small market teams struggle in putting together consistent winning teams while retaining their drafted stars.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

The other challenge is few small market teams draft big name stars. The Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, and Toronto Raptors stand out as teams that are in small markets, have struggled on the court, and have had a difficult time landing stars that can help their teams become playoff contenders. The NFL has big name stars in many small markets, which helps keep interest for those teams, even if they struggle with those stars on their team. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers’ quarterback), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings’ running back), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers’ quarterback), and Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety) are just a handful of NFL stars from small market cities that are regularly featured in commercials. All of these players were also drafted by their current team.

The NBA would have a better chance of achieving the parity it desires if the rules in the NBA draft are changed to decide the order of the draft, based on records. A provision that would help guard against teams intentionally losing games to get the best draft pick is to prevent teams from having the top three picks in consecutive seasons. The potential for landing top-tier talent will always be alluring through the draft because of the potential to have a young star transform a franchise to a winner. The potential draft class for the NBA includes two of the most hyped freshmen in college basketball in years: Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke). It would be phenomenal for the NBA if the best player in the draft had a chance to transform the worst team in the NBA into an exciting championship winner.–OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.

Limited support for black quarterbacks to succeed

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

By Charles Glover Jr.

There appears to be a change in the struggle for equal opportunities for the black quarterback at the top-level of football. A record of nine starting African-American quarterbacks were in the NFL this opening weekend. While there are clearly more chances given to black quarterbacks so far this season, the struggle for true equality seems elusive. Black quarterbacks face an uphill climb trying to prove themselves as long-term solutions that organizations believe can help them win the ultimate goal:a Super Bowl championship.

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson.

Now that there are more black quarterbacks  being signed to teams, a more uniform evaluation of the quarterback position itself, if implemented, would signal a new, equitable approach. Each young quarterback wants to be viewed by their organization as a franchise quarterback, a quarterback that organizations can feel comfortable with. NFL teams want to be able to believe that their quarterbacks will ultimately lead them to the Super Bowl prize over a period of several years. Currently, there are only three out of 32 teams that have black quarterbacks who definitively fit that criteria: Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. Cam Newton and Michael Vick can also join that franchise quarterback list with stellar plays this season. That would bring the total to five black quarterbacks out of 32 NFL teams.

Michael Vick, Josh Freeman. Current starting quarterbacks fighting for future security.

Michael Vick and Josh Freeman, current starting quarterbacks who are fighting for future security.

The new struggle for black quarterbacks is to be able to convince franchises that their success is something that the organization should invest in long-term. So far that struggle is still not being won on a consistent basis. The criteria that organizations use to determine which quarterback they will invest in long term vary. What is clear, however, is that the criteria have yet to favor a black quarterback in recent memory.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

This past off-season Carson Palmer took his miserable starting record for the Oakland Raiders and parlayed that into a starting job with the Cardinals in Arizona.
Not to be outdone, Tony Romo cashed in on his goodwill with the Cowboys and signed a contract worth more than current Super Bowl defending champion quarterback Joe Flacco, despite Romo under-performing in consecutive seasons. It remains to be seen if Josh Freeman, current Buccaneers quarterback, or Michael Vick, current Eagles quarterback, will be so fortunate in landing future starting positions if their teams both fail to reach the playoffs this season. It seems unlikely, given past trends, that Vick and Freeman could imagine any scenario in which they would get salary increases if they underachieve in consecutive seasons like Romo and Palmer did.

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

While it is positive to see black quarterbacks anchoring teams, the jury is still out as to the extent of those chances being offered to them. It is up for discussion whether they are going to be judged the same way as their white counterparts. It appears as if black quarterbacks are held to a higher standard to perform while being given a shorter window and less support to excel. Black quarterbacks are pressured excessively to perform immediately.They are expected to produce stellar results with minimum time to grow and thrive. They must not only win games, but look good doing so, and display superior character in the process.

One can only hope that white quarterbacks will be judged by this same high standard going forward. However, if the current pattern is a guide, such equal expectation of accountabilty for white quarterbacks seems to be a long shot. Somehow, it seems as if black quarterbacks are expected to produce and excel right away while white quarterback are nurtured, coddled, supported and then rewarded with exorbitant contracts, even when they fail to produce. The dichotomy sets a troubling precedent for the sport and should be addressed, for the integrity of the game, before this season ends. OnPointPress.net