First of all, I've been a longtime lurker on the Huddle and didn't bother posting this season because I enjoyed reading other people's hype more than my own here. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this! I've been really upset about how everyone's trashed Cam, and ultimately I feel like he might become one of the better NFL stories as time goes on.
So, I'm a high school English teacher who also teaches dual enrollment courses for a local tech college. A lot of the literature I focus on is British for my reg ed kids, and a lot of the early Anglo-Saxon pieces revolve around the concept of the monomyth, or "Hero's Journey." The Hero's Journey is pervasive in everything we read or watch, even today. Think about Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Hunger Games, or whatever else has been popular, and it typically follows the pattern of the Hero's Journey.
It begins with the existence of the ordinary world. This is Cam's early years (when he was playing football as a kid). For Cam, football was a game, a sport, an activity, and so on. A passion? Maybe, but he was probably no different than the other kids. Eventually he gets old enough in high school and receives the "call to adventure," which means he's meant for bigger and better things. This is him going to Florida.
The hero faces a dilemma or is presented with his surroundings and rejects them ("refusal of the call"). Cam's refusal was in line to lack of interest in doing his college work and purchasing a laptop that had been stolen. Cam had all the talent in the world, but sitting behind The Golden Calf of Bristol with zero playing time and watching them win made him disinterested in what he was doing. He lost focus. He had no drive. It was a waiting game he probably wasn't expecting.
Eventually he is forced to play small college ball, where he wins on a minor scale but it lacks true meaning. This is where the "meeting the mentor" reflects his father's direct influence on getting Cam back into a bigger college (Auburn). His "mentor" extends to the university itself, where he wins a National Championship and "crosses the threshold" into the special world of the NFL. Remember, before it was all the "ordinary world," but by winning the Heisman and Natty, he is now in line to become the #1 pick in the NFL draft.
Once he's entered the special world, Cam is given new tests, enemies, and allies. He becomes a Carolina Panther, a team that saw its Super Bowl era team finally crumble under the weight of Jake Delhomme's Tommy John surgery, John Fox's ousting, and Jimmy Clausen.
The media is immediately interested with him because of his first two games, but Cam loses them. Trials for Cam include the media's assertion that he is a me-first player, that he is disingenuous, but is athletically gifted. Cam wins OROTY, but he's seen as a running QB who can sometimes make the big throw down the field--a mobile Jay Cutler. Cam is put on the back-burner by the media because of the rise of Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, and Colin Kaepernick.
These last three years have been Cam's "Approach." He is moving toward connecting the dots. The media spends the last two years saying he has "matured," despite Cam's insistence that he hasn't changed anything about himself. Suddenly he is liked more and defended for little things, like handing out footballs to kids and the charitable work he does. Cam's approach leads to his 15-1 season, OPOTY, and MVP.
This leads us to where we are: The Ordeal, the Death, and the Rebirth.
The Super Bowl was the ordeal. How would Cam handle the limelight? The big stage? Would he connect the dots and have one of the greatest seasons ever? No. He crumbles. The Broncos defense stifles Cam, and he never looks like he's enjoying football. This ordeal has led to his death in the special world.
Cam is a prime example of the Hero's Journey because we can now see his possible rebirth. Cam has the chance to do something about this perception, because now he's clearly rock bottom in the eyes of the media and trolls on this board. The next step? The Reward. For this to be a true Hero's Journey, Cam must once again make it to the Super Bowl and redeem himself.
Now, whether or not he chooses to go to the next level depends on a lot of factors, but we'll have a clearer idea of him leading into next season. Here's to hoping he returns with the trophy.