| The Providence Journal
Cam Newton made an impact on the game of football long before he came to New England.
The 31-year-old has talked multiples this year about how he grew up rooting for Michael Vick as well as admiring Randall Cunningham. As the Patriots season goes on, it becomes very clear that Newton has also motivated multiple young Black quarterbacks throughout his time in the NFL.
We saw that when Patrick Mahomes spoke glowingly about watching Newton when he was in high school. We’ll see that next week when the Patriots face the Houston Texans, who are led by Deshaun Watson, who’s been mentored by Newton. This week, it’s seen with Lamar Jackson.
The Baltimore Ravens is one of many young African Americans who looked up to Newton and saw that it’s possible for someone to play the game of football in their own style.
“I’ve watched Cam since Auburn. Everyone in the country did. Everyone knew about Cam – ‘Superman’ – doing his thing,” Jackson said this week. “And a lot of us looked up to him. He’s a mobile quarterback. He does his thing. He won the Heisman. He won the college [football national] championship, won MVP, went to the Super Bowl – stuff like that. I followed him a lot. Wanted to get to where he’s at, and now I’m here. Now I’ve got to play against him. Just can’t wait to do that.”
The first time Jackson saw Newton up close, he was a backup to Joe Flacco in Baltimore during his 2018 rookie season. The Ravens lost that game, 36-21, as Newton scored three touchdowns. Jackson came off the bench and completed four passes, including a 26-yard touchdown throw.
Fast forward two years and Jackson is on a different level. The 23-year-old won the MVP last season to become the second younger player to win the award behind Jim Brown. He also became the fourth African-American quarterback to win MVP joining Newton, Mahomes and Steve McNair.
The respect between the Newton and Jackson goes both ways.
“Man, my boy Lamar’s got a gift not many human beings got,” said Newton. “Just to see him take off, I’m a fan of the game and if I’m watching Baltimore, I’m watching to see what the MVP is going to do. I just respect his game so much. For him to evolve, people don’t realize, they just see you running around. I think for a long time and still today, a lot of people do not respect he art of being able to run and protect yourself and being able to attack the defenses in many different ways.”
Newton has continued to revolutionize the game as a duel-threat quarterback. He owns the NFL record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 66 career scores. The next closest is Steve Young with 43. Through eight games, Newton’s scored eight rushing touchdowns, which has him tied for third in the NFL. He’s on pace to break his own single-season record of 14 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Newton has an NFL record nine multi-touchdown games in his career. He extended that record against the New York Jets to create separation from Otto Graham, Jack Kemp, Steve McNair and Young, who all had seven.
This season, Newton has scored multiple rushing touchdowns in three different games. That ties his own NFL record for most multi-rush touchdown games by a quarterback. Newton set that record in 2011 to tie Steve Grogan (1976), Steve McNair (1997), Kordell Stewart (1997) and Johnny Lujack (1950).
Jackson has started to pave his own way in the NFL. This season, Jackson broke Newton’s record for most rushing yards in a quarterback’s first three seasons – Newton had 2,032 rushing yards and Jackson has 2,370 with eight games to go. He’s also gaining on the quarterback all-time rushing leader list. Newton is currently second with 5,120 career rushing yards. Michael Vick has the record with 6,109.
“For him to be as successful and make the impact, the big splash in this game, not many people have done it. I say Michael Vick. I say Lamar. I don’t even think I’m in that stratosphere,” Newton said. For him to be as dominant, dynamic, explosive as the quarterback position, it’s something that gives so much opportunity to the younger generation to see what Lamar Jackson is doing and give hope to say, ‘I can play the quarterback position, too.’”
Jackson said he appreciates Newton’s support and noted the veteran has reached out to him over the years.
“Just game recognizes game,” Jackson said. “He’s the ‘O.G.’ He’s superman.”
Credit: Source link