Cam Newton had some big shoes to fill when he signed his incentive-laden, one-year deal with the New England Patriots in late June. Newton was replacing the legendary Tom Brady, who bolted from New England via free agency to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton was recently asked if he felt any pressure coming in to replace a guy who had won six Super Bowls. Newton’s answer appears to have labeled Brady a system quarterback.
Tom Brady’s legacy
Nobody in the NFL, past or present, boasts a better resume than Tom Brady. He may not be the most gifted quarterback of all-time, but his list of accomplishments in his 20-plus seasons in the league is second to none. A sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL draft, Brady has also proven to be the best draft steal ever.
Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion. He’s gone 260-80 as a starter, postseason included. Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe and never looked back, winning his first Super Bowl in the 2001 season when he went 11-3 as a starter. The New England Patriots shocked the world by defeating the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl.
Brady is a 14-time Pro Bowler and has been named All-Pro three times. He’s a three-time MVP and has led the league in touchdown passes four times. Three times, he’s been tops in passing yardage. For his career, Brady has thrown 581 touchdown passes in the regular season with 73 more in the playoffs. After 20 years, Brady left the Patriots to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s guided the Bucs to an 11-5 record and a postseason berth.
Cam Newton was the 2015 MVP
Unlike Tom Brady, Cam Newton came into the NFL with a lot of hype. After a strong year at Auburn, where he threw for 30 touchdowns and ran for 21 more, he was the top pick in the 2011 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. Newton made the first of his three Pro Bowl seasons when he started all 16 games as a rookie and threw for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also rushed for 14 scores.
Newton’s biggest season came in 2015. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound quarterback guided his team to a 15-1 mark in the regular season. Newton threw for 3,837 yards and tossed 35 touchdown passes. He had 10 interceptions. Newton also rushed for 636 yards and added 10 more scores on the ground.
In the postseason, the Panthers outlasted the Seattle Seahawks 31-24 and then crushed the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 in the NFC title game. They went to the Super Bowl but fell to the Denver Broncos 24-10. Newton was named the league’s MVP in that 2015 season.
Newton said there was no pressure following Brady
Anyone who came in to replace Tom Brady after 20 years in New England would appear to be fighting a losing battle. Cam Newton came in this season and said he didn’t feel any pressure replacing a legend. During a Monday radio interview on “The Greg Hill Show” in Boston, Hill asked Newton how much, if any, did replacing Brady weigh on him this season?
“None,” Newton answered. “It was this. It was the system. People undermine that. And no disrespect to him, I have the utmost respect for him, as we all do as quarterbacks. I wasn’t just following him. I was following a system that he had the luxury of being in for 20 years. Just imagine that.
“As a student, you’re given six months to take a final exam that took 20 years to prepare, but you only have, in essence, five weeks to prepare for it, and going through a process of four to five months to weekly prepare for it. Yeah, it was hard at times but it had nothing to do with him. It had a lot more to do with a system with Josh McDaniels, who’s brilliant, by the way…To wrap it up, it had nothing to do with one person, more or less, but the whole schematics over the long term that the coaches have been here.”