It’s Cam Newton over Andrew Luck and it isn’t close.

One of the more controversial NFL story lines over the past decade has once again reared its ugly head. The comparison between Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is something fans and media alike have debated ever since Luck decided to stay another year in college. With that decision, Andrew Luck avoided being drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Instead, they drafted Cam Newton and the Indianapolis Colts landed Andrew Luck a year later.

This topic was recently discussed on ESPN’s First Take (video below). As such, I thought I would weigh in with my thoughts.

Most people who argue for Andrew Luck do so with built in excuses for his performance. In Indianapolis, Luck had no defense. Luck had no running game. Luck lacked offensive weapons. Those are all real struggles to be sure. However, Cam Newton has had those very same struggles as a Carolina Panthers quarterback, and has a MVP title and Superbowl appearance under his belt to show for it.

carolina panthers denver broncos

Cam Newton in Superbowl 50

During the Carolina Panthers 2015 Superbowl season, Cam Newton didn’t play in a high scoring offense. Cam Newton WAS a high scoring offense, accounting for 45 total¬†touchdowns. The Panthers did have a run game, but that run game was based on Cam Newton’s legs. If not for the read option offense based on Newton’s athleticism, the Carolina Panthers would have rushed for far fewer yards, and 10 fewer touchdowns.

Don’t get me started on receiving threats. The Carolina Panthers had arguably the worst group of wide receivers in the NFL. Ted Ginn, a guy that could even get playing time in Arizona, was his number one receiver. Also, don’t forget that he did it with offensive tackles Michael Oher and Mike Remmers protecting him.

What about the defense? Anyone that watched the 2015 Carolina Panthers season knows the season was filled with 4th quarter defensive let downs. Games that should have been put away early were almost always close and in some cases went into overtime (Indianapolis Colts game coincidentally). It was up to Cam Newton all season long to pull out the victory. For reference, see the Saints, Giants, Seahawks, and Packers games.

Here is a bit of free advice. Until Andrew Luck plays in a Superbowl just after being named NFL MVP in a season filled with tremendous adversity, you may just want to stick with Cam Newton over Andrew Luck.

9 Comments

Cody Massey

May 17, 2017

Andrew Luck is so overrated. He’s good but hmu when he gets MVP, Offensive player of the year, a heisman, and many more awards.

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John

May 15, 2017

Newton had the third ranked o line, a top 5 defense, ginn would take end arounds for 40 yards routinely, he wasn’t even good for the first half of the season, didn’t have to do much of anything in the playoffs, and was awful in the super bowl and backed away from the most important fumble in his life. Yeah, he’s great. He’s had 1 great year. A couple of ok years. And some bad years. Incredibly inconsistent. It’s not even close. Luck is better.

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Remi

May 18, 2017

The GM pretty much handcuffed the payroll overpaying for a injury proned QB.

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Barron Doe

May 19, 2017

Well, I guess I’ll give my take on this. I apologize if this gets dry or boring.

You make it a point to say that the SB is a team effort, but don’t quite balance that with the MVP award which is still a personal achievement at the end of the day. OL ranking or not as well, the dude is still the most hit QB in the league since he joined by an ungodly margin (even since 2012 if we also include the hits from most/all of his rushing attempts) so that has to affect him in a similar or greater manner to the hits Luck takes. Last season the OL went through 33 different permutations (tied 2nd most in NFL history) so protection was inconsistent at best. The defense let “slain” teams –teams down more than 3 “scores” in the 3rd and 4th quarters (~17+ points)– back into the game *almost* routinely during the 2015 season and gave up historically bad numbers at times during the last season (especially when the only passable CB James Bradberry was out and Kuechly was injured). The defense was atrocious for nearly 3/4 of 2014, meh in 2012, bad in 2011, 2016, and inconsistent at times in 2015. Most of this has to do with the constantly changing secondary, and the loss of Greg Hardy (Panthers #1 DE and he was excellent before he became a criminal).

The Panthers top 2 WR ranked 1st and 4th for lowest amount of average separation per target with 1.8 and 2.0 yards respectively. Also, Ted Ginn Jr. only had 2 rushing First Downs the entire 2015 season (8 in his 3 seasons with Carolina, 4 coming last year) per Pro-Football-Reference and ESPN. So the whole end-around thing is clearly based one play since he only had one more 40 yard end-around in his career and it was with the Dolphins. He averages 8.5 yards per carry on those vs. the NFL average on end-arounds of 7 yards.

The whole SB fumble thing is still being grossly misinterpreted [primarily, but not exclusively] by the same folks who were biased against Cam being selected #1 overall (people like Joe Theismann — as his comments from 2011 and 2016 help illustrate). You don’t take shots diving head-first into the endzone and driving piles for first downs consistently for 5 seasons (now 6) only to shy away on a single fumble recovery (he has frantically dove and recovered fumbles before including ones from his own running backs: he’s even thrown a few blocks for teammates). Cam clearly moved back in anticipation of the ball bouncing away from the pile -which it did and it often does from the shape of the ball and intensity of the collisions on/into it if you see fumbles in the NFL- due to the center Ryan Khalil colliding with Ware on top of the ball. He simply didn’t have enough energy to make his body execute what his mind wanted it to do after all of the earlier hits. That narrative won’t change ever, though.

To determine who is better is at least more complicated than you are making it out to be. As a Panthers fan, I’m obviously going to go with Newton. And to the person above who is chanting “biased”… biased Igo is, but don’t ignore your own bias and mine as well since we’re all humans and since this is on a “Panthers webpage”.

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Steve

May 15, 2017

Hahaha. Nice. You say Cam Newton is better and the only basis brought up for it is his Superbowl appearance (team effort, btw). The one where he shied away from the fumble you mean? LOL! Stat-wise, their career stats are very close, but Newton has a full year more playing time, not to mention Luck’s 2015 injuries that kept him sidelined. And Luck has Newton beat for rookie, 2-year and 3-year records. I’d take Luck over Newton every day.

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Cody Massey

May 17, 2017

andrew luck doesnt have a heisman

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Matt Hutchison

May 15, 2017

Glad this isn’t a biased opinion.

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zach hallsten

May 15, 2017

not biased at all lol

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TiJo

May 18, 2017

Good article but the story left out one very important detail, Cam accomplish all this whale having a vey bad offense coordinator in Shula

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