Yesterday, a Seahawks fan penned an angry open letter calling Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton “classless” for throwing a 12th man flag after the team’s playoff win over Seattle. Well, that seems like very small potatoes this morning, after Cam earned the Ed Block Courage Award for his “courage on and off the field.”
The award honors a player from each NFL team who shows fortitude and is a source of inspiration to his teammates. This season, the quarterback had an NFL-leading 45 total touchdowns, including a career-high 35 passing. He is the first player in NFL history with 35 passing touchdown and 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season. He finished the year with a career-high 99.4 passer rating, the eighth best in the NFL.
His touchdown dance, “The Dab,” has also received national attention (and scrutiny). Cam, however, deserves even more attention for a tradition he started in 2011. After scoring a touchdown, Newton would give the ball to a child in the stands. Now, nearly all offensive players give their touchdown balls to children. This was most famously captured on Sunday, when running back Jonathan Stewart presented his to Isabella Bottomly. The eight-year-old’s smile lit up television screens throughout the country.
Newton’s contributions off the field are just as extraordinary. Via CBS Sports:
Newton is committed to making a positive impact in youth education, physical fitness, and health throughout the Charlotte and Atlanta communities through the Cam Newton Foundation. Since 2012, his foundation has donated more than $400,000 to public school systems, impacted more than 4,500 student-athletes through positive programming and has fed or provided help for more than 5,000 children and adults during the holiday seasons.
Sounds like the work of a real life Superman. We salute the young quarterback on his quest to the Super Bowl.